The day of rest began at 5 am. The group headed up the jagged and rocky steps of Namche Bazaar to an ancient trail ultimately leading to Mt. Everest Base Camp but would allow us access to Chorkang; an observation area yielding 360 degree clear sky views of the Himalayan mountain range, and yes, Mt. Everest itself. The team enjoyed taking fun pictures with a humble background of the world’s tallest peaks. After quietly taking in one of the magnificent seven wonders of the world we eagerly trekked down to Hotel Sherwi Khangba Hotel and Restaurant for breakfast. Following our well needed and refueling breakfast, we toured the original Sherpa House museum. Guided by Lhakpa and Phurba, the team toured a photo gallery showcasing the pictures of Nepal’s most famous photographer, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa. On the short downhill trek back to the lodge, the team curiously browsed the village’s famous Saturday market where the locals sell a wide variety ranging from kitchenware to clothing. The lodge welcomed us home to running warm water for the team to refresh in a much needed shower; as it has been some five days since our last soap session. Following a delicious feast of duck dogs, similar to the American hot dog but better, Lhakpa led the team to a meeting with four of the main political representatives for the entire Khumbu region. Not exactly sure what to expect, the team witnessed Lhakpa strategically communicate our goals in Syangma not only for this trip, but the trips to come. As he seamlessly intertwined Sherpa and Nepali, the team awaited a translation in English to understand how our short term and long term goals would be accepted. Midway through the discussion, as Lhakpa passionately described the goals, all four of the representatives unyieldingly interjected subsequently causing Lhakpa to raise his voice. This only caused the persistent representatives to raise their voices. The team nervously and anxiously waited for the outcome of the verbal scuffle, only to discover the representatives were actually commending and thanking the team for their sacrifice and dedication to the people of the Khumbu. The team responded and gave thanks to the central committee vowing a long term commitment connecting the exploited people of the Khumbu with the compassionate volunteers of The Invictus Initiative. Now late in the afternoon, the team once again headed uphill to a stunning Nauche Gonda Visitor Centre, the local monastery, overlooking all of Namche. It was a peaceful exhibit where Lhkapa told an elaborate true story of a yeti discovered deep in the Himalayas many years ago. Allie S.’s skepticism was shortly lived as Mike concluded Lhakpa’s story by grabbing her shoulder and shouting what could only be interpreted as yeti call. It is safe to say Allie was a bit frightened. A short hike from there would lead us to a panoramic view of the Khumbu valley, Namche, and 8,000m peaks piercing through the clouds. Modestly admiring the pure beauty of the mountains, the team relaxed soaking in the purity of the surroundings. Completing the full day of pictures in front of Mt. Everest and chai with top decision makers, a traditional chicken and rice stew warmed our goosed bumped legs. Feeling replenished, the team enjoyed a yogurt and fruit parfait before winding down for the last night in a town that will always be remembered as a vital relationship cornerstone between the people of Khumbu and The Invictus Initiative/Hike for Help.
**Tomorrow we start our journey to Syangma where we will set camp in the evening and begin work on Monday. There will be no access to internet, therefore, the blog will be updated upon the return to Lukla.**