DAY ONE: Phaplu to Kharikhola; in altitude, up 500m, down 900m, up 600m. About 34, 35ish km covered. A good 65,000 steps. Nine hours of solid up, down and undulated terrain tackled and totalled. Moments of brilliant heat, of solid rain, of fine mist drizzle. And all absolutely incredible.

When we arrived at 6.20pm this evening at the teahouse of choice, the Nepali lads manning the lodging asked where we had come from. “Phaplu,” we replied, and were meant with impressed expressions and a, “Wow! You so fit and fast!”

You see, when we met up with Prem he suggested staying in Nanthula – a wee village about three hours before. But being Craig and being me, we decided to push on beyond, Namche a’calling. So push on we did, a solid two-hour uphill to finish off, rain pouring upon us as we pulled up to the next place of stay.

It was hard. Very much so. But insanely rewarding and oh so enjoyable. Even the early on uphill when I was pretty keen for it to end, I was happy. So many laughs, D&Ms and just dicky discussions between Craig and I; so many people we passed, some interested in us and where we were from, others who couldn’t care less; handfuls of “namaste”ing children giggling and bowing their heads. We saw a little wizened old man, no more than 50kg, carrying a 40kg basket of items up the big hill. Herds of goats, of baby chickens, of dogs who followed us along for a little way. Young men trekking home to see their families, time off from their jobs in Kathmandu to Jeep in, journey by foot up and then reverse back after a few days. And just insane beauty all around in the, well, surroundings.

I feel like my daily hour on the cross trainer at a humble level three did not set me in good stead for this adventure. Like, the lungs aren’t actually too bad, but the old legs are taking a tremble. About four hours in whenever I stood still the old thighs and calves would uncontrollably shake – still doing so now we’ve stopped.

Currently set up home in a teahouse, wet wipe wash complete and as clean as I can possibly be in such a situation. It’s pouring outside, I’m Seedless Green Grape-ing it up (book writing, not gorging on a bunch I shall clarify) and I feel like an 8pm bedtime is on the horizon.

I’m tired, trembly, dirty and hanging out for my vegetable soup – but I’m as blissful as can be.

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