We've arrived at Gorak Shep in fine fettle. There's a lot of people on the trail and it suddenly feels quite busy (and impersonal).
The fact that we are all well, acclimatised and having a super great time completely justifies the leisurely 3 week trekking schedule.
The past few days have seen us sleeping higher than Everest Base Camp, we made a mass ascent of Pokalde (5,800m), crossed the Kongma La and descended to Lobuche.
We awoke to a snowy trail and cloudy skies but the trek here was super easy - especially compared to the hoards of trekkers who are having difficulty along the trail. They all seem to be having a great time, and I hope that they're enjoying the highlight of their trip, but I am sooo glad that my group are in much better shape both physically and mentally.
We're just having some lunch at Gorak Shep, the last 'village' on the trail, and then we'll be mooching the last hour and a half to EBC where we'll be settling in to 'home' for the next 3 to 5 weeks.
We're destined for a complete rest day tomorrow where we'll be unpacking all the freight and baggage that we've been separated from since departing KTM. I imagine the shower tent will receive some use as well as bowls of hot water for doing some laundry. On the 22nd we'll go and have a look see in the lower stretches of The Khumbu Icefall where I'll acquaint the group with how to negotiate the ropes and ladders. After that we are having a Base Camp puja (blessing) on the 23rd and then we're aiming to be sleeping at Camp 1 (and Camp 2) on the 24th onwards for 3 or 4 nights.
So this is the end of the (easy) fun trekking phase and the start of the transition to the more serious (but fun) expedition phase.
I'll keep you posted. Cheers - Tim & Co