Note this post was written on March 12 USA time.
What a difference a good night’s sleep makes! I went to bed the night before thinking I might have to take a day off to let my feet heal and my cold to subside. The night before I got the tea house to fill one of my water bottles with boiling water, and I put that in my sleeping back. I was toasty warm and slept very well. I woke up still coughing some, but felt energized enough to get back on the trail.
Today we made the climb up to the famous Sherpa trading post of Namche Bazar. The day dawned with a bright blue sky.
The trail continued to follow the Dudh Koshi River northward, staying close to the valley bottom. We passed a series of villages catering to the hordes of trekkers heading toward Everest Base Camp. As we approached one of these villages from below, I realized we had reached a significant milestone: The end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier in the Dudh Koshi Valley. It was pretty hard to miss actually as we had to climb to its top to reach the next village.
Just north of Monjo, another trekkers’ village, a significant tributary, the Bhoti Koshi River, enters from the northwest, and Namche sits high above the “V” made by the intersection of the two streams. The trail was surprisingly graded, with many switchbacks, and crossed the main valley on a dizzying suspension bridge. I felt pretty good thanks to having lived at or above 2300 m for the last week. I reached Namche, elevation 3440 m (about 11,400 ft) by 3 pm, well ahead of schedule.
Namche is a large and hugely prosperous village catering to the trekkers. Shops, cafes and bars line the narrow streets. There is even an Irish pub here, touted as being the highest in the world. I am planning on visiting for a high altitude Guinness on my return nearly 2 weeks from now. Tomorrow is an acclimatization day, we will do a short day hike to a higher altitude, but sleep in Namche again. Hopefully this nagging cough subsides soon.