Donkey Central at Phakding – Chuk Chuk – Video

Donkeys on the trail to EBC

Keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. CHUK!

Rule Number Two: Give Way to the donkeys too.

I posted this video on Facebook on our first trek in November December 2013. It was taken on my iphone and shows the number of donkeys on the trail and why you don’t want to be on the bridge at the same time as donkey herd. Continue reading

Life Is Great in Retrospect

Why the Trainer and I turned back before Everest Base Camp in 2013.We trained more than when we made it in 2015 . We were fit enough. So why didn’t we make it ?

The Background Story

The sport teacher at work took an interest in my EBC training. One Monday morning he asked how it was going. I replied well but pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.

The colleague I share an office  with came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash, had spent time in hospital and could have died. I made an doctor’s appointment for the afternoon.

The doctor  looked at the rash on both my ankles said it wasn’t Cellulitis and agreed it was probably caused by my trekking socks. My bamboo socks. He told me if the rash changed in any way to come straight back.

The rash cleared up and some months later and the trainer and I left for Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. With the same bamboo socks. I didn’t really think about not taking them. They hadn’t caused anymore problems. Life is great in retrospect.

Day  Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

On the trek to Tengboche the rash returned with vengeance caused no doubt by the eight hour walk that day and the dusty trail. And the socks. However it was a lot  was redder than it had been back home and coming up over the the sock line. I was a bit panicky.

It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon when we arrived in Tengboche. A lot of the lodges were closed as it was getting late in a quiet season. We weren’t that thrilled with the accommodation and the shared toilet arrangement which we had managed to avoid until then. It was turning out to being not such a great day.

Tengboche Everest Base Camp Trek

Tengboche from the monastery looking cold and dark with sun setting

Sunset on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Shadows and the sun setting on the Lhotse – Nuptse ridge from Tengboche

Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche

The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. She agreed with me the rash looked like it was caused by my socks and told me if it got worse or started to feel hot to start taking the broad spectrum antibiotics and ring for a helicopter.

I was a bit panicked at this comment given we were trekking without a guide or porter. The Trainer tried to calm me down. We walked to Pangboche a lovely walk and found a lodge fairly early. I spent some time trying to find out how we would call a helicopter without much luck. We had showers which made the day seem a bit better. During the night I started the antibiotics because my leg felt hot.

Pangboche, Everest Base Camp Trek

The next morning the Trainer suggested we walk to Shomare have a coffee and then decide whether to go on or not. And yes, we had that drink and decided to turn back.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Shomare. Our last stop before turning back

Life is great in retrospect I should not have taken the bamboo socks to Nepal, bought some topical cream, investigated the rash more on coming home but I didn’t.

Lessons Learnt

When we returned home I heard a lot about bamboo socks not being good for trekking. They retained moisture instead of wicking the moisture away. The socks were banished from my sock drawer forever. I had actually had been recommended the socks in a camping store. In retrospect don’t buy hiking gear in a camping gear shop. I recommend finding a hiking gear shop that employs staff with lots of trekking experience.

I bought woolen socks for our second trip. Trained with them and packed more pairs.

Ironically I got the rash again on the second trek. And on the first day. Just a tiny bit at first and with woolen socks. I applied the cream I brought and raised my legs. By the end of the trek the rash was being annoying.

Rash on ankle

The rash back in Kathmandu after the second trek in 2015.

The type of socks you wear trekking are really important. I was very excited to find a post devoted entirely to socks in my travels around the blogosphere. Here it is

Links to related posts

Don’t be put off Tengboche. It is a hard days trek and being mentally prepared will help.

We trekked back through Tengboche on our way back from Everest Base Camp. It seemed like a much nicer place in the middle of the day with the sun shining. We spent some time there, watching marathon runners coming through and taking photographs. We still haven’t seen inside the temple to we might just have to go back.

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche Monastery

 

Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?

My You Tube of Walking to Tengboche.

More photos of the walk from Namche to Tengboche (2013)  

Other posts that may interest you

Acclimatisation Days

What to pack

25 Reasons to Trek to Nepal  

How hard is it to trek to Everest Base Camp ?

Our trek itineraries in 2013 and in 2015

Our Experience on Diamox

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Exploring Monjo

Exploring Monjo

 

Our lodge in Monjo had an outside area with tables in the sun and an orchard out the back, growing apples of course.

Monjo Guest House EBC Trek

A relaxing place to sit in the sun at the Monjo Guest House

As it was an easy walk to Monjo and after a hot shower we went for a short walk through the village to take some photos.

View of Kumbila Peak Monjo

View of Kumbila Peak from Monjo

Prayer Stones in Nepal

Om Mani Padme Hum Prayer stones

Meal for two at Monjo Guest House

Meal for two at Monjo Guest House

 

 

Day 3 Monjo to Namche Bazaar

Day 3 The Big Day

In a nutshell – one very high bridge and one big mountain.

Most treks do Phakding to Namche Bazaar on day two. Before we left Australia, the Trainer  decided to add a day to our itinerary and walk to Namche Bazaar on Day 3 instead.We had time and it would be easier on our legs and lungs. I was happy for him to do all the research and planning and trusted his judgement. From my minimal research and a friend’s first hand experience I knew the infamous climb to Namche Bazaar was a hard one. The friend had trekked with  group and had been one of the earliest to arrive. He sat in a cafe and watched others from his group walk into the town. One very tough character from their group finally arrived, absolutely exhausted. He came up to my friend with tears in his eyes, hugged him and said that it had been the hardest day of his life. So when we set out from the tea house in Monjo I was mentally prepared and planned to take it slowly.

Just outside of Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmantha National Park the checkpoint where Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card details are recorded.

The Sagarmantha National Park entrance outside Monjo

The Sagarmantha National Park entrance outside Monjo

I realised I wasn’t quite up to the local speed when a woman who looked 80 passed me with a load of 40 kilos of cabbages on her back.

The bridge to Jorsale festooned with prayer flags. on the way to Namche Bazaar.

The bridge to Jorsale festooned with prayer flags

In front two bridges over the Dudh Kosi gorge

A rest before the climb to the higher bridge at the Dudh Kosi Gorge and famous bridge.

Made It off the highest scary bridge

Almost off the high bridge across the Dudh Kosi Gorge

Fruit sellers on the Everest Base Camp trail on the climb to Namche Bazaar.

Fruit sellers on the climb to Namche Bazaar

One of the rewards of a strenous day's climb.

A reward of a strenuous day’s climb – the first view of Everest

Yes that is the trail around the mountain.

The trail around the mountain

Everest Base Camp Trek

The infamous climb to Namche Bazaar almost finished

Day 2 Phakding to Monjo

Phakding to Monjo Day Two Trek to Everest Base Camp

Follow the Pumpkin Coloured Backpack

This day was a short walk. For many trekking tours Day 2 is Phakding to Namche Bazaar. The climb to Namche Bazaar is a big day so the Trainer added a day to our itinerary so we didn’t need to rush and allow time to acclimatise to the altitude. Groups leaving our lodge for Namche a good hour before us. Setting out we looked forward to a leisurely day.

Phakding EBC Trek

Before leaving Melbourne our plans to trek the Everest Base Camp by ourselves and without a guide or porter had a few people concerned. Me as well. The Trainer explained to my mother before we left that trekking the trail is not like trekking a in remote location. He explained the trail is through villages with small tea houses dotted all the way, with lots of people trekking, porters and Nepalis going about their daily business including school kids walking to school. We did in fact see many children walking to school along the trail. Small children in small groups without adults running to school had my  herd mother radar working on overdrive at times.

Everest Base Camp

Kids walking to school

 
Phakding to Monjo

Vegetable gardens and stone walls line the trail through many villages. Note the Donkey train coming up the path.

Phakding to Monjo

Different types of prayer wheels are all along the trail. The important thing to remember is to turn them clockwise.

Bridge across Dudh Kosi

Cable  hanging bridge across the Dudh Kosi river after Benkar. I got off the bridges as quickly as possible.

 

Crossing the river Phakding to Monjo

Donkey trains on trek were a fascination for me. Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow ones moving while waiting on the sidelines.

Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. Chuk Chuk!

Day 1 Lukla to Phakding

Our 2013 Trek to Everest Base Camp

The EBC trek. Me the over 50s anxious woman and her husband “The Trainer” starting out from Lukla. Well prepared newbies on the trail.

Before our 2013 Everest Base Camp trek training and preparation, videos and photos helped get an idea of what the trail is like. A photo I found on Pinterest  made me realise the need for step training. The photo below is not what I found, but how I found the trail!

However the guide book and  The Trainer’s overview of the first day’s walk to Phakding didn’t quite match up with the experience. A two hour easy down hill walk said the guide book. The Trainer had done all the research and his words echoed the book. In the next few days I discovered easy and downhill are relative and how important mental  preparation is.

EBC Trek Trail What I Learnt on Day One

Before we started out for Phakding my idea of downhill was downhill – not up hill and down hill in a general down hill direction. You can see what I mean here with a elevation profile chart of Lukla to Phakding. There are some uphill sections.

It took us about four and half hours walking and I thought we would never get to Phakding. From experience trekking in the Anna Purna region years ago, the Trainer had forewarned me the trail would be uneven and rocky. He had done a great job as personal trainer of designing  our training to prepare us for this. The track varied incredibly on the first day from cobblestones in Lukla,  to meandering flat paths, to rocky steps and very rocky sections. In the scheme of things Lukla to Phakding is an easy day and after the trek we knew to double the time needed in one guide book. A second guide  book we bought in Kathmandu has a handy basic info table with more realistic times in the time usually taken.

The Everest Base Camp trail goes through small villages and is narrow in parts. Shared by trekkers, porters, pack animals (yaks, donkeys and horses) and kids on their way to school it can be busy. I selected the photos to show how the track varies on the first day.

EBC Trek Walking out of Lukla

That’s me walking out of Lukla feeling very much the Newbie.

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp Trek

One of the many villages and tea houses along the trail.

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp Trek

That first bridge … always a bit scary

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp trek

At this spot on the way back down my Nepalese Mobile rang…..so weird

Here is the link to one of the guide book we like we bought in Nepal. Trekking in Nepal’s Everest Region by Milestone Books. The times usually taken between places you stay.

 

 

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.

Shomare Nepal

Shomare 4040 metres

This is the photo of the last place we reached before we turned around from our trek to Everest Base Camp in 2013. A small “restaurant” on what you would call the outskirts of town. We had a coffee and made a joint decision to turn back. It seemed the right thing to do considering the rash creeping up both my legs.

Ever since reaching Everest Base Camp has felt like unfinished business. We had done a couple of the really hard days and we only had another 23.7 kilometres to get to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar. Certainly it was such a fantastic experience we wanted to do it again.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Somare. Our last stop before turning back

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.

 

Keep to the Mountain Side

Rule number one of the mountain. Stick to the mountain side when animals are on the trail.

This is our little video and the first youtube I have made.

Lukla | Nepal’s Infamous Airport

Day One Kathmandu to Lukla

People who have trekked to Everest Base Camp may forget some of the names of villages along the trail but are unlikely to forget the name Lukla. Unless you opt for the five-day hike in from Jiri, Lukla is the start of the trek to Everest Base Camp. Google Lukla and “air crash” appears near the top of the key words search list. “Flying into Lukla” was on the top of my Why I Don’t Want to Trek to Everest Base Camp list. Continue reading

‘Remember It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination’

Quote

Namche to Tengboche

Approaching some tricky steps …

This part of the Everest Base Camp trek trail is just out of Namche Bazaar on the way to Tengboche. Worth all the effort with another amazing view just around the corner. Easier without a pack and with Porter. This trek we did not take a porter. But I had my trusty walking sticks. Don’t leave home without them if you are trekking in Nepal. Well I could change that and say don’t leave Kathmandu without them. You can buy them cheaply there. However if you do that it might mean you haven’t trained with them. You do have very achy arms and shoulders when you first get used to them.

Walking sticks or trekking poles are a good investment. They really do help especially going downhill they lessen the impact on your knees. The will make your trek to Everest Base Camp experience much more enjoyable.

Worth all the effort with another amazing view just around the corner.

Ama Dablam from the Everest Base trek

Ama Dablam between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche