Getting There Again

I’ve thought a lot about the effort it takes to hike up the Everest Highway. When I did it the first time I told myself that I didn’t need to go there again. The work wasn’t worth it. I’d done it once and seen it in all its glory. No need to endure the elevation sickness, the exhausting hikes, frosty nights and pushing the limits of my physical self, just to repeat. Maybe I figured I couldn’t do better than I had that day in 2011 when I reached the top of Kala Pattar. But mostly I thought, there are so many other places to go see that I couldn’t possibly spend the precious time repeating. Maybe to Namche, I thought. Maybe I’d take the kids. They could probably make it to Namche (11,500 feet) without too much trouble. And the rewards would be amazing. In the heart of Sherpa culture, in the biggest, most famous bazaar around, with a host of mountains surrounding it like a protective hand, it is a sight to behold. I’d do it again to show them.

When I got to Namche this time I was so excited to take it in. We hadn’t been allowed to do that on our first trip (political stuff kept us inside our lodge). Namche is beautiful and vibrant and cultural. I love it. Yeah, even after the second time, I’d go there again. It’s only 2 days walking from the Lukla airport.

But Tengboche monastery is just a 4 hour hike and 1300 feet elevation from Namche. Not only that, it is some of the most breathtaking scenery of the whole 10-day trek, just those 4 hours. And the highest Buddhist monastery in Nepal is there. How could you not spend the extra 4 hours once you made it that far? Here are a few of the photos from those 4 hours.

Sunrise behind Thamserku from Namche
Kangtega viewed from the Everest Highway at about 12,000 feet. The mountain is 22,251 feet high.


 Stupa along the Highway, with Everest (left) and Nuptse (right) in the background.


Mt Ama Dablum and stupa


Everest making its own weather in the distance
A porter resting with Mt Tabouche backdrop


Fully loaded yaks crossing one of the many suspension bridges 


Tibetan mantras and decorations of the Tengboche monastery entry arch


Monks calling others to the puja (prayer) with conch shells
Tengboche and sunrise on Kumbila, the holy mountain of Khumbu


Everest at sunrise from Tengboche


Monk approaching monastery, Everest and Nuptse in the distance
A little social before the puja 


Me, our guide Ang Tsering and MaryBeth at Tengboche monastery