Woke up at 4:30 am to be picked up for my taxi ride to domestic airport, which was no yet opened when I arrived and wouldn’t be until 5:30 am even though the flight wa scheduled to take off at 6:15 am
Quick proceedings through security and then on to waiting at the gate. I remembered Maciek’s advice to get the window seat on the left side of the plane to Lukla with the best being directly behind the cockpit. Waiting ready at the gate for the ticket man to show up. Last one on bus, first one on the plane. I waited for everyone to board before I got my seat near the door
Boarded plane first with the seat recommended by Maciek
Plane maybe a 20 seater with it being the smallest plane I have ever flown in. Open cockpit so I could watch pilots fiddle with the controls
Kathmandu valley beautiful in its own right with its steeply terraced hilly terrain. Unfortunately very cloudy but it provided a unique perspective of the mountains far away of the Everest range. The tallest mountains in the world were hidden for the longest time until poked/punched through into a different stratosphere. The snow capped mountains sat on a silver platter of cotton or rose up from a flat desert of puff.
The plane never rose higher than those highest of mountains
Better than anything my dreams could have divined
Mountains stood far away but felt within reach and soon enough I would be walking amongst the peeking out and up for an inspiring view from the viewpoints
Landed on the shortest runway I have ever seen with it clinging to the edge of a cliff’s edge and disappearing from it in all actuality
Got my bag, ate peanut butter and granola bars for breakfast before walking into Lukla village, a developed village at that so that I could find the official trailhead for the trek to EBC
I kept asking anyone with possible know how which usually meant trying with the trail checkpoint attendants what the status of the three passes trail was. I wanted to enlarge the trek I originally planned for to EBC. Covering higher elevation, crossing glaciers and snow, and getting greater up close viewpoints of the surrounding peaks
Even early on when the views didn’t show high snow capping peaks I still stopped enough looking at the land aghast. This was truly gods country
Trekking through village upon village digging my way through the pine filled forests
Prayer wheels all over the place large and small, spun them for good fortune
Monasteries, prayer flags everywhere, stupas
Talked to kid for a bit who was heading to namche bazaar to his school
Many people around here speak fairly good English
Chatted with Israeli group who shared with me their freshly brewed coffee and tea
Many many steps that rose unforgivingly
Crossed over river many times over bouncing freely hanging bridges
Rain: a lighter rain but the raincoat made me feel like I was wearing a sweatsuit
Passed many Sherpas and porters, carrying weights that went beyond 30 kg of solid rock, full size doors, etc.
The climb from one side of the river by way of a steep overhanging bridge and continuing on to the area that held Namche was grueling. Views were nonexistent due to the cloud coverage and rain killed the spirit even further.
Mini yak hybrids on trail
Finally in namche bazaar which is the centre of Sherpa activity
Gave away my knock off trekking shoes for free when I saw a shoe repair shop that was actually closed after passing a stream that normally had spinning prayer wheels but were getting repaired at the moment
Ate dal bhat, mound of rice, with its staple limitless helpings
Guys trying to tell me I can’t go three passes trek by myself which I found discouraging and then they said I should get a guide here but I wanted to avoid that at all cost which would not only add costs but also infringe on my freedom
Looking for a room
First $2 but then full?
Met an Israeli who asked to find out if I was an Israeli. We got to talking and he and his friend are doing the three passes trek as well and would be leaving tomorrow. Even though people tend to stay in Namche for an acclimatization rest day I already knew I wanted to continue and felt confident based on my previous trekking experiences in the Himalayas. He pointed me to the guesthouse he was staying.
Guesthouse was 50 rupees per night as long as you ate dinner there and the food is extremely overpriced there which is where they make their money on the food and not on the room (porters lug the food from the portions of the Valley and other surrounding valleys exacerbating the price with each kilometer but I was surprised it had risen so quickly on just my first night on the trail)
The two guys highlighted their loose plan for how and where they wanted to trek with a speedy timeframe but I agreed to join them needing support for my own safety over what was discussed as possibly unsteady tracks and those that could be lost. A lucky convenience to find them I thought
Ate expensive veg momos but they were good to be fair with a nice green cheese sauce
We chatted about our travels including our shared yet separate experiences while touring the far north of India. I was jealous to hear about their memorable times trekking the Markha Valley, an area I sorely wanted to visit and was denied thanks to over abundant rain the swept its valleys
Got myself to bed since we would be starting early as is the way with trekking