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

All Things Yak on the EBC Track

IMG_0682

Meeting Yaks on the Track

On the Everest Base Camp trek you might see mountain goats, magnificent eagles and other beautiful birds but the yaks were my favourite along the trail.

These hardworking animals are the delivery vans on the EBC trail. There are no roads. Everything goes up and down on the back of a donkey, yak or a porter.

yak

Yaks between Shomare adn Digboche

The First Rule of the Track – Stand Aside for Yaks

I loved the sound of the yak bells as they approached. Hearing the bells is a signal to find somewhere safe to stand on the mountain side and wait while they pass. The first rule of the track. If you are caught standing on the outside of the path you risk being knocked off the side of the mountain. The baby yak in the video had his own plans about which path he would take.

IMG_0727

The walled sections of grassland above are yak pastures between Shomare and Dingboche. Not only do these wonderful animals carry packs and food up the trail they also provide fuel. The woman was collecting dung from the yak pasture to dry to use for cooking and heat.

IMG_0730

IMG_0874

A young girl resting with her basket full of yak dung behind her.

Shop front Everest Base Camp Trail

Yaks, well really the naks which are the females, provide milk which in turn is made into cheese which you probably will find on top of your pizzas on the trek.

IMG_0999

This guy just would not move. I really think he wanted his photo taken. Say Yak Cheese!

Many travel experiences provide possibilities of  interactions with animals, wild ones if you are lucky.

Some animal travel memories of mine are seals on Kangaroo Island when I was a child, monkeys in Bali, passaperos (dog walkers) and their packs of dogs in Buenos Aires, llamas in Argentina and a day spent riding camels in the desert in Rajasthan. But hundreds of dolphins in the mouth of the Gambia River was probably my most magic wildlife experience. It took us totally by surprise and was amazing. Do you have any special memories of animal encounters while you traveled?

Other I things I loved on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Unbelievably most of the photos and the video show yaks without loads! Which means they were on return journeys. The photos were taken in 2015 when the season was extremely slow after the earthquakes. I’ll have to get a good full load photo next time.

 

Save

Simple Not Basic

A Post about Food on the EBC Trek Becomes More. Or Is it Less?

There is a difference between basic and simple. Especially when you are traveling.

Recently I posted about accommodation on the EBC trek being basic. A comment from a fellow blogger (thanks Miriam) made me rethink how I had labelled  the accommodation. It is the very fact the Everest Base Camp Trek is basic, makes it so good. Basic can be seen as a negative.  So simple, not basic, is a better word to use. Because it is the simplicity of the EBC trek that makes it so special.

Gorak Shep the end of the Everest Base Camp trek
Walking into Gorak Shep the end of the Everest Base Camp Trek

The simplicity of the accommodation, the simple food, the every day simple routine. The early to bed, early to rise. Get up, get dressed, eat,  leave. Which way to go? Up or down. Maps to consult? No, not really, there is one path. Just like a pilgrimage, you know where you are going and why. The people you meet, the common quest, the simplicity of the destination but the challenge of getting there make it special. A quest so well rewarded.

No phone calls, television, emails and internet access is limited. All put into perspective in the big landscape or simple path you are on. Up or down.

And yes,  simple meals too. This simple meal below in  simple surroundings is one I remember well. A bowl of hot simple potato soup made with the broth and grated potatoes. A well earned bowl of soup after a hard steep walk out of Namche Bazaar and a 600 metre trek down hill to the river to Phunki Tenga.  Three hours plus of a hard work, it was a meal well earned.  A simple meal, simple surroundings the roar of the river, the sound of the yak bells as the yaks pass. Simple stunning beauty all around.

Potato soup at Phunki Tenga at 3250metres EBC Trek trail

So back to the food, yes the food is simple. But it is good. It is organically grown along the track and cooked in a simple kitchen.

Vegetables growing in the Khumbu

Food in a Namche Bazaar lodge

A meal in Namche Bazaar above.

Potato Soup Nepal

This bowl of potato soup was al fresco at Debouche on the trail down. In a stunning landscape. How much simpler and more beautiful can you get?

December 2013

The umbrellas above,  weren’t the norm. The Sherpa stew was.

Vegetables growing on the EBC Trail

Simple, but addictive. Everest Base Camp Trek too simple to say no.

Need more convincing?  25 Reasons to Trek To Everest Base Camp

Trekking to Everest Base Camp ? Are you up to it?

Drying Hair and Potatoes in the Khumbu: Behind the Scenes EBC Trek

Image

Drying potatoes in the sun in Pangboche Nepal

Pangboche, Everest Base Camp Trail, December 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Earth, Dingboche Ridge-top, Nepal

Image

A Favourite Day on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Dingboche Ridge-top Everest Base Camp Trek

To celebrate Earth Day April 22

Read about our Acclimatisation Walk to Dingboche Ridge-top probably one of my favourite days on our trek.

Or the walk into Dingboche or the walk out to Lobuche.

Daily Post: Earth Photo Challenge

Recharging in Nepal

Resting Spots Along the Trail to Everest Base Camp

A post about the porters on my Everest Base Camp Trek blog is long overdue. The Daily Post Daily Prompt Recharge has given me a perfect launching point.

Trekking through the Khumbu you see resting points for porters to unload, rest and recharge. These resting spots are at a height so the porters can easily unload and reload onto their backs without having to lift their load from the ground. Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC TrekThe photo shows the typical oversized baskets called a doko used by porters. The T-shaped wooden walking stick at the bottom left of the screen is called a tokma. Continue reading

What, No Mirror ?

IMG_1056

Yes I agree this is not a brilliant photo. But it is the only oneĀ fromĀ 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

Keeping Watch in Khumjung

Stupa at Khumjung in the Khumbu region of Nepal

Eyes peeping out from the yellow fringe seem sad against the grey cloudy backdrop. Despite being badly cracked from the 2015 earthquake, the stupa still stands sentinel at the end of the main path into Khumjung and watching over the Sir Edmund Hillary School.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eyes/

Our Porter Guide

He met us at the baggage collection at Lukla airport. After a cup of tea and sorting our packs at the Paradise Lodge we were ready. He tied our bags together with his ropes, positioned the load on his head and led us out of Lukla, stopping every now and then to check we were following.

Consulting the map

Consulting the map

At first from his lack of response to our questions and attempts at conversation I thought he had limited English. But as he tuned in to our accents and we started to get to know each other, he spoke more.

On the second day he seemed a bit more relaxed and he started to teach us some Nepalese words. Jum jum, let’s go and appropriately on the hard climb to Namche Bazaar bistari bistari, slowly slowly. Jokingly he taught us quickly quickly. When we climbed to Khumjung the thick cloud forced my focus to my feet and the spider webs covered in dewdrops, he told me the words for spider and spider webs too.

Alpine flower Solukhumbu

Dew on spider webs

Familiar with the trail, he pointed out things I would never have seen without him. He pointed out birds and bee hives hanging in the crevices of rocks on the other side of the river. Sometimes he sang his Nepali songs. We watched fascinated by his animated conversations with others along the track and picked up his sense of humour and friendly nature.

At the end of the day when I wrote in my small diary, he reminded me of the things we had seen on the trail. He spelt out the Nepalese words I had learnt during the day and I helped him with some new English words in our guide books.

In Dingboche, surrounded by magnificent mountains he taught me their names. He helped while I practiced naming them in order, like a child reciting their abc, learning the Himalayan range spread before me.

Many times we waited together for donkeys and yaks to pass. Once I was caught in a tight spot and I turned away when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately Basanta was watching. I turned around in time to see him pushing a donkey away from me. If he hadn’t of done this the donkey’s side load would have pushed me over the small wall.

He pulled me up the huge black boulders to reach the top of Kala Pattar. Took photos of us together and celebrated with us at Everest Base Camp.

At Everest Base Camp

He called me Louise, sometimes jokingly Mom and sometimes Didi – Big Sister.

Sometimes he led. Sometimes he followed. And sometimes we walked side by side.

Khumjung Village Everest Base Camp Trek

Porters climbing up to the bridge to Namche Bazaar

Dingboche to Dughla Everest Base Camp Trek

On the last day, walking back to Lukla a woman coming the other way silently pointed at the porter right behind me as if she thought I needed to move aside and let him pass. Yes I know, I thought, he is my porter and he has been close by for sixteen days. He has carried our load making our trek to Base Camp easier. He guided, pointed things out and watched out for us. He was our companion, Nepalese friend and shared his country with us. Thank you Basanta.

The porter guide and me

Saying goodbye at the Paradise Lodge in Lukla

Travel Makes Us Modest

Image

Travel makes us modest,
you see what a tiny place
you occupy in the world.

Gustave Flaubert

Acclimatisation Walk on Dingboche Ridgetop

Acclimatisation Walk on Dingboche Ridge-Top

I could not agree more Gustave.

Naming Mountains Above Dingboche

Video

The Video

One reason why you should take a guide or porter guide with you…

…they teach you all the names of mountains ! But there are lots more reasons…

See the post about The Porter

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