Heading Out for Everest Base Camp – Day One Lukla to Phakding

Walking out of Lukla

trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot  2. a journey or stage, esp by ox wagon            3. make a trek  – trekker 

Saying Goodbye in Melbourne

In September 2015 my husband and I flew to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. At the departure hall at Melbourne Airport saying goodbyes to our adult daughters,  the eldest hugged her father and said

                          “Dad, go easy on Mum remember it’s her holiday too.”  She turned                                      to me and said “Mum, ….man up.”

And with that sage advice… Continue reading

Leaving Lukla

Day Seventeen Lukla to Kathmandu, Everest Base Camp Trek

The final day of seventeen wonderful days trekking from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and back in October 2015. Having fare-welled our Porter Guide, my husband “the Trainer” and I flew to Kathmandu grateful for completing the trek safely and already thinking of a return trek.

Lukla Airport

Above: The tarmac at Lukla airport and the parking spaces for the four planes that fly back and forward to Lukla every day.

We were up early for one of the first flights out. The Paradise Lodge where we stayed the night is a one-minute walk to the airport. The owner of the lodge said goodbye to us and presented us with the traditional cream scarf to wish us well.

Lukla with the mountain behind
The larger yellow building in the middle is the control tower at Lukla Airport

The departure hall at the airport is a bit crazy and we were glad to have someone with us to direct us where to go and in which order. We passed through the tickets and security checks very quickly and into the hall to wait boarding where passengers are always keen to watch the planes landing. The unloading of passengers and baggage is amazingly quick and the same goes for loading and boarding. In 2018 I saw a trekker almost miss getting on the plane by seconds. Obviously he had to take a trip the toilet or somewhere. So be vigilant.

Being our fourth flight, we were relaxed. I was more relaxed about take-off than landing at Lukla.

As we flew back along the line of the Himalayas I wondered if it would be our last trip as I was hooked on this magnificent part of the world.

Other Posts

The Infamous Lukla Airport 

Missed the beginning of the 2015 trek? Here are the first five days to get you started.

Day 1 2015 Trek – Lukla to Phakding

Day 2 2015 Trek – Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Day 3 2015 Trek – Acclimatisation In Namche Bazaar

Day 4 2015 Trek – Namche Bazaar to Khumjung

Day 5 2015 Trek – Khumjung to Phortse

and here is the 2015 Trek Itinerary with links

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Farewell to the EBC Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

Day 16 Phakding to Lukla

Nepalese dog

The first photo for the day was of a dog sitting expectantly outside the kitchen of our lodge. The Trainer had taken it because “everyone loves a photo of a dog.” The dogs we saw on the trail appeared well cared for.

Mani Walls coming into Ghat
Mani Walls coming into Ghat

On the last day of both our trek it was with a feeling of sadness that we made our way back to Lukla. Lingering on the trail as we went. Standing aside for the last lot of the donkeys and yaks, crossing the last bridges which on the way up were the first scary bridges. Savouring the last of the views of green fields of vegetables, mani walls and stupas as we would back down through a string of villages.

Stupa and Mani Walls at Ghat
Prayer Wheels, Mani Walls and the Stupa at Ghat

Waiting for Donkies to Pass on Everest Base Camp trail

We saw groups of trekkers fresh off the plane new to the trail and not sure quite what to expect. I pointed at the brand new boots of a young woman and I pointed to my boots all covered in white dust and told her that her boots would look like mine after Base Camp.

Small villages on the hills on the way

Resting spot for porters outside or Lukla

I smiled a woman we passed who pointed behind me indicating there was someone behind me. I think she thought he was trying to get past. I wanted to say yes, he has been behind me for 16 days, he’s my porter. Although he wasn’t always behind sometimes he was ahead and leading. But he was always there walking beside me in essence, keeping an eye on where I was stepping. Only a short time before he had pulled me out of the way from a donkey, because I turned around and wasn’t paying attention.

Empty Street in Lukla

Starbucks and the Irish Pub in Lukla

In the end, despite not wanting the trek to end we were glad to get to Lukla’s entrance gate. The last of the hills seemed endless. And we had just walked 130 kilometres.

We walked through the streets of Lukla which we very quiet. Lukla would normally be a bit of a party town with people celebrating the end of their treks. It is always a place people stay at the end of the trek not at the beginning.

At the lodge we were happy to have a shower, do some washing and explore the town a bit more. Basanta came back later in the afternoon. We had a few beers together and said thank you and goodbye. He was going to have three days’ rest and then going to back on the trail again with a group.

Basanta and Louise
Basanta our lovely porter guide and me in Lukla at the end of our trek
Paradise Lodge Dining Room
The dining room at Paradise Lodge Lukla

After dinner and a chat with the woman who owns the lodge we were ready for an early night. We had the first flight out in the morning.

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 downhill 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 downhill in a general downhill 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.

 

 

Day One Lukla – Phakding 2015 Trek

Kathmandu-Lukla-Phakding (2610m)
8.5 km 3.5 – 4hours

  • Flying into Lukla
  • Remember downhill is never just downhill
  • Beautiful little villages
  • 8.5 km walk, took 4 hours in 2013, 3.5 hours in 2015
  • Lukla to Chheplung took us one hour
  • First bridge at Thado Kosi Gaton
  • Om Mane Padme Hum

Day One on 2013 Trek
Day Two on 2015 Trek
Itinerary 2015 Trek

Flying to Lukla
Main Street Lukla, setting out on Main Trail EBC Trek
Lukla to Phakding
Ghat on the Main Trail Lukla to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp
Main Trail to Kala Patthar and EBC
Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

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