Day 8: Namche Bazaar
Pikey Peak, Nepal
Ascent: 867 m
descent: 867 m
Distance: 12 km
Elevation at Destination: 3440 m
Today was an acclimatisation day for me and a day off for Danny. He did nothing but drink coffee and briefly walk around Namche. I headed for the hills to check out the views of the surrounding mountains.
I followed the path out of Namche but soon split off from the main trekking route. The hikers were given a gentle trail to follow; I was given a staircase. Even though I loved not having the heavy pack with me, my speed was just as slow as usual. The higher I climbed, the harder it was to breathe.
When the path eventually levelled out, it led me past a yogic retreat before skirting around the edge of a mountain. Frost covered the grass and several times I found myself walking on frozen ground. It was during this section that I first spotted Everest and its neighbouring summits. Along with the peaks to either side and slightly behind me, I was almost surrounded 360 degrees by white caps. I felt like I had finally arrived in the mountains.
As I neared the Everest View Hotel, a helicopter landed on a helipad only metres above me. Dust flew up into the air, causing temporary blindness. Apparently this hotel was so exclusive that guests were transported to and from it via helicopter, saving them from having to make the effort of climbing up a hill.
I was certain I wouldn't be allowed inside the hotel, so I edged around the property to reach a viewpoint that was labelled on my map. The mountains that seemed so distant at Pikey Peak were now right in front of me, and in only a few days’ time I would hopefully be at their base. The whole scene was utterly mesmerising; I wish Danny had been there to share it with me.