We’re sunburned and tired but we’re now well and truly back down the mountain. We were ridiculously lucky with our flight out of Lukla, we had one booked for the 14th but as we finished the trek a little early our amazing contact Funuru managed to switch it to the 13th. Some poor people had been stuck in Lukla for 5 days waiting for a flight.
The final few days of the trek were fun but challenging. On the way down you cover bigger distances and as your legs are already aching after 11-12 days solid walking you really feel it. There’s also the feeling that now you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, surely a warm bed, a hot bath and a bottle of wine should be waiting for you. But alas, no. You must trek back down again, sleeping in basic conditions and going to the toilet at night wearing a head torch and thermals!
After a few days you feel the benefits of being back down at a lower altitude, it’s much warmer both during the daytime and at night, the standards of accommodation are much higher lower down and prices are also lower. Anything being sold at the top of the mountain has to be carried there by porter, yak or helicopter which makes things very expensive – water can be around $5 a bottle for example.
In Namche Bazaar we had our first shower in 6 days. I know, I disgust you. But seriously, there were no usable showers before then! Anyway, it was the best shower I have ever had. Ever. It was also quite a relief to discover that I do still have hair on my head, after 10 days of slapping it back under a thick head band I had forgotten what it was like!
I wanted to try to sum up the trekking experience, so here are some of my highs and lows…
– The mountain flight to Lukla, sheer terror and exhilaration
– Getting to know our wonderful guide Kami and porter Mankumar
– Seeing breathtaking views every day for 2 weeks
– Walking along hillsides surrounded by rhododendrons
– Meeting people from all over the world on trekking or climbing expeditions
– Nepalese milk tea
– Working your body hard
– Reaching Base Camp and Kala Patthar – woo hoo!
– Working your body too hard…
– Cold nights in tea houses wearing thermals
– Midnight trips to freezing cold toilets using a head torch for light due to dodgy electrics
– The scent of yak and horse poo, everywhere
– The lack of hot showers
One thing we had been told, and had read pretty much everywhere before we arrived, was that the food on the mountain was pretty rubbish and to expect almost nothing but Dal Baht – this is absolutely not true. The menus were pretty extensive everywhere, with noodles, rice, pasta, potatoes and even meat if you wanted it (we steered clear). You can even get apple pie for pudding – so don’t let that myth put you off.
Another learning is not to pick up Sherpa swear words from your porter! Our porter, Mankumar, loved to play cards so we did this most evenings with him. Whenever he got a bad card he would exclaim “Poartsalore!” and we soon picked this up, much to his amusement. Anyway, when the trek was over and Mankumar and Kami had left us we were in a restaurant one night – I ordered chocolate cake as a last night treat and somebody came over to say that they had ran out. Jack laughed and said “Poartsalore!” to which the waiter laughed but looked a little shocked. Then a guide with another group on our left quietly told us that was a “very bad word”. We had effectively dropped a c-bomb all because there was no chocolate cake. Whoops!
How else to sum up this whole experience…. Amazing, exhausting, dirty, beautiful, rewarding, scary, unique.
Would we do it again? Yes, but not for at least 5 years!
Here are some photos of Kami and Mankumar, our brilliant guide and porter.
Kami and his family:
Kami and Mankumar:
We spent our last few days in Nepal in Pokhara – blog to come soon.
Love to all