Is it ever a good idea to take your family on an Everest Base Camp trek? I realized this possibly wasn’t the best time to ask, as we boarded the flight to Nepal, armed with our backpacks, trekking poles, and 16-year-old daughter.
Until a few months ago I hadn’t realized it would be possible to take teens along the trail. Ellie had come home from school waving a piece of paper in front of me to see if I would pay for her to do a Kilimanjaro trek with her school athletics club. Not, I thought to myself. The challenge seemed too great for adolescents and I was worried about her safety. But the idea stuck with me and it was later as I did a little research that I discovered it was not only quite possible to do a Kilimanjaro trek but also to trek to Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Guide too. I let Ellie down gently but then suggested my alternative plan. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of such a challenge and suddenly we were booked, packed, and set off.
Kathmandu greeted us like a medieval megacity. Temples reached up like skyscrapers, markets heaved with colorful goods and fragrant snacks, elephants roamed freely amongst alleyways and we wandered amidst it all, dipping into tea shops for steaming cups of chai and stopping by Durbar Square to see the living Goddess and buy beautiful hand woven saris for a few hundred rupees a piece.
We waved by the atmospheric capital and zoomed off to the airport once more, this time to board the little plane to Lukla that would whisk us up into the clouds and transport us to the start of our epic trek. I was nervous in the face of my family’s fearlessness. But as we bobbed up into the skies we were suddenly faced with Everest herself and all I felt was exhilaration.
We enjoyed every minute of our Everest Base Camp trek. Yes, there were times when we felt like we couldn’t walk any further and yes our heads ached as we went up to higher and higher altitudes. But I would not have missed it for the world. We loved the enchanting Namche Bazaar, famous for blessing travelers and wonderful bakeries. We were agog at the giant glaciers, the incredible vistas, and the sense of adventure with it all. And we loved the warmth and gentleness of the Nepali people. But most of all we loved the sense of achievement when we reached the camp.