5 things I wish I knew before hiking to Everest Base Camp
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I've done a lot of epic things in my life thus far, but hiking to Everest Base Camp has been, by far, the most profound. It's been over 2 weeks since I've arrived home and I still haven't fully gotten back into the swing of things. Everything here, seems just so much, well, so much. On the trail everything is simpler, calmer, with only the necessities. Nepal is like no other place I've ever visited, and a part of my heart will remain in those mountains forever.
With that being said, there are a few things I wish I had known before hopping on that plane to Lukla. Little things that I think others would find helpful along their journey.
Don't eat the meat
I love meat. I'm sorry if you feel I shouldn't, but for me it's the best part of any meal. Yes, there is meat along the trail, but it's not fresh. Most of the time it gets carried in from Lukla. Luckily, I was told early on and I didn't eat any, but I was told stories of people getting food poisoning. That is not something you want going down at altitude, and could definitely ruin a trip!
My advice is bring things like beek jerky, salmon jerky, or anything that's going to help supplement that protein loss in your diet. I had a small bag of beef jerky, but it only lasted until day 8 (of 12) and I really wish I had a second bag.
The same can be said for dairy. You don't know where it's coming from or how long it's be sitting. Boy did I miss cheese!
The terrain was easy, but the trek was mentally difficult
Many of the days were what is known as "Nepali Flat," which loosely means rolling hills. There were only a few strenuous uphills that I thought would never end. However, the trek was a mental challenge. Hiking for 12 days can be difficult back home in Vermont, but add altitude into that and you've got a mental game like no other.
I found that hiking and chatting helped with this at times. Or, if I didn't want to talk, knowing someone had my back made all the difference. There were a few days I hiked in silence and cried. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it to the next village. The afternoon we headed to EBC I hiked with my friend Angie. Neither of us spoke much with the occasional, "We can do this." We traded leading positions often. Knowing she was there helped me get to EBC. Upon arrival, we burst into tears.
Bring small Nepali bills
Whether you get cash from an ATM or money exchange you get big bills - 1,000 and 500 rupees. Once you get on the mountain those bills are very difficult to change.
Do yourself a favor and while shopping or eating in Kathmandu use your larger rupee bills to pay for items and keep the smaller notes to bring on the trek.
Items I should have brought with me
I'm pretty good when it comes to packing light. On this trip there were a few things I wish I had brought with me.
Thera Flu: Someone brought a nasty cold with them on the trip and everyone got it. need I say more?
Multiple Buffs: I had 2 I wish I had at least 1 more. They became very smelly.
More wet wipes: I ran out around day 9...things got a little gross after that.
Throat Lozenges: With the cold going around and it being dusty this would have made my throat so happy.
Extra bandana: They can be used for anything. I use mine as a handkerchief.
Confession, when I'm not working, I have a foul mouth. Some of my favorite words can't be used in mixed company. Swearing in Nepal, any swearing, is very rude. We learned this pretty quickly seeing the shocked looks on our Nepali trail family's faces. Be curious and keep the swearing to a minimum.
Have you trekked to Everest Base Camp? What other helpful hints can you share? Put them in the comments.