The 101 on Trekking in the Everest Base Camp Region

Above Pheriche, Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
So much more than Base Camp

A Basic Overview To Everest Base Camp Trekking 

Whether you have just returned from your first taste of hiking somewhere spectacular like Machu Picchu and are thinking about tackling the Everest Base Camp trek. Or your neighbour has just returned from their third trek in Nepal and you’re thinking there must be something in it. Or you have been thinking about trekking in Nepal for a while. Whatever the reason and you know next to nothing about trekking in Nepal, this post is for you.

This is the 101 on trekking in the Everest Base Camp region also features some photos of the Gokyo region. Gokyo is the less popular trek but is very beautiful and less crowded.

#Macchermo lodges #Gokyo Area #Everest Base Camp region #Khumbu #Nepal
Simple Accommodation Stunning Location – Macchermo, Gokyo area 

It is a good idea to decide when and where you will trek twelve months in advance to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and research. This is the case whether you are trekking with or without a tour operator. Being prepared for what the trek is like is critical. Mental preparation is everything. Everything.

Basic Points About the EBC Region when you know absolutely nothing

  • EBC stands for Everest Base Camp.
  • You can’t see Mount Everest from Everest Base Camp. You get your first view of Everest on the climb to Namche Bazaar.
  • The highlight of trekking to Everest Base Camp is the view from Kala Patthar. Not Base Camp. You can see Everest and the rest of the mountains from Kala Patthar. You can climb to Kala Patthar to see Everest at sunrise, sunset, late morning or early afternoon. You do not need to be a mountaineer to get this view.
Climbing Kala Patthar October 2015
The innocent looking path to the top of Kala Patthar was the hardest few hours of our 2015 trek for me. The large mountain on the left is Pumori.
  • There is no road to Everest Base Camp, Nepal.
    Everest Base Camp and Gokyo are in the Khumbu region.
  • Most people start their trek by flying to Lukla. The closest road is two days walk from Lukla at Jiri or Saleri.
Sign to Jiri from the main EBC trail
The signage to Jiri and Salleri two days walk from the main trail 
  • Everything needed along the track comes in on foot. Gas for cooking, food, housing and building supplies are carried up by donkeys, yaks and porters. The porters do the hardest carrying, carrying weights of up to 140 kilos.
  • Understandably food and drink are more expensive the higher you go up the trail.
Tenzing Hilary Airport Lukla Nepal
Waiting for the next four planes to land at the Tenzing Hilary Airport
Porters Load along the EBC Trek trail
Meet the doko. You will see lots of these with your food and drink up the track
  • The trail is in a remote part of the world, but people live at points along the track. On the lower parts of the track you will see children walking to school. Tell this to the folks back home to stop them worrying about your planned adventure.
Children running home from school EBC trek trail Nepal
Children running home from school
  • People worry about altitude sickness on the trek, but it is avoidable.
  • I have met people worried about altitude sickness affecting them because they had experienced it ascending mountains in the Andes in a bus! This happens because you are ascending too fast. It doesn’t happen trekking to the Base Camp region if you plan your ascent according to the altitude rules.
  • Your altitude acclimatisation starts in Kathmandu at 1,400 metres or 4,500 feet. Don’t sign up with a trekking company that counts Kathmandu as day 1 of your trek. 
trekking gear
Training is key to you managing and enjoying your trek.
Camping an Lodge accommodation in Dole Gokyo region Nepal
Camping and lodge accommodation in Dole on the way to Gokyo
  • Trekking to Everest Base Camp is achievable with an average fitness level but you need to train so you don’t experience any pain and you enjoy it.
  • People of all ages trek along this track.
  • Click here to read how we trained for our treks to Everest Base Camp.
Lodge in Phakding EBC trail
The lodge we stayed in Phakding on the way up and on the way down in 2015.

Lodge in Dole in the Gokyo Valley Nepal

ACCOMMODATION 

  •  If you trek to Everest Base Camp you don’t have to sleep in a tent.
  • If you decide not to camp, then you will stay in a lodge. They used to be called tea houses.
  • Accommodation is basic. Very basic. I am talking basic beds, blanket and pillows. Usually some sort of shelf along the window, maybe some coat hooks. No mirror and no power points. 
  • Bathrooms are basic. Sometimes you can get a toilet in your room. Showers are generally communal except in the more expensive lodges and maybe in some lodges in Phakding.
  • There are some nicer hotels in Namche Bazaar and there is the Yeti Group along the lower part of the track. But remember the infrastructure is not there for the fabulous plumbing and heating, regardless of the price.
  • In Namche Bazaar for a moderate rate you can have your own reasonable bathroom, western toilet and power points and mirrors.
  • A shower each day is not possible. Wet hair on the trail is a problem and there are no power points for a hair dryer to dry your hair.
  • You don’t have to carry a huge pack with food etc because there are lodges all the way along the track spaced at strategic points and they can cook your breakfast and dinner.
  • The basic accommodation is very cheap. The lodges make their money from the food. You must eat your evening meal and your breakfast in the lodge.
  • It is customary to pre-order your meals ahead of time, so they can get organised. below is the standard menu along the trail.
  1. Food is basic.
  2. It is not advisable to eat meat along the trail or in Kathmandu.
A lodge in Phakding Nepal
Lodges usually sell some basics 

Trek with a company or independently but trek with a guide or a porter guide

The Porter guide and me Above Macchermo on the way to Gokyo
Dilip our Porter guide with me above Macchermo on the way to Gokyo

Planning – Decisions before you leave for the Everest Region

  • Who you are going to go with?
    • Decide carefully who you want to go on this trekking adventure with. Because it might not be their dream destination, or cup of tea. I know. Because that was me. But, now I have just returned from my third trek in the Everest Base camp region. And planning a fourth. Trekking in Everest Base Camp region is addictive.
    • If your planned travelling companion is very particular about accommodation – maybe you can go with someone else OR they just give it a go. It’s worth it for the spectacle views … 
Spectacular View from Dingboche Ridgetop
Imja Chola River from above Dingboche

When You Can Trek To Everest Base Camp 

Why are you going ?

  •  If you want to go all the way to Everest Base Camp make sure you have an itinerary no less than 14 days Lukla to Lukla NOT including arrival in Kathmandu.
  • Importantly there is a chance you won’t get to Base Camp. On our first trek in 2013 we didn’t, and you need to be prepared for that. Pushing on could cost you your life. You can always try again another time. There is no shame in not getting to EBC.
  • You might be happy enough just to experience trekking and the big mountain panoramic views. Then maybe trekking to Namche Bazaar is far enough. Or you could go a bit farther to Thame or Khumjung. It is still a fantastic experience with great views. Dingboche is further with fantastic massive landscape views.

The Number of Days Trekking to Everest Base Camp is the Most Important Factor to Get to Base Camp Safely 

Your Trekking Options. How Will You Trek ?  

  • with a tour group, or independently with a guide and porter or a porter guide?
  • will you book before you leave home or in Kathmandu?

Research, Book, Buy and Train, Train, Train

Know What to Expect  – Mental Preparation is Everything 

  • We researched our gear by going to all the trekking shops and buying in store.
  • Buy gear early unless you want to buy it in Kathmandu, which I don’t recommend.
    • Buy your boots early. You need to wear them in. 
    • Start shopping for your best airfare options – we buy our air tickets only few months before our departure – just in case circumstances change
    • Research insurance, costs of a porter etc
  • Read some blog posts and get an idea on what to expect
    • Read about
      • the accommodation
      • the food
      • what the trail is like
      • look at some maps on the internet
      • look at Google Earth along the track
      • buy or borrow a range of guide books
      • watch some YouTube videos
    • It is important one person going knows what to expect each day. If you have a guide, they will tell you each night what to expect the next day. A porter/ guide, may not speak English as well as a guide, but they will be able to tell you on how long it will take you to get to your next destination and a rough description of the trail. Even with the porters and guides it is a good idea to know what you are signing up for before you book your trek and airfares. Do your research before you book anything.  
  • Train with your trekking clothes and your day pack and some weight. Try a drink bottle with an increasing amount of water to increase the weight slowly.
  • Train, train and train   

Best Months to Trek in the Mount Everest Base Camp Region?

The best times to trek and the seasons in the Everest Base Camp region

  • April, May – when all the rhododendrons are flowering, the warmer of the two seasons and the busiest because the Mount Everest climbing season is in May. A lot of people and food and equipment move along the track in April.
  • October to December – a colder but less busy season. There is chance of clouds in the afternoon and of some snow in higher parts
    • We have only trekked in this season. It was quiet for us because there were no flights for about three or four days.

Months to Avoid Everest Base Camp Trekking

  • January and February is winter and cold. A few people do trek then. But why would you?
  • August and September are the monsoon season. Lots of rain and clouds can obscure the views and there is the possibility of landslides lower part of the track.
September 2015 between Mongla and Portse Tenga Nepal
You can be unlucky with the weather …

After You Decide to Trek to EBC Region – Research Some More

  • Research your trek – the destination and the route
    • Build flexibility into your itinerary.
  • A great tip is to plan 2 to 4 buffer days. A tight deadline is not what you want. You might get sick, or feel unwell or miss a flight in or out.

https://bearfoottheory.com/planning-your-everest-base-camp-trek-logistics/

  • Begin your training 3 to 6 months before you go depending on your fitness level
    • 3 months if you are reasonably fit and need targeted training
    • 6 months if you want to establish general fitness first

Research and Preparation Equal Success for the Everest Base Camp Region treks

 

The EBC Trek Trail in 20 Photos

How Difficult is the EBC Trek ? Here it is in photos.

Part of the answer to how difficult the EBC trek is, is about what you are walking on. This shows why you need to do step training. And hill training of course.

Main Street Lukla, setting out on Main Trail EBC Trek

Cobblestones in Lukla, there are flat parts through villages in the lower part of the trail.

EBC Trek Before Phakding after Ghat
When down hill is uphill too. And lots of steps.

EBC Trek Between Phakding and Monjo
Watch your step.

Lower suspension bridge over the Dudh Khosi taken from the higher bridge
One of the Bridges at Namche Bazaar.

EBC Trek Above Namche Bazaar
Rocks and rocky paths.

EBC Trek Coming Into Khumjung
Smooth path into Khumjung after a big climb.

EBC Trek Above Upper Phakding
Windy paths along the side of mountains,

EBC Trek Heading Towards Dingboche
The hills look innocent enough here but the altitude is increasing.

EBC Trek Towards Dingboche
Paths widen over turf

Bridge at the confluence of Khumbu Khola and the Imja Khola Nepal
and over rivers

EBC Trek Heading towards Dingboche
Flat but at altitude don’t rush.

EBC Trek Dingboche to Dughla
Across turf at 4,000 metres

EBC Trek Dingboche to Dughla above Periche
From Dingboche to Dughla above Periche

EBC Trek To Gorak Shep
To Gorak Shep an amazing part of the trail. Lots of rocks to pick your way over.

EBC Trek near Gorak Shep
The path from above…

EBC Trek The climb up to Kala Patthar
The hardest walk to Kala Patthar. Over 5,500 metres.

EBC Trek almost to Base Camp
Walking the last few kilometres to Base Camp.

Everest Base Bamp Trek
There are hills to go up as you go back down to Lukla. These are marathon runners.

Coming down from Tengboche EBC Trek
Coming back down can be slippery with those little loose rocks.

EBC Trek Looking back towards Periche
There are still hills coming down and the magnificent views in reverse.

The thing to understand about these photos is on the really big climb days to Namche Bazaar and to Tengboche – you are too exhausted to take photos. And the photos don’t really show the steepness of the climb.

Lukla-EBC-KP-Gorakshep_Elevation Profile
Here is a elevation profile I found. The triangular peak represents the acclimatisation day walk above Dingboche.

Beautiful One Day Breathtaking the Next

A Photo is Worth a Thousand Superlatives

Above Pheriche, EBC Trek, Nepal

From the moment you walk out of Lukla to trek to Everest Base Camp the views are beautiful. The higher you go the more amazing the views, higher again the views become breathtaking panoramas. Continue reading

Step Training? Affirmative

Three Months Until Your EBC Trek? Get Training

Do I need to include steps in my training ? You bet. By the end of your training you should be able to do 1 hour of steps with a ten minute break in the middle.

Main Everest Base Camp Trail between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche treacherous steps but a great view.

There’s the man with the vision and the all the plans. Trek to Everest Base Camp, Nepal. He had been to trek the Annapurna circuit in the 80s and he knew there is a lot of uneven ground so he insisted on finding uneven hills to train on and lots of stairs too.

And stairs were in abundance …..

Between Lukla and Phakding
Eveerest Base CAmp trek trail
Aproach to bridge at Jorsale
trekking Phakding to Monjo Everest Base Camp Trek September 2015
Between Phakding and Monjo
IMG_1434

Donkeys making their way down these stairs – wait for them to pass.

Everest Base Camp trek

Kids an their way home from school running down the stairs. October 2015

Outside Monjo towards Namche Bazaar

An eighty plus year old woman with 40 kilos plus of cabbages, beating me down these stairs. November 2013

Everest Base Bamp Trek
Everest Base Camp Marathon day 2015

Base Camp Marathon runners after Tengboche heading to Namche Bazaar. October 2015

If you are planning a trek on the Annapurna Circuit or to Everest Base Camp and you’ ll be there in three or four months you need to start your incline training, or hill training now. Find some good hills close to home to start walking them twice a week with a more intense session on the weekend.  All you need is one good hill with some uneven ground. Go up the hill turn around and go back up. Turn around and do it again and again. Ad nauseum.

Find Some Stairs to Train on

We did stair training for the last two and half months once a week and twice a week for the last six weeks. We started off at ten or twenty minutes building up to 45 minutes to an hour. Up four flights , down four flights. You get the picture.

EBC Trek
There’s the river between the trees…
Namche to Tengboche
Approaching some tricky steps …
Everest Base Camp Trek
Almost there! The infamous climb to Namche Bazaar almost finished.

November 2013

Oh course you will be rewarded by fabulous views at the top … before you go down hill to go up again…

Everest Base Camp Trek Tips

  1. Practice with your boots and all your gear.
  2. Buy trekking poles to protect your knees, especially going down hill. Train with them before you leave for Nepal. I mean for a few months at least. If you not used to them you will really feel the pain.
  3. We recommend taking a porter and or porter guide. The photos of me with the orange pack are our 2013 trek without a porter. The shots with the small purple pack were taken on the 2015 trek when we took a porter guide.
  4. Remember your step training and then you will enjoy your trek.
  5. Go slow. Slowly, slowly. Bistari, bistari. It is not a race.
  6. And remember another reason you train and do all of the above – the elevation see Everest Base Camp Trek Elevation profiles and my comments.

Todd Samson and How Not to Trek in the Himalayas

Todd Samson’s Salute to Sherpas and Climbing Lobuche

todd-samson

What Todd Samson has been getting up to lately is far from tame. Todd Samson is an Australian Canadian television celebrity is currently in a show called Body Hack.

Each episode looks at a different group of people who are involved in extreme activity and how the body copes with it. Taking it one step further Todd Samson walks in their shoes for some time. The Nepalese episode looked at the life of the Sherpa people who work as porters along the Everest Base Camp Trail. Continue reading

At the Top of Kala Patthar

Video

I made it. I climbed to Kala Patthar the highlight of the Everest Base Camp trek. The video of me reaching the top, breathless and exhausted.

Reminiscing – the Trip of My Life

IMG_1809The Best Travel Adventure

Trekking to Everest Base Camp

I had travelled through the Sahara and been to Timbuktu, seen Iguazu Falls and Rio and lived in Milan and Buenos Aires and was about to go on the trip of my life but I didn’t know it. I sat on the couch with a small pot of expensive lip moisturiser in my hands, crying. Continue reading

Bucket Lists and Difficult Journeys

Trekking to Everest Base Camp – Are You Ready?

You don’t need to be an athlete nor a mountain climber.

You don’t have to be seasoned hiker either. For many people who trek to Base Camp it is their first experience of anything like this. I know because I was one of these people.

With Training Everest Base Camp is achievable for the average person

Training before you go is highly recommended. Your training is part of the bigger journey. It certainly was part of mine. The Trainer kept reminding me, you know the quote, the journey is not just about the destination. Oh and the question of age. I’m in my fifties and there were plenty of people older than me on the trail.

Above the yak pastures on the trail to Dingboche.
One of favourite days walking into Dingboche past yak pastures.

If you are healthy, have trained and mentally prepared Everest Base Camp is possible. Continue reading

The Altitude Rule and Our Diamox Experience

The Altitude Rule – the Key Factor

The golden rule is not to sleep more than 300 metres higher each day. Sticking to the rule the Trainer planned a sixteen days trek which meant staying in Dughlia. Not the most beautiful place and with only two lodges. Most treks stop for lunch here and then continue on to Lobuche.

We  experienced no headaches. Our itinerary was a slow trek. The night we factored in Khumjung gave us an extra day to acclimatise at a slightly higher altitude after our two nights in Namche Bazaar.

Bistari, bistari – slowly, slowly our porter used to say. And we did go slowly and rested regularly. It is not a race. We took time to savour the amazing views. We kept hydrated and didn’t drink alcohol on the trek, not counting my Mohito in Namche on the way back.

Acclimatisation days are important for day walks to a higher altitude. Then you sleep at the same altitude a second night.

Don’t Leave Home For Everest Base Camp Without Diamox

Everyone has different advice about Diamox. This post is how we managed the altitude and the Diamox.

Advice – Diamox is your Friend

People following our trek to Everest Base Camp know the Trainer was also the researcher extraordinaire. I found printed information he had and have linked the sites at the end. Trekking companies often have information too.

Advice from your Doctor

Visit your doctor for advice. A doctor at the clinic we visit had been to Base Camp three times. His advised us to not take the Diamox too early and only if we needed it. He reasoned taking it too early didn’t allow any reserve to fall back on. He suggested if we had problems to take the Diamox, descend, sleep lower and come back up. Time permitting this is a good plan.

Advice before Leaving Kathmandu

The company who organised our porter, Lukla flights and TIMS cards brought our tickets to our hotel. We had met Doma who manages the business in Kathmandu in 2013. This time her husband accompanied her. Lhakpa is usually out  with a group trekking somewhere. His advice was to definitely start taking half a Diamox twice daily at Dingboche (4,000 metres) if we weren’t already taking it.

So what did we do?

The Trainer smokes but he is very fit. He started taking half a Diamox twice a day in Namche Bazaar. I had decided to take our doctor’s advice but changed my mind to take Lhakpa’s advice with his experience of many treks. So what did I do? Altitude can affect your sleep. You momentarily stop breathing and then your body wakes you. A bit scary and annoying. The trainer with his husband hat on suggested taking the Diamox purely to sleep better. I started taking half a tablet twice daily in Phortse (I think) two nights before Dingboche and slept much better. The trade off is Diamox makes you wee more . So read all the info, get medical advice, guide’s advice then do what feels right at the time, all things considered.

Useful Links

Indiana University Health Center – Diamox 

The Travel Doctor – Altitude or Mountain Sickness

Interested in reading my packing list?

Read about our acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar or
our acclimatisation day in Dingboche which was a big walk.

Slip Sliding Away at Everest Base Camp

The Walk You Have To Do

Day Twelve Gorak Shep (5170m) – Everest Base Camp (5300m) – Lobuche

The walk into Everest Base Camp took me by surprise as I hadn’t read the section in the guide book. The track isn’t much of a track, making the walk a little crazy. At the end you just clamber over boulders and slip everywhere. But that’s getting a little ahead.

Almost at Everest Base Camp
Insane trail to Everest Base Camp

The photo shows the middle section of the trail which had lots of boulders and scree. A defined path becomes non-existent, so we headed in a general direction picking our way as best we could. And following our trusty Porter Guide, of course. Because of clambering over boulders, I developed blisters on my toes. Applying band aids before setting out is probably a good idea.

EBC has the reputation of looking very dull. Most trekkers visit it in the afternoon when the mountains can shade the area. We took the advice to visit in the morning and with the light it was quite lovely.

Exploring Everest Base Camp
Large boulder perched on ice above a small stream

Exploring the Everest Base Camp Area
Exploring the Everest Base Camp area
Everest Base Camp Area
Our Porter Guide Basanta exploring
Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp
Tents for the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp

I plan to write a post about the runners and the marathon as they were a feature of our trek. We bumped into them several times along the trail much to the Trainer’s delight.

The Main Everest Base Camp Trail’s highlight is the view of Mt. Everest and the Himalaya Range from the top of the hill Kala Patthar. Not everyone has heard of Kala Patthar. However, Everest Base Camp is famous, so it’s a must do. Or is it? I felt uneasy at Base Camp, being directly underneath where the 2015 avalanche came off Mt. Pumori into Base Camp (or so I was told). If I go back I would climb Kala Patthar twice, climbing it once in the afternoon and again the next morning at sunrise.

The triumphant team of three, lined up to take the obligatory photo by the sign and flags.

We Three at EBC
The Trainer, Me and the Porter with the Yellow Wig at Everest Base Camp
At Everest Base Camp
Climb Every Mountain – The Open Door Singer’s sign at EBC

The sign for my choir had its big moment here. 130 people sang Climb Every Mountain to me before I left Melbourne. It was very special.

The round trip to EBC from Gorak Shep is 8km and takes 6.5 hours. Back at Gorak Shep (the end of the trail and starting point for Kala Patthar and EBC) we had lunch at the lodge where we had slept the night before and left. We headed back down to Lobuche (a 2.5-hour walk) through the long valley that feels like a moonscape. Back in our lodge in Lobuche we ate and went straight to bed. Exhausted but very happy and very pleased with ourselves.

All the training had prepared us well. The trek to Everest Base Camp is more than the walk to that point. It is about the training before hand, getting all the right gear and training with it, the research and preparation and then the trek itself. It is a long journey in many ways, for which you are rewarded in just as many ways.

Now we just had to get back down to Lukla in one piece.

Two Hours to Tengboche

Day Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

I knew that Day 3 of our itinerary, climbing to Namche Bazaar would be strenuous. We trained well and  though it wasn’t easy we managed the climb well.

When we set out two days later for Tengboche, Sam told me it would be a relatively easy day. That proved far from the case. We had a breather at the top of Namche after a steep climb out of the amphitheatre – shaped town. After a few more challenging hills with spectacular views, the track really leveled out. That bit was the honeymoon period.

The trail then descends 570 metres to the river after crossing this, there is a relentless 750 metres 2-3 hours climb (according to the guide book) to Tengboche. I am sure this section would have taken us much longer.

The funniest bit was the signage. Not far from Namche there was sign “2 hours to Tengboche”. Two hours further along the track there was another sign “2 hours to Tengboche” and then about another two hours further on, you guessed it – “2 hours to Tengboche”. Hence the comment on the video and the post title. At one point we stopped to catch our breath. Another trekker was doing the same with his guide waiting for him. When we asked the guide how much longer to the top, what do you think he replied? I couldn’t believe it.

On that day I learned mental preparation is everything. I had heard it said in relation to physical challenges but didn’t relate to it until then. For our next trek to Everest Base Camp we will be prepared for the two hours to Tengboche. In fact we are changing the itinerary to start the trek from Khunde or Khumjung and not Namche. The other tip is don’t believe the estimated trekking time between the towns and definitely don’t believe the signage.

Two Hours to Tengboche

Video

I knew Day Three of our itinerary, climbing to Namche Bazaar was going to be a strenuous. We trained well for the trek and though it wasn’t easy we took the climb in our stride.

When we set out two days later for Tengboche, the Trainer told me it would be a relatively easy day. That proved far from the case. We had a breather at the top of Namche after a steep climb out of the amphitheatre-shaped town.

Namche Bazaar Everest Base Camp Trek

Namche Bazaar

After a few more challenging hills with spectacular views, the track really levelled out. That bit was the honeymoon period.

The trail then descends 570 metres to the river, after crossing this, there is a relentless 750 metres two to three hours climb (according to the guide book) to Tengboche. I am sure this section took us much longer.

The biggest problem was the signage. Not long out of Namche there was sign which said “2 hours to Tengboche”. Two hours further along the track there was another sign “2 hours to Tengboche” and then about another two hours further on, you guessed it – “2 hours to Tengboche”. Hence the comment on the video and the post title. At one point after the third sign, we stopped to catch our breath. Another trekker was doing the same with his guide waiting for him. When we asked the guide how much longer to the top, what do you think he replied? I couldn’t believe it.

That day I learnt mental preparation is everything. I had heard it said in relation to physical challenges but had never really experienced it. For our next trek to Everest Base Camp we will be prepared for the “two hours to Tengboche”. In fact we are changing the itinerary to start the trek from Khunde or Khumjung and not Namche. The other tip is don’t believe the estimated trekking time between the towns and definitely don’t believe the signage.