Day 5: Namche

Today was a “rest” day. I put that in quotes because the morning involved a day hike straight up for about 1100 feet to an amazing view of Everest and Lhotse, the 1st and 4th highest mountains in the world. I keep pinching myself in amazement that I am here. It is also killing me that the WiFi is not strong enough to send pictures of what I’m seeing. If/as I can, I will post to pictures section of blog.

We also visited the national park museum and the Tensing Norgay monument dedicated to the most well known and revered Sherpa in the world. He was with Edmund Hillary for the first summit of Everest in 1953. FYI – they also have a monument in town to the most famous female Sherpa, Pemba Doma, who was the first Nepalese woman to summit Everest via the extraordinarily challenging north face. She also led the Nepalese Women’s Expedition of Everest in 2002. She tragically died on Lhotse in a fall in 2007.

For the remainder of the day we explored Namche and picked up gifts which we can blessedly leave here and pick up on return from the circuit that links back up here.

Two other things about which I want to offer reflections. First, our guide. His name is Asis Gurung and comes originally from rural Nepal, the son of farmers. He has no education beyond high school but worked hard to create opportunities for himself, first as a porter, then an asst guide, and then guide for around 15 years. Guiding is a tough life but he does it in part to enable his daughters to attend college. We’ve talked about college a lot on our climb, what he knows about it and what he does not. In many ways he represents the realities for first gen students and their families, and much more than the financial issues of college attendance. The importance of wrap around support is a universal one and certainly not limited to the US.

The second thing I wanted to relay was having met Anthony McLaren today. He’s prepping to summit Everest on May 15 w/o bottled oxygen if he can. Where Amy and I slogged up the trail today, he ran it. We took a pic with him and let me say, there is no fat on that man! He’s on a quest to complete the 7 Summits to raise funds for Parkinson’s, a disease that took his father a few years ago. After Everest, all he has is Mt Vinson in Antarctica, planned for November. I thought I was motivated by challenge, but pale by comparison. He was an inspiration to talk to. We pray he is successful.

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