Sometimes First Impressions of a Place Are Not the Best
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.
An Extra Acclimatisation Night in Khumjung Rewards You with More Than Views.
At Namche Bazaar A Third Night Spent At Around 3790 Metres Helps Acclimatisation
For our second trek to Everest Base Camp and third trek to Gokyo and over Cho La Pass we stayed in Khumjung (3790 metres) in addition to the two nights spent in Namche Bazaar (3440 metres or 11,286 feet at its low point). We believe a third night at that similar altitude has helped with our altitude acclimatisation on two of our three treks. And. You will help get to EBC feeling great. Technically on this trip we were going to Gokyo Ri but we are talking altitude which is much the same.
Although our three treks to the Khumbu region have been “independently”. The first time totally without a porter/ guide, which we wouldn’t do again. It is better to have some form of local support and it enriches your trip having someone local with you. The second and third treks we took a porter/ guide, making it just the three of us, there are a few trekking companies that do a similar itinerary around this altitude, that is an extra day in Khumjung – but you have to search for them.
Three photos of a Stupa in Khumjung taken from different directions and over five years. Photos taken in December 2013, the end of September 2015, two earthquakes later and in September 2018.
There is a beautiful mani wall along the walk in from Namche Bazaar.
I assume the cracks are from the second earthquake on May 12 2015. The small boy in the photo has his back pack on and had just come out from the Edmund Hillary School, the biggest school in the Khumjung.
And finally in September 2018 the repaired stupa in Khumjung but the eyes and face are not finished in this photo. The open space in front of the stupa to the right of the mani wall is the play area for the Sir Edmund Hillary School. The wall around the school has been repaired as well. That is me walking in with the red jacket and our porter guide on my left. As for most of the photos the Trainer (my husband) was taking the photo.
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.
Was actually a descent of 110 metres. In a way acclimatisation around the Namche Bazaar and Khumjung altitude was a total of four nights by staying at Phortse.
Phortse is also referred to as Phortse Tenga and Phortse Thanga (local spelling)
The clouds cleared in the morning and we took some video and photos before we left the village of Khumjung while we still had mountain views. We had seen the spectacular views above the town on our 2013 EBC trek when we were there. The date was the 30 November for people wanting to know what the weather and the all important views are like at different times of the year.
Mount Khumbila is the larger brown mountain to my right.
Many treks go from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche possibly because some parts of the trail to Phortse are very narrow and may not be suitable for lots of trekkers. So the trail to Phortse was very quiet and we saw hardly anyone going in either direction.
Unfortunately, it was very cloudy most of the day so we missed some spectacular views. The walk up to Phortse after crossing over the river through rhododendron forests was lovely (even though they weren’t flowering).
Phortse is a very steep town so the walk up to the monastery at the top of the village was quite a walk. The village grows wheat and buckwheat. We saw the Rock Climbing Academy being built which will be fabulous when it is completed. The woman who owned the lodge we stayed at was lovely. I remarked on the coriander she was picking in her garden and she asked me if I liked it. To which I replied yes. So, she put it in the momos I ordered for dinner. They were the best I had eaten. Over dinner we had some Nepalese and English lessons with Basanta and ‘Nepal on a Shoestring’. We were the only guests and the only trekkers in the town. We had our first shower since leaving Kathmandu.
Amazing seeing the towns perched on the hills from a distance
The cloud really made these trees look beautiful and very moody.
Namche Bazaar 3420 – Khumjung 3780 metres 2.5 hours walk
Khumjung is the largest town in the Khumbu region.
Walking into Khumjung
The climb out of Namche is steep and we were in thick cloud. We could not see very far but sounds travelled up the hill to us – the chinking sound of the stone masons and the anthem and then music for a fitness program from the school below. I practiced my newly learnt Tashi Dele greeting, much to the delight of the Sherpas passing us. Possibly they were going down to prepare for the market the following day. The large market on the Saturday is very famous and sadly as we had changed our itinerary and we would miss it. Perhaps next time.
The landscape changes and reminds me of the moors in Scotland. The thick cloud made me focus on the low heath like plants. Spider webs bejewelled with water droplets reminded me not to forget the beauty at the ground level. Consequently, new Nepalese words included putali (butterfly), makura (spider) and makura zal (spiderweb).
I was keen to see that the school built by Edmund Hillary had not been badly damaged by the earth quake which had affected Khumjung. I was pleased to walk into the town and past the school just as the children finished their half day Friday. Sadly, though the gompa near the school had been damaged.
Sadly the earthquake damaged the stupa at Khumjung
We found a lodge, organised our room and had lunch. Later we walked to the town’s monastery and home of the famous Yeti skull (Wikipedia). The monastery was quite beautiful and worth the visit.
We were the only guests in the lodge and after our dhal bhat we watched a video about the life of Hillary.
We woke in cloud, walked straight up out of Namche in cloud and went to sleep in cloud.