Everest Base Camp Trek - From Lukla to Phakding
Our trek started with a short flight from Kathmandu to the small village of Lukla. There was a jostle for seats on the left side of the plane for those in the know, as these are the best seats for a view of the mountains. Eager anticipation was in the air while waiting to receive clearance for take-off. Once airborne the tiny prop plane was engulfed in the majesty of the Himalayas. Imagine flying at over 3000m / 10,000’ and having mountains towering above you! The flight was short and soon we were approaching the short strip of land they called a runway.
While the town of Lukla doesn’t have much charm, it is an effective launching point and a good place to hire porters if you don’t already have them. Just standing around at over 2,850m / 9,000’, the thin air taxed our lungs. Walking around the town breathing was further strained, but after a long morning the quest for breakfast distracted us from respiratory issues. Surprisingly, there were many choices from a traditional western fare to Tibetan bread called chapati and a dish similar to Cream of Wheat called champas.
After our meal we set forth upon the business we came here for, to walk. We actually descended 200m / 656’ on our trek to
Phakding, the first night’s destination, rolling along a two-hour trek on a “Nepali Flat” series of ups and downs. The trail was
incredible, passing aqua blue rivers reminiscent of the Caribbean with towering mountains littering the backdrop.
The trail was lined with countless prayer wheels and carved prayer stones. While these mantras were probably meant only to pacify general fears, we worried why there was so much need for prayer. Thankfully, we were going no farther than Base Camp.
The kids on the trail were a delight, with only a few asking for candy, pens or rupees.
That night in the guest house in Phatding I met Great Treks cofounder Kirk Markus and his then fiance Nancy. An instant friendship was made that has lasted through many a hike in distant lands.
The story continues...