On the morning of the 27th, we got up after a night of aftershocks, ready for another long day. Since we were dropping in altitude, the temperature was increasing. Somehow this helped boost everyone’s mood a bit. We walked through lots of villages that had been completely abandoned.
Often at first sight it would all look ok, and then when we got closer you would see the whole bottom floor of the house had fallen out. Or fires had started. It was so heartbreaking to see.
We stopped in Namche, where I managed to find a pharmacy to sort out my gross eyes. And finally get in touch with my family. It was so good to finally be able to say I was ok so far.
We reached the guesthouse that night that we had stayed our first day. Here, another G Adventures group stayed too. They had almost been at base camp when the earthquake, and then avalanche hit. We all counted ourselves so lucky after hearing all their stories. Somehow one of them thought turning on his GoPro was a good idea amidst it all. I never saw the footage but I’m sure it would have been terrifying.
We set off for Lukla, and it was a relief to know that what was our easy first day hike would be all we had to do today. We stopped off for lunch, and Dawa had the best time copying a Korean women’s trekking group doing their pre-lunch stretches. They were amazing, thirty women in identical trekking gear, all in a circle while their guide talked them through exercise. We just had Dawa in the background dancing like an Egyptian. Each to their own!
There were arrows in the path, and we didn’t understand why. I was getting slightly nervous about the giant crack running through it, but tried not to think about it too much. And then the arrows made sense. We approached what was now a massive dead end. There had been a huge landslide that took out the path, and the bank for about ten metres upwards.
We went back to the first arrow, and had to scale the bank. It was dry sandy soil, which was crumbling away as we clambered up it, using trees to steady ourselves. The guys I was with at the time just walked right across the top of the landslide, and looked at me confused as I carried on up a bit further. I figured if I stuck to where the trees had held, hopefully their roots would be enough to hold the soft ground in place, and not take me on a huge slide down into the valley below. Someone even stopped to take photos at the top. I didn’t dream of pulling out a camera until we were safely on the other side.
We made it back to Lukla, and something like relief washed over the group. It wasn’t over yet, but Lukla hadn’t been very badly damaged. The restaurants and bars were all doing business, and all the guest houses were intact.
I sat down to finally write in my travel diary. The chaos and surreal experience of the few days before had meant I hadn’t written anything. I had to almost punch myself in the face, when I read my last entry:
‘We walked along a few places today that the path was a few feet wide, and then a big slip down into the river. Just have to be hopeful that it will all hold. So many people come through here every year. We would have to be pretty unlucky to run into trouble”.
My roommate had a shower, she was excited to see running water, but assumed it would be icy. Suddenly she started screaming, I was so worried, turns out there was hot water. It sounds very trivial, but after two weeks of baby wipe showers, I was very happy to jump straight in after her. It’s the little things that make a world of difference when you’re out of your comfort zone.