Most Inspirational Moment
For me, seeing Everest in all her glory from the top of Kala Pattar was always going to be THE big moment of the trek, in many ways more important than getting to Base Camp itself. I knew that you couldn't see the summit of Everest from BC and Kala Pattar offers trekkers an unrivalled view of the highest point on this Earth. It's an optional part of the trek but I strongly urge you to make the extra 3 hour or so journey. We went up in the afternoon, which is a little different to most treks, they go early morning to see the sunrise over Everest but I much preferred the time we went. It was fairly quiet on the path up, with only one or two couples making their way up. At the top with fabulous clear skies and with wind whipping strongly around I achieved my main goal of the trip, and the view does not disappoint.
Thoughts on Group Leader
I was lucky enough to have Valerie Parkinson as Group Leader, she has such a wealth of knowledge and deep rooted love of the Himalaya that I really could not have asked for a better leader. Having been trekking in the Himalaya since I was a baby (sorry Valerie!), Valerie has as much experience as anyone and knows the paths like the back of her hand. I showed her a photo that I wanted to recreate on the trek and she knew exactly where it was on route - which wasn't that obvious. She has deep, personal connections to the land and the people of Nepal which is really nice to see, meeting the various Tea House Owners was like seeing lifelong friends reuniting to catch up after two years apart due to the Pandemic. Valerie has been there and seen it all, which was a great comfort to some trekking novices. Her passion for her job absolutely shines through.
Also a special mention for our guides Khusman and Sonam, they were able to pace the group perfectly and supported us massively every single step of the way. Their energy and willingness to help is limitless and with a small group of 4 trekkers, we really became a close knit group and bonded hugely with all our guides.
Advice for Potential Travellers
Invest in a Steripen as the trip notes suggest. I was a little reluctant due to the price, but it paid for itself many times over with it's ease of use in sterilising the water so it was safe for consumption. It's so quick and easy to use (taking 90 seconds to sterilise a litre of water) I was so grateful I made the purchase.
I didn't take trekking poles as I don't usually use them when trekking at home, but I purchased a cheap pole in Namche and it just helps to stabilise you on the rougher terrain and helps you channel your energy. Our Leader Valerie (another benefit of her skills!) observed that those of us without poles were exerting so much more energy than those with poles. Such are the prices at Namche (I certainly get a top of the line pole) you don't even need to fit them into your luggage home to bring them back and can donate them to others in need on the trek.
Try the local dishes, if Dal Bhat is good enough to power the local people, it's good enough for everyone! I just used my camera phone for photos and videos, as opposed to taking a SLR camera, which seemed to manage the job just fine