Lukla to Phakding
Our destination was the mountains just south of Everest. We trekked in the Khumbu region along some of the most popular and crowded trekking routes in Nepal. Much of the time we were in Sagarmatha National Park. We had a group of 6 trekkers, 5 porters, 3 young sherpas, and our talented and caring leader Chhongba Sherpa.
After sorting through the bags, mainly dividing them up among the porters and retrieving our trekking poles, we headed north. One difference between this trek and the year before was immediately obvious. In 2008 we say few other trekkers; this year we saw numerous groups of trekkers, especially the first part to Namche. Another difference is I brought trekking poles this trip–they were wonderful. I can’t imagine how I ever hiked without them.
We stopped for lunch at Ghat above the Dudh Kosi in the valley to the west.
Later that afternoon as we entered the village of Phakding we passed an impressive stone wall below the village.
As we walked through the village I got somewhat ahead of the group. Coming toward me was a familiar face—“Dendi”, I cried. Our marvelous cook from 2008 remembered me as well and we chatted briefly. He was monitoring a 25-day race through the mountains of Khumbu. Imagine running at those altitudes. The next morning I met Pasang Sherpa jogging through the same town at dawn. Pasang had run it very successfully in past years but his year was monitoring the race. Pasang was with us on the 2008 trek, came to the US with Leeli afterward, and stayed for four days with Jann and me while he was here.
Still in Phakding I photographed a wood pile not realizing that in a few days wood would be a very scarce commodity. Dried yak dung serves as an alternate fuel above the tree line.
At the far end of the village an array of large lodges beckoned, framed by the majestic Dudh Kosi. A long suspension bridge, our first of many of these, led to the lodges and beyond toward Namche. We stayed in the new and very nice Mountain Resort at the top of the group. My room, with flush toilet and shower (both very rare in the rooms, and even outside them), is at the bottom right of the lodge.