Donkey Central at Phakding – Chuk Chuk – Video

Donkeys on the trail to EBC

Keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. CHUK!

Rule Number Two: Give Way to the donkeys too.

I posted this video on Facebook on our first trek in November December 2013. It was taken on my iphone and shows the number of donkeys on the trail and why you don’t want to be on the bridge at the same time as donkey herd. Continue reading

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

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 2 Phakding to Monjo

Phakding to Monjo Day Two Treks to Everest Base Camp

Follow the Pumpkin Coloured Backpack

This day was a short walk. For many trekking tours Day 2 is Phakding to Namche Bazaar. The climb to Namche Bazaar is a big day so the Trainer added a day to our itinerary so we didn’t need to rush and allow time to acclimatise to the altitude. Groups were leaving our lodge for Namche a good hour before us. Setting out we looked forward to a leisurely day taking our time and taking in the views around us.

Phakding EBC Trek

Before leaving Melbourne our plans to trek the Everest Base Camp by ourselves and without a guide or porter had a few people concerned. Me as well. The Trainer explained to my mother before we left that trekking the trail is not like trekking a in remote location, well in the lower part of the trail anyway. He explained the trail is through villages with small tea houses dotted all the way, with lots of people trekking, porters and Nepalis going about their daily business including school kids walking to school. We did in fact see many children walking to school along the trail. Small children in small groups without adults running to school had my herd mother radar working on overdrive at times.

Everest Base Camp

Kids walking to school

 
Phakding to Monjo

Vegetable gardens and stone walls line the trail through many villages. Note the Donkey train coming up the path.

Phakding to Monjo

Different types of prayer wheels are all along the trail. The important thing to remember is to turn them clockwise.

Bridge across Dudh Kosi

Cable  hanging bridge across the Dudh Kosi river after Benkar. I got off the bridges as quickly as possible.

 

Crossing the river Phakding to Monjo

Donkey trains on trek were a fascination for me. Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow ones moving while waiting on the sidelines.

Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. Chuk Chuk!

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 2 Phakding to Namche Bazaar 2015 Trek

the traditional second day of the EBC trail

  • 23 September 2015
  • 8:10 am – 4:00 pm
  • 2610 – 3440 metres
  • 830 metres ascent
  • option of staying at Monjo was factored into the itinerary

We weren’t in a hurry to leave the lodge and trekking independently we had the luxury of doing so because we had our own porter and we would decide when to leave.

The weather was a cool and there was a fine rain threatening. We knew what was involved in the climb ahead and we knew we had time.

View from room Lodge at Phakding
We were always grateful to have windowsill in our room because that somewhere to have our things and provide some organisation for the contents of our pack.


Day two of the main trail to Kala Patthar and the Everest Base Camp
Early morning mist outside of Phakding
DAmp stone trail outside of Phakding on the way to Namche Bazaar
Just outside of Phakding

Fortunately the very light rain did not last long and we had to be careful not to slip on the wet stones on the path.

Bridge to Namche Bazaar main trail to Everest Base Camp

Day 1 Lukla to Phakding EBC Trek 2015

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