to get to everest base camp from nepal, you have to hike ten days through the himalayas. to get to everest base camp from tibet, you just have to endure many hours of rural and bumpy driving. our journey to the foot of the top of the world was pretty exhilarating, laced with a bit of car sickness/body cramps/altitude sickness/lack of sleep misery. it was worth it a million fold and ten hours of crazy driving sure seems better than ten days of hiking to get a spectacular glimpse of the majestic peak of mount everest.
some photos from the drive:
^^ we asked our tour guide if there would be bathrooms along the way, and his answer was, “don’t worry, there’s nature!” so this is what our bathroom breaks looked like ^^ we got to know the members of our tour group even better than in the four previous days! :)
^^ as we approached the turn off to the extremely bumpy road leading to base camp, our tour guide pointed out everest’s peak in the distance. we all got pretty excited and took a lot of pictures of this stretch of mountains, worried that we might have bad weather that would obstruct our views the next day. now, i have no idea which one is actually everest above, and we definitely got better pictures the next day. haha! ^^
^^ the sun set long before we reached the tents we’d sleep in that night. the landscape was otherworldly. ^^
when we arrived at the tent hostels, it was nearly midnight. we got off the minibus one by one and everyone gasped. the stars were insane. so so so bright- the night sky was positively shimmering. that’s a moment i’ll never forget.
we slept on benches around the perimeter of an awesome colorful tents at 18,000 feet and 25 degrees or so. it felt quite difficult to breathe, and it was pretty freezing, but i thought it was about the coolest thing ever. i woke up a couple of times in the night and just felt so excited to see the mountain when i woke up and so giddy about the whole experience. unfortunately ian had a terrible night’s sleep and was feeling the altitude :(
probably one of the most truly breathtaking moments of my life. pictures and words can’t even.
the boy and i and our new australian friend decided to walk the 4 km from our tent to base camp, rather than take the bus. it was a great way to really soak in the magnificence of our surroundings as the light grew and changed. the boy wasn’t feeling well but was still cheerfully in awe. it was so cold at the overlook down into base camp – the wind chilled us to the marrow of our bones. that sure piqued the senses :)
^^ outside our tent before we took off to walk to the official base ^^
^^ i couldn’t stop snapping photos of the peak (obviously). it’s just so spectacular. ^^
^^ can you tell from this photo that ian was feeling the altitude and lack of sleep a little? :) ^^
^^ if you look closely in this picture, you can see the climbers’ yellow tents. we both decided you have to be absolutely crazy to attempt summiting everest! ^^
we took the bus most of the way back to our tent, but walked the last bit so we could explore the monasteries and shrines that have been set up over the many, many years. it was a little sunnier and warmer and less windy by then!
as we headed back towards civilization, all of us couldn’t stop turning over our shoulders for a few more glimpses of the world’s tallest point. the drive back to the main road and then on to our last stop in tibet, a mountainside city on the border of nepal, included stops to see a big stupa, to eat lunch, and to see an overlook of the himalaya range. it also included some heavy snow, sheer cliffs on the side of and large overhangs of mountain above the road, and some serious windiness. i’ve got to say, it was pretty wild.
^^ the men in our group hopped out of the bus to do a bit of clearing so the bus could get by … ^^
^^ our last stop in tibet. we had an awesome final dinner with our new traveler friends in this neat town built literally on the side of a mountain. ^^
before we left on our trip, i didn’t think much about going to everest – i thought it was a cool bonus but not something at the very top of my excited-to-see list. it was actually incredible and became one of my favourite life experiences ever.