In Leichhardts Footsteps
Two Lipsticks and a Lover
The Alchemist
Symphony of Australia
Rock Chicks
My Pelvic Flaw
Life in His Hands
The Lives Of Abused and Battered Women
Now That He's Gone
The Remembering
Hold It Sister
Happy Healthy Kids
Is it in the Genes?
Does a High Life Count?
History of Valentines Day
The Battleground of Somme
Shaolin Kungfu
Greenpeace & 'Espy' Tour
The Bucket List
Cheating Men
Male Menopause
Satisfying Sex
It's Rubbish
Let's Talk About It
Juggling it All
Friendship
What is a Grandmother
Nanny - I love it !
A Friend Indeed
Adult Kids at Home
The Wisest Woman
Volunteering Children
Turning 50
What Wise Women Want
Australian Christmas
French Christmas
Lets have a Tea Party
Eat Outdoors and Relax
At Your Table
Arthurs Restaurant
Coeliac Disease
Hot Rocks
Pay Up or Pay for It
Learn for Free
Lead Light or Stained Reputation
Hells Angels
Flying High
Wedding Celebrant
New Words
Memory Workout
Puppy Training
Why do Some women do Heaps!!
Tips For Organising - Declutter
Volunteering - Rewards for All
Your Super!
Women and their hobbies
Green Clean
Miracle of Coconut Oil
Beetroot is Tops
Recipes
Gluten Free Recipes
Cairns
Magical Lake Eyre
Coastal Walk - Sydney
Bush Walk in Manly!
Royal National Park
Norman Lindsay Gallery
Indulgent Beach Break
Heritage Walk - Sydney
Alcatraz
Sequoias
Monument Valley USA
New Zealand
Florence in a Bath Chair
"Plain" Travel
"Pain" Travel
Shangrila Laddakh
I go Crazy in Paris
Volcano Villarrica
Climbing Mt Kinabalu
Exotic Vietnam
Camel Ride in the Sahara
Trekking is Fun!
Shangrila in Laddakh
I go Crazy in Paris
San Diego Zoo
Antartica
Turkey and Israel
Yunnan China
Did I go to Morocco with Karl Pilkington
1. Trek in Nepal To Lukla
2. Trek in Nepal Lukla to Phadking
3. Trek in Nepal Phadking to Monjo
4. Trek in Nepal Monjo to Namche
5. Trek in Nepal Namche Bazaar
6. Trek in Nepal Namche to Mahang
7. Trek in Nepal - Mahang to Dole
8. Trek in Nepal - Dole to Macchermo
9. Trek in Nepal - Machhermo to Gokyo
10. Trek in Nepal - Up Gokyo Peak
Stay at Home Children
Stay At Home Children
Nanna's Love
Extended Family
Grandmothers
Volunteering Children
Gift of Life
Seniors Club

            
            

Nepal Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Lukla to Phakding (2600m)

 

 

In Paradise

I jiggle my backpack around to make it more comfortable.  Well it should be as it cost a fortune, but it is new and stiff.   I have to lug the it’s weight, plus two large bottles of water, a Gortex jacket, scarf and gloves, passport, papers and odds and sods. 

 

I am feeling excited and on a high as we enter the little township of Lukla which is at 2827 metres above sea level.  The main thoroughfare through town looks a little bit Roman to me.  It is built from huge stone blocks neatly set side by side.  There are no cars here, only human and animal feet. 


The main track through Lukla

Very pretty two storey brick houses with their brilliant blue windows and doors line the sides of the road.  The shops are buzzing with activity. 

 

Here, there are reject mountaineering clothes to be bought, laid out on timber shelves with eager salesmen trying to catch our eye.  There are shops stacked with food items, geared very much with the trekker in mind and interesting places to pop in and eat. 

 

Mr G checks out the houses

The inhabitants of this area of Nepal are called Sherpas.
  They are originally from Tibet and traditionally sourced their living from the land and as traders.  Now they are known worldwide for their mountaineering skills and at this they are exceptional.  With their small nuggetty frames, they are able to carry enormous loads on their backs for days on end.  And they do this by running a strap around the load and over their forehead.  Sherpa necks must be made of steel is all I can say.

 

The children run along side us as we make our way through the village.  Laughing and chatting and desperately trying to secure any items we might have as ‘giveaways’.  They are dressed in western style jackets and warm pull-on pants.  In fact, the people living around here look quite well off in the scheme of things.  They are close to the airport and because most trekking starts here so western money is making its presence obvious.


 

Barbwire washing

As we say goodbye to Lukla, we make our way around the left of the stupa and prayer flags and begin walking down a rocky path towards the Dudh Kosi River before we join the main road to Namche Bazaar.  I am surprised by the rocky path as I had imagined long smooth ‘goat tracks’ grooved into the mountainsides. 

 

Well, that happens but a long way from here. 

 

We are walking down the Khumbu Valley with the River to the left of us. The scenery is gorgeous.  Green and picturesque farming plots line the way and we watch the farmers busily go about their business. 

 

We pass through a number of small villages with houses built smack onto the pathway.   The children hang out the doors and windows to practise their English.  And there are animals every where. 

 

On the track we are often squeezed aside as loaded up dzopkyos (a cross breed of yak and cow) hurtle past.  Watch out for the ones piled high with branches though.  Those scratches can be nasty. 


 

On track

The track is reasonably wide so two people can pass easily by or you can walk along side someone for a chat which is nice when you are warming up to your new group members.   

Our group consists of Michelle and Jenny from Canada; Anne from New Zealand;  Mike, Noela, Alasdair, Mae and Lee from Australia and of course Mr. G and me.  Neema is our guide and we have three sherpa assistants and cooks.  The fourteen of us will be bosom buddies for the next two weeks. 

 

There is a lot of activity on the track this afternoon but the most interesting thing of all is what is coming towards us on route to Lukla.

 

Here come the trekkers.  They have been and seen.  They have conquered and returned.  They say ‘hello’ and ‘goodluck’ in as many different languages as you can imagine. 

 

This is a highway of world travellers.  They ooze shine from every pore of their bodies.  Their clothes are filthy and their hair is white from dust but they have smiles as wide as their faces. 

 

For them now the walking is easy.  Nothing at all matters for they are almost at the finishing line. 

 

I almost feel embarrassed to be so squeaky clean and uncrushed.  

 

We are clean faced and not weary from days of trekking.  
We have not yet hit the heights of altitude. 
We are new to this! 
We are eager and have energy to burn.  
But our eyes are the dead giveaway as they show a hint apprehension.  Will we be like them?   
Will we make it?

 

In the distance I can see our first bridge crossing. There are a number of these rope bridges criss crossing the river through the valley and every one of them is a thrilling experience.  Made from rope and and timber slates, these bridges can span huges distances and are used by all occupants of the track.  This includes packs of galloping dzopkyos, a fairly unnerving experience if you are halfway across when they appear at the other end of the bridge….


 

Mr G takes in the view

We have three hours of trekking to do and it is getting darker by the minute.  The group strings out as there are always those that need to be first, and those happy not to rush and and are happy to take it easy. 

 

It gets dark and I suddenly realise I am walking by myself.  Now how did that happen!  Mr. G has vanished into thin air!  I have no idea where anyone is, what the time is, how long we have been trekking and I have absolutely no idea where the teahouse is.  I stumble and fumble along the path in the dark. 

 

Occasionally I pass by a cottage or two lit up by candles or lamps.  Surely someone from the group must be nearby but it is so dark I can’t see far. 

 

Eventually I cross a stone bridge and there swinging a torch is Ergon in front of our two storey teahouse on the wide stone verandah.  Thank goodness for that.  I have made it to Phakding.  I feel a huge sense of relief. 

 

Our Teahouse at Phakding

I push through the front door of the teahouse and enter the dining room.   I am pleased to see I am not last in.  That position is always held by Neema who makes sure he knows the whereabouts of his group at all times. 

 

We are collapsed on seating around the low dinner tables.  It is freezing.  One small pot belly stoves chugs away below racks of wet dripping socks and underwear from another group.

 

We are given keys to our rooms so we can dump our bags before dinner.  Where and what will our bedroom be like!  This is something we are really keen to see.

 

Mr G, Ian, Mae and I walk along a narrow path in the direction of the river.  The others of the group have scored rooms in the main teahouse!!!  But our two rooms are perched out above the sloping ground.  Mr G and I take the one on the left.  The room is freezing.  I am sure ice would remain frozen rock solid within this plywood construction. 

 

The beds are narrow and sport a thin cotton covered foam mattress and a pillow.  We drag our sleeping bags onto the narrow beds and change out of our trekking gear and into our tracksuits and go back down to dinner. 

 

The food is surprisingly quite tasty, dessert being delicious battered apple.  We are tired as we have been up for hours so we say goodnight and Mr G and I walk grimly back to our refrigerator.  I put on every article of warm clothing before I squeeze into the sleeping bag and try to get into a position where I won’t fall off the bed.  It is not easy.

 

It is pitch dark, I can hear the sound of the river pounding away on the rocks below, probably throwing up clouds of freezing mist that is creeping its way through the large cracks in the floor and walls.  I wonder how I will sleep.  I don’t.

 

In the morning I am glad to get up.  We change our underwear, put on our trekking gear and stroll down to eat breakfast.  We are ushered into a room surrounded by glass windows giving us glorious mountain views.  This is the life!

 

There, in the corner, is a little counter with things to buy.  Mars bars are for sale and Michelle and Jenny stock up on this chocolate glue!!

 

One thing about Peregrine is they are very particular about cleanliness and we always have a dish of disinfectant water to wash our hands before every meal.  After breakfast, we have to contend with the toilet. 

 

At this teahouse there are two, an Asian and a western sort of flush one attached to the building.  Well, it looks like a western toilet but there is a plastic hose and tricky bits of wire.  This is the most upmarket we will see, but we don’t know that yet!   

 

We clean our teeth at the trough and I inadvertently wave my bush under the tap water.  Oophs, what will that mean….hopefully not certain death.

 

The porters have collected our duffle bags and are already on route to Monjo, our next overnight stop.  Now I feel we are really on the way. 

We have experienced some trekking, we have viewed the scenery, we have slept in a teahouse and we have eaten the food.  We now have some idea of what to expect along the way. All we have to do is survive the next few weeks. 

I can’t wait.

 

What happens next?  We have a four hour walk a head of us to reach the next teahouse.  Walking in short stages is the best way to acclimatize and Neema also has a neat trick to make sure we do!!!

 

See you on the road to Monjo

Click here for Day 3