Loubuche (4940 m/16,207 ft) to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,284ft)
One might think, having finally reached Everest Base Camp, that the “hard part” was over, and it would, so to speak, be “all downhill” from there. The reality is that, although it certainly is not so tiring going down as it is going up, the difficulty depends upon how one’s knees behave. And mine do not do well on a downward trek. After about nine hours of descent, my left knee was hurting a lot. I finally popped some Ibuprofens, and they helped me to keep going, but the last hour was very tough.
Finally, we made it back down to Namche Bazaar, where we checked into the same lodge where we had stayed on the way up. Now, we were able to enjoy the priceless luxury of hot showers again, and afterward we felt renewed and refreshed.
In the evening, Dharmesh and Delle went down to the market to get me a knee brace, and Delle stopped in to visit the family of the injured Sherpa whose life she had saved on the way up. She returned with wonderful news that, a team of surgeons had been flown in to Kathmandu from Mumbai, and had been able to operate on him. He was in now stable condition.
That day was also the twenty-first birthday of our own Sherpa, Dawa. Since, on our way up, Delle had asked the kitchen to have a birthday cake ready for our return trip, we were now able to celebrate with a cake and candles. This was a custom that was new to him, and he blushed and looked very happy as we sang—then shared his birthday cake with everyone in the dining hall. After dinner, we enjoyed regaining access to wi-fi after a long hiatus. We were eager to check our email, and we took the opportunity to upload a couple of photos to Facebook for our family and friends to see.
Needless to say, we all had a very long and sound sleep that night.
Editing by Veronica McDavid, WordsOnTheWebNY@gmail.com