Paradise Lodge Lukla and the washing and tents drying
Paradise Lodge Lukla and the washing and tents drying
trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot 2. a journey or stage, esp by ox wagon 3. make a trek – trekker
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
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.
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.
The Trainer and I returned to Nepal to trek to Gokyo and over the Cho La Pass in September / October 2018.
Missed the beginning of the 2015 trek? Here are the first five days to get you started.
and here is the 2015 Trek Itinerary with links
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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