Distance Traveled for the Day – Est Steps: 19,908, Distance: 14.3km
Lukla (elev. 2,795m} Oxygen Content -14.8% / 21%
Phakding (elev. 2,610m} Oxygen Content -14.9% / 21%
We start the morning early to grab the first flight out of Kathmandu Airport. The domestic airport is something out of this world and those of us who travel frequently found ourselves quite amused by some of the processes or lack there of in the airport.
Everyone is told there is a strict 15kg limit for the total for bags and we pack accordingly. On arival at the airport even the airline staff comment on the inaccuracy of the scales and most everyone ends up over. Not to stress though, the penalty for being over is 100 rupees (about $1USD) per kilo, if only we had known the night before.
The security check is basically a quick pat down by the airport guards and we are on our way.
The plane is a small plane especially built for this type of trip. Much is reported about the planes and the airport at Lukla. However we found the trip itself is pretty uneventful and smooth. I found it amusing that we were flying at about 13,000ft or 4000m and we would soon be trekking through the mountains far above the height we were now flying at.
The flight takes about 30 mins and is a regular service with planes taking off (click here for video) and landing (click here for video) one after the other doing a round trip from 6:30 am to 3:30 pm every day.
For most of us this is our first view of the Himalayas and the views are breath taking.
We have breakfast and some tea and notice immediately the difference in temperature between Kathmandu and the mountains. While we are enjoying the views and a hot breakfast our porters are packing the Yows and taking our bags to the our first hotel.
We are told to we are now starting and the everyone gets their gear ready. We head off excitedly, none of us really knowing what to expect.
Quickly we learn that we the trails are shared by many yows, trekkers and locals. Until the group gets used to this it causes a few people to worry about how to avoid the yows, but after a few days this becomes almost second nature. Yows are pretty docile and will wait or move to the side to avoid you, most of the time. Tehy do have a mind of their own sometimes and wil often stop and go off the track to eat the local vegetation. You will constantly hear the herders yelling them them to keep moving and get back on the track.
All day we find ourselves looking at massive green valleys with multiple streams from the snow melting from the peaks now high above us. The landscapes unraveling in front of us at each turn of the trail are fantastic.
The entry into Everest National Park
Tea is a popular drink along the trail at the various stops. A small pot of tea is actually a large thermos so you can share with your group. The lemon teas are actually quite sweet and probably made from powdered lemon mix.
There are multiple suspension bridges built along the trail. For those like myself a bit nervous of heights this pose a bit of a challenge especially as they tend to bounce and move a bit as the group moves across them.
Keep an eye out as you hike along the trail and it is amazing some of the creatures that you may see. This colourful moth was sitting on the ground behind the trail.
Prayer Stones are stacked at multiple places along the trail to Everest Base Camp
Along the trail there are a few things out of the ordinary. This house built into a stone cliff face caught my attention.
We arrive at our lodge for the night at about 3 pm, this was to be the fairly regular schedule for the entire trip. Once we arrived we had the option of hiking up to Thaktul Monastery. This is a short hike that is steep in places and a good example of the smaller regional monasteries that dot the landscape.