GoPro Winner - August - Iona Nelson
Most incredible, hard-going, rewarding camping and trekking I have ever done in my life. Trek to Everest Base Camp for the British Heart Foundation, Mar/Apr 2015.
I had never done a trek or trip like this in my life before. But this was definitely an incredible one to start with! Beginning in the bustling city of Kathmandu, we took a small flight (most dangerous flight in the world might I add?!) up to the mountains, arriving in the small, colourful town of Lukla. From there, a trek lasting 10 days to EBC was endured. I say "endured" because as much fun as I had on the trek, it wasn't a breeze! Steep climbs, while battling the lack of oxygen is not an easy task. I was lucky enough to only have mild altitude issues, including a headache which started fairly early on, and nausea on the day of reaching EBC. Other trekkers had no symptoms at all, and two were helicoptered to hospital. Just shows you how differently people can react.
Anyway, back to the trek! The trail was stunning mountainous (duh) views, with crashing avalanches in the background and a hot sun keeping you smiling! The locals were wonderful. If you ever do this trek, I recommend stopping at the famous Namche Bazaar, where you can pick up extra equipment and all sorts of souvenirs and gifts. There's a beautiful little art shop, where the artist himself can tell you about all the lovely paintings he has on sale (I bought two small ones myself!). Don't forget to visit the monastery at Tengboche - if you're there around 3:30pm, you can even go in (quietly!) and watch the monks chanting. It really is a fascinating experience.
Along the trek, we had two snowstorms. One we camped in, which, due to a magnificent sleeping bag and liner, was totally fine, and actually gave us some spectacular views to wake up to in the morning. The second we couldn't camp in, as the snow had fallen too much before the sherpas arrived with our tents, so we had to stay in a teahouse instead. Unfortunately, the second storm almost cancelled our EBC trip, as it was the night before the ultimate day. Heartbroken doesn't even describe it. However, at 6am I found out that the storm moved the opposite direction than predicted - but if it hadn't, the mountain weather is not something to play around with! But, thanks to the change in storm, we made it to Everest Base Camp! I will not lie, I cried when I was there. I put down prayer flags for my two Grandads, who I was raising money in memory of.
The overwhelming feelings of relief, achievement and satisfaction are beyond what you would imagine. There is an immense buzz at peak trekking season, congratulating your trekking mates as well as other groups that you've been passing along the way. Through the sweat, tears, sheer exaustion, illnesses and general grossness (no showers for 2.5 weeks...), we finally made it!
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