Welcome to ten adventure-filled days in the Khumbu Region of Nepal, the highest place on earth. The primary goal of my journey was to see
with my own eyes, but as you will soon discover, that was but a small part of this unique and privileged experience. From the first “Namaste!” you will fall in love with this enchanting place defined by big nature and warm and beautiful people. Mount Everest
Khumbu Region Map: Lukla bottom leftish, Everest top right. Yikes! Not what you want to see before flying to Lukla! Cozy and unpressurized! Looking North, first glimpse of the high Himalayas! Lukla is the gateway to treks in the Everest Region. Upon arrival, each planeload of trekkers and cargo is met with throngs of porters looking for work. 240 degrees heading, 12 degrees down, and only 1600 feet long!most extreme airports in the world! Perhaps it’s the altitude? Day 1. Lukla to Phakding Dealing with the vertical terrain is part of life here. Stupa above the clouds. Memorial gate just North of Lukla. One of several river crossings Footbridge destroyed by recent earthquake (the detour was a bushwack on some slippery and steep terrain) Mani Stones (Om Mani Padme Hum) Monster prayer wheel There are no roads or vehicles here. The only way that materials and supplies get into the high country is on the backs of human beings. Our beasts of burden (jopkes). Like another day at the office. The very high bridge before the steep ascent to Namche. Magic Light! Crossing the high bridge. Particularly colorful Mani Stones. Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440 m). Privileged encounter with a Himalayan Mountain Goat Porter wannabe Namche Bazaar lives up to its name as a major trading crossroads. Namche is built almost exclusively of hand-wrought stone. Trekking Permit Our lead jopke driver This nice young man lost his pack and had no food or water (He walked all the way from Lukla to Namche that day!) Midday, looking Northeast from the Everest View Hotel. The distinctive profile of Ama Dablam is on the right, but we were disappointed that we did not see Mount Everest, shrouded in the mass of clouds on the left. Maybe tomorrow?! Day 3: Acclimatization Hike from Namche to Syangboche (3780 m) and Everest View Hotel. Formula for acclimatization: climb high, sleep low. That evening, enjoying the hospitality and company of the local chess players. About to play the champion of Namche. The weather here can change dramatically and in a heartbeat. This cloud bank rolled in like a tsunami in a matter of minutes. Namche from above. From Namche, just after sunrise. Namche Terraces Syangboche Airstrip (not to be confused with an airport) The Alpine meadows are home to grazing livestock. … and the most delicate vegetation. Day 4: Namche to Tengboche (3860 m). Chillin’ in the shadow of Ama Dablam! Always go clock-wise around the Mani stones! I was allowed one picture, no more, of these Nepalese soldiers. Nima, our lead guide. His grandfather made it to the highest camp during the first ascent of Everest by Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953. Tengboche Monastery Attending services at Tengboche Monastery. Day 5: Tengboche to Khumjung (3780 m). Just before sunrise at Tengboche. Mount Everest is shrouded in clouds on the left. And then the clouds parted!!! (Everest is the pyramid on the left!) The Nepali name for the highest mountain in the world is Sagarmatha. The Tibetan/Sherpa name is Chomolungma. And then she disappeared into the clouds for the rest of the day. Stupa in Tengboche One of many reminders of just how dangerous the mountains can be. Women, too, brave the high peaks and have lost their lives here. Some colorful, hard-working characters. My new religion. Rainbow upon arrival in Khumjung. Prayers The Hillary School. Delightful Sherpa girl artwork. Carrie scores some Pringles! Framed by a huge Mani Stone. An absolutely insane load. Unfortunately, this outhouse drains right into the river, the only reliable source of water. Day 6: Khumjung to Thame (3800 m). The word of the day: RAIN. Yak dung boot drier. Loading up with Yak dung. Yak dung hand warmer. Lunch! Spam, flat bread, potatoes, yak cheese, carrots, beans, and dal bhat. Dal bhat (rice with lentil soup) is such a staple that the joke is that you have dal bhat for lunch and bhat dal for supper!) Artifacts from the successful Hillary-Tensing expedition. Day 7: Thame to Namche. Saddling up for our return to Namche. Namche feels like an dear old friend. Day 8: Namche to Phakding. A mani stone garden Furry guardian angels are everywhere. Day 9: Phakding to Lukla. How cute and curious can you get? Me and Dougie…. smooth as a baby’s bottom! “Starbucks” and Irish pubs are EVERYWHERE! Celebrating a safe and successful trek with our guides, porters, and cooks… Presentation of tips to show our appreciation… Sampling some local hooch! We all donated gear… and our crew drew cards to see who won what! Paying my respects at plane crash memorial in Lukla. Day 10: Lukla to Kathmandu. by air Flying west, looking North. The approach to Kathmandu, bringing us to the end of our Nepal adventure.