Day 6 to Gokyo – Khumjung to Mongla

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Sometimes First Impressions of a Place Are Not the Best

Mongla stupa September 2018
The small settlement of Mongla with its newly painted stupa.

The Sherpa woman was squatting on the side of the trail on the path looking over the edge of the hill. Yelling. She wasn’t hysterical but she was very animated. Nepalese people are very calm and yelling just doesn’t fit with their character. They are very accepting and you don’t see them getting angry. As we got closer I could see she was yelling into her mobile phone. Bad reception perhaps? Finally we were close enough to see the problem. The woman was yelling at two teenage girls way down on the slope, maybe one of the girls was on the other end of the phone, although she could probably have her heard without the phone. She was directing them to round up a yak who was eating in a cultivated area where it obviously should not have been. The young girls where having some difficulty catching the yak because of the slope. It was quite funny but then again it wasn’t.

Mongla the Second Time Around

We were almost into the very small village when we witnessed the escaped yak scene and the scene is seared into my memory.

Mongla on the hill September 2018
the view of the small village of Mongla from the Khumjung side

When my husband, The Trainer was planning our itinerary for our 2018 trek to Gokyo he decided we should stay in Mongla if we were going to stick with our altitude rule. Before we left Australia when he told me would be staying the night I was unimpressed. In 2015 on our trek to EBC we had stopped for a breather and a cup of tea and the view in Mongla before walking down to the river and across and up to Phortse. I clearly remember the falling down stupa, the tiniest of places, no lodge of any significance that I would want to stay in and a lot of fog.

Mongla in cloud late september 2015

The Trainer who is the researcher for our treks knew we were on a point on the mountain path where there should be a good view. We had a cup of tea, resting and waiting for the cloud to lift. But the weather was not in our favour and would not be for a few more days.

Fast forward three years to 2018 and although also the end of September and the tail end of the rainy season, we were much luckier with the weather. It was a beautiful clear day and we had a view. And is often the case when you travel, the weather, how well you are feeling and who you meet can influence how you feel about a place you are visiting. And we really enjoyed our night in small Mongla.

We checked out the two of the four lodges on the small point and decided on Snow Land Lodge behind the restored and newly painted stupa. The eyes hadn’t been painted in properly yet, they were still covered in plastic, I’m not sure why.

A room with our own bathroom is always our preference but the lodge didn’t have one. As we were the only people in our section of the building we had exclusive use of the shower and toilet for the stay. With the exception of Namche, I had one of the few showers I had on the trek here, after we arrived.

We turned out to be the only people staying the night apart from a couple from Indonesia who arrived after us.

We met them as they arrived, on their return journey from having climbed Renjo Pass, feeling tired but also glad they had managed the climb. We ate with them in the dining room that evening. The Trainer was learning Indonesian at university so he was pleased that he could practice his Indonesian. I stuck with talking in English and also learning some more Nepalese from our porter guide Dilip.

The walk from Khumjung to Mongla

The weather had made for great walk we had seen some lovely green valleys and spied a few eagles or vultures riding the thermals.

Trekking Khumjung for mongla september 2018
Leaving Khumjung on a perfect morning. and becasue we had slept at the top of Khumjung the bonus was we didn’t have a huge climb to get out. We had done the hard climb up the day before.
The growth was green with touches of red
View from trail from Khumjung to Mongla september 2018
A lodge it would seem in the middle of “nowhere”
Large birds flying overhead.

Again we were thankful for the amount of stair training we had factored into our training before we left Australia because we had quite a few steep lots of stairs to navigate on this part of the track. What am I talking about. They are everywhere along the track.

Stairs on the Everest Base Camp trail trek
Always celebrate at the top of a good staircase! You made it.

Oh and that naughty yak here was after he meandered up and tried to sneek through the village …

The feature photo in the header is the view setting out the next morning of Phortse on the other side of the valley. A pretty perfect view, in my opinion. The small settlement of Mongla was worth the second visit.

Have you visited somewhere you were unimpressed but changed your opinion when you revisited ?

Mental Preparation and Climbing Slowly to Namche Bazaar is Key to a Successful EBC Trek

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Day Two A Shorter Walk from Monjo to Namche Bazaar

People planning to trek to Everest Base Camp read about the steep 600 metre climb to Namche Bazaar after crossing the high bridge over the Dudh Kosi river and gorge.

why you need to climb to Namche bazaar slowly

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Confessions of a Scaredy Cat on Top of Cho La Pass

Is Crossing Cho La Pass Dangerous?

On top of Chol La Pass with the Porter Guide, Nepal

You bet it is.That’s me with the worried look on my face on top of Cho La Pass (5368metres / 17,611 feet). I’d made it to the top with a lot of help from our porter guide, I was still anxious. And scared. All I wanted was to get off the top and safely to our lodge in Dzongla for the night before weather set in. I could include a bucket load of expletives here but I haven’t, I’ll just let you imagine them. Lots of them.

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Thank You For Everest

To My Valentine Trainer

We met in Egypt. And had four days together. He made me laugh, something clicked and there was that spark. We talked about me visiting him in Milan but as a teacher it had to be the school holidays and it seemed way too long off. We exchanged details and said goodbye.

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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 

Maybe you’ve just returned from hiking to spectacular Machu Picchu and are keen to try the Everest Base Camp trek. Or you’ve been thinking about it for years but you know next to nothing about it, this post is for you.

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

Basic Points About the EBC Region when you know absolutely nothing

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We’re Off for to Gokyo for Trek Number 3 in Nepal

We’re off to Trek in Nepal. Again.

Above Dingboche Everest Base Camp trek
Above Dingboche Everest Base Camp trek

Yes, I am in love. In love with the Nepalese landscapes and with the simplicity of the trekking in Nepal. A colleague asked me what’s the attraction with Nepal.

Why Go to Trek In Nepal?

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Things You Should Know about Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp
Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp

If someone says that they are trekking to EBC it doesn’t mean they have to sleep in a tent or are intending to climb Mount Everest.

It is not normal walking and Diamox is the key to managing altitude. Make sure you have it an I would tend to follow the trekking guides’ recommendation, as in experienced guides who lead treks on a regular basis. A slow trek is key to getting there without be sick. Altitude headaches can be really horrible. I’ve heard and read. We didn’t have any.

about Kathmandu, trekking to EBC and Nepal in general.

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Accommodation and Food on The EBC Trek

Eat, Heat, Recharge and Sleep on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

The Shangrilla Lodge in Phakding in 2015. We stayed here on the first night and the second last nights of Everest Base Camp trek.

Our First Lodge Experience

I remembered the lodge pictured above from our first 2013 trek. We didn’t stay there then. Our flight from Kathmandu to Lukla was delayed about four hours due to fog. We were trekking solo, without a guide or porter and had no accommodation booked.

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What, No Mirror ?

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Yes I agree this is not a brilliant photo. But it is the only one from our Everest Base Camp trek with a reflection. And there were no mirrors either and I could have done with one of those. The EBC Trek equals bad hair days. I’m not sure which is better long hair or short.

Photos of reflections in water are rare on the EBC trek . The rivers are running too fast Continue reading

Day Fifteen Namche Bazaar to Phakding 2015 Trek

Savouring the Last Days of the Trail

From Lodge to Lodge to Lodge

Lodge at Namche Bazaar

Leaving our lodge in Namche Bazaar was a bit sad. We had stayed there four times and a total of six nights with the acclimatisation days. It was in the middle of Namche, the owners and staff were lovely, the menu and food good and the hot showers wonderful.

Namche Bazaar and the Kwangde Range

Leaving Namche Bazaar and the Kwangde Range

Not long after we started out, Basanta our porter guide pointed out a Danfe or Danphe Nepal’s national bird, a beautiful large black pheasant with a metallic green head and a chestnut tail.

First and last view of Everest
First and last view of Everest
Lower suspension bridge over the Dudh Khosi taken from the higher bridge
Lower suspension bridge over the Dudh Khosi Gorge

We had our last look of Everest at the resting spot on the way down. We crossed the high bridge again across the Dudh Khosi gorge. The fourth time over it I was still glad to get off however The Trainer stands in the middle looking over at the view.

Back down on the old river bed we posed  for a photo together and watched some of the porters with huge loads of building materials slowly make their way up to cross the bridge.

The suspension bridges across to Namche Bazaar
The trainer and me heading back down to Lukla

We stopped at Monjo Lodge where we had stayed on the first trek and another place that I felt a connection to. Waiting for lunch in the garden in the sun we took some more happy snaps feeling relaxed, fit and happy. The Trainer, yes, my husband Sam looked really relaxed in the photos, his job was done. His training and planning had got us up and back without mishap. Following the no more than 300 metres increase in altitude a night had been a key factor I am sure.

Porters carrying building materials up the trail

Porters carrying building materials up the trail

Garden at Monjo Lodge Everest BAse Camp trek

Waiting for lunch in the garden at Monjo Lodge

Lodge in Phakding EBC trail

The lodge we stayed in Phakding on the way up and on the way down

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Day Fourteen Pangboche to Namche Bazaar 2015 Trek

One Trek and One Marathon

The trainer was very excited about finally seeing the marathon runners who had started early that morning from Everest Base Camp running past, all of us on our way to Namche Bazaar. The event was originally in May but was rescheduled to the beginning of October after the earthquakes.

We left our lodge at Pangboche as doctors prepared the medical check point and lodge staff the water bottles.

View of Tengboche in the Middle Distance

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The Temple Gate in Tengboche (Thyanboche)

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A half marathon runner who started at Dingboche at the Tengboche check point

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The following photos show the track. The steep uphill climb (600m) had nearly killed me on our 2013 trek.  Coming back down isn’t easy either.  It can impact on your knees which is why I chose to use trekking poles. The steep track with lots of small loose rocks can be slippery so the only way to go is slowly.

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That’s me picking my way down with the trekking poles.

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Runners taking their time

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The trail from a distance… crazy

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Sanasa with women selling jewellery

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The Finishing Point at Namche Bazaar

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Namche Bazaar from Above

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The view of Namche Bazaar from above. I had my sights set on the red roofed lodge in the middle, right …. which for me meant our favourite lodge, our own bathroom and a hot shower at last.

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Cafe Danphe Bar named after the National Bird of Nepal

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We had a drink at Café Danphe Bar to celebrate our successful, wonderful trek to Everest Base Camp. Huddled together in the bar we looked at all the photos Sam had taken.  For the best of an hour I sat with tears streaming down my face, hardly able to believe the photos of the magical places we had just been.

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Day Eleven – Lobuche to Gorak Shep and Climbing Kala Pattar

Everest Above Our Heads and Base Camp at Our Feet

EBC Trekkers standing on Kala Patthar in front of Mount Everest and above Everest Base Camp
The trainer, me and that yellow wig with Everest above our heads and Base Camp at our feet.

The Million Dollar View from Kala Pattar

And the Trainer’s Last Words

Day Eleven – Lobuche to Gorak Shep and climbing Kala Pattar (5545m)

People who have been to Everest Base Camp or have researched the trek know the highlight of the trek is not Base Camp but is the climb to Kala Pattar above Gorak Shep to view Mount Everest from the closest and highest viewpoint on the main EBC Trail. Many trekkers climb the hill in the dark to see the sun rise on Everest or in the evening to see the sun set. Climbing in the afternoon after first arriving in Gorak Shep and an early lunch is also an option.

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Day Nine Dingboche to Dughla

Day Nine – Dingboche to Dughlia     30 September 2015

Above Periche Between Dingboche and Dughla
Between Dingboche and Dughla

We retraced our steps into the town for the initial part of the walk and then took a trail along the side of the hills past yak pastures and herders’ huts. A few big trekking groups were walking out probably groups doing the trail in fewer days along the main trail.

It was great walk across flat plains, slowly going uphill with great views of Periche below. On the way we saw some teenagers carrying large baskets of dung and Basanta had an animated conversation with them.

After we arrived at Dughla we decided to stay at the Yak Lodge. One of only two lodges there which is probably why people don’t stop there. We had lunch in the sun with the beautiful blue skies and watched as trekkers came down from Gorak Shep. We met the group who had flown on the same flight into Lukla with us including a mother and daughter team from Queensland who flew on the same flight from Kuala Lumpur.

After a rest we walked up behind the lodges for a view of Dughla Lake which was almost completely hidden from view at the lodges. It was a two hour walk and wasn’t really a trail so we picked our way carefully to a good sitting spot. There were lots of juniper bushes growing on the hills. My wind jacket protected me from the cold wind which is why you should pack one even if it is a dry season.

Lake near Dughla Nepal

We stayed at Dughla to make sure we stuck to the rule of not ascending more than 300 metres. We didn’t want to risk altitude sickness and not make EBC.