This morning the team left for the airport around 4:30 AM. Rested and ready, it was time to continue onward. The rain and thunder from the night before had cleared out leaving a damp street but clean and clear sky. Racing through the roads of Kathmandu, we were welcomed at the domestic airport by a troop of monkeys. As we unloaded the supplies, the monkeys entertained all with playful and energetic climbing of power lines and wall repelling. Once our food and equipment for the journey in the Solukhumbu were loaded into the plane, the weathered but trustful twin-otter putted onto the runway strip and miraculously took flight. After a smooth flight towards the homeland of the Sherpa’s, (which literally means “People of the East”) we were greeted by Lhakpa’s brother, Phurba with chai at his “Coffee/Internet of Lukla”. Following breakfast, Lhakpa led a tour through the town of Lukla which is known as “The Gateway to Everest”. The Thursday market was bustling with people selling goods recently flown in from Kathmandu. The team explored more of the town finding their way to The Lukla School. Kimmy, Betsy, Allie, and Megan quickly made friends. An intense dodge ball session initiated where the local children showed no mercy to their American guests. Rylan’s juggling skills calmed the mood preceding the children’s first class. Caleb, James, Hannah and Marie eagerly jumped in line with students for their early exercise and stretching class. Before leaving the school, the team decided to teach the children a traditional American “fist pound” goodbye. Incorporating the word Ramrho (which means “great” in Nepalese) was well received and quickly spread amongst the children as the team left and said their goodbyes. Finishing up lunch at Starbucks Lukla, we finally started out on what would be our first leg of the trail that leads to Everest. Upon arriving at the final destination for the first day, Phakding, the group was culturally welcomed with a warm cup of chai in usual fashion. We took off our shoes and relaxed before a filling family style dinner of rice and spaghetti. Because hours of hiking each day isn’t apparently enough for collegiate runners to stay in shape, Hannah and Marie, while accompanied by Jesse, went for an evening run through a foreign landscape guaranteed to dwarf the Rockie’s in comparison. Today was a ramrho day.