Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 14 Phakding to Lukla
This is the last day on our Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek. Today we trek from Phakding to Lukla. This is normally a fairly easy hike, but after tongba it was not. However, I took it slow and enjoyed it. I saw some waterfalls, a patch of flowers, and a prayer wall carved in stone on the side of the trail. The highlight was the flowers. In Lukla, I stayed at an expensive hotel, but the staff members were very nice. They made samosas for me while I played soccer with some kids.
If you are interested in the Annapurna Circuit Trek, I will be writing about it next. That trek is also excellent. You can pare it with the Poon Hill trek or the Annapurna Base Camp Trek for an amazing experience.
Day 14: Phakding to Lukla
We started trekking to Lukla after a hearty breakfast. By the time we got on the trail it was just past 10:00 am. Though I felt fine, my body was slow. My guide was also slow. We slowly walked to Lukla. The trek is supposed to take about 3 hours. In total it took us about 5 hours with a lunch. If you are going up to Everest Base Camp do yourself a favor and abstain from drinking alcohol. It really does affect your performance.
fortunately the trail was flat starting out. However, the slope gradually increased. The trail started getting steeper right before Nurning. There is a painted mani wall at the top of the steps just before Nurning. I don’t remember seeing it coming in, but I was glad I saw it on my way out. Just after Nurning we crossed the Thado Koshi river on a large suspension bridge (Seamless Bridge).
My guide pointed out that a few years prior an avalanche happened just up the canyon. He said a few people died. I couldn’t find any reference to the avalanche or the deaths online. The canyon did look like it had a massive or abnormal amount of debris in it. We stopped for lunch about 20 minutes after the bridge. It was close to Chheplung. It was about this time that a heavy fog developed. I put on my bag cover to protect my gear.
This happened on Day 13, but because I forgot to write it down, and in a despite effort to make this day more enjoyable to read about, its being included in Day 14. We passed a beautiful waterfall. Up the sides of the waterfall were the most outstanding violet and yellow flowers. If anyone knows the common or scientific name of this plant please leave a comment or send an email. I spent 15 minutes taking pictures, and trying not to get my camera wet from the splashes.
After lunch we continued trekking. At about this time an extremely frail and odd looking young woman and a fit looking young man passed us. They had about the same speed as the La Wi French Athletic Team. They also had a porter carrying all of their bags. This was the second time we were passed up by someone who had a porter. I know I said I was going to get a porter in my How to Prepare for EBC post, at this point in time I was kicking myself for not doing it.
To be straight forward, you don’t want to be going extremely fast on your trek unless you are immune to altitude sickness. The trail mantra comes to mind “go slowly.” Porters should be hired if you do not feel like or can’t carry your gear, you want to save your knees, or if you want to hire a person to help out their economic situation. They should not be hired so that you can race to the top of Everest and back down. That is a sure way of getting altitude sickness.
We made it to Lukla sometime after 3:00. I stayed at Himalaya Lodge and Restaurant just above the Lukla Airport. It is a very accommodating hotel with a very nice staff. It is a bit more expensive than the rest of the hotels and tea houses along the trek though. The Dining room is decorated with plants, and posters of the mountains with the people that climb them. In the center of the room was a furnace that radiates comfort when filled with fuel.
The rooms are exactly the same as the all the other rooms in all the other tea houses I stayed in. It was the standard 100 square feet with two single beds, a window, and no electrical outlets. The only hotel room that had power outlets on trek was in the 8,000 Inn. The beds seemed clean and smelled fresh but I still slept in my sleeping bag. There were two areas for the bathrooms.
The first bathroom was just inside the reception between the kitchen and the dining room. These bathrooms are the standard western style bathrooms you might find in a restaurant. It had a sit-down toilet enclosed in a stall, a urinal, and sink to wash. The second bathrooms were next to the rooms outside the bedroom hall. These bathrooms each have one eastern style squat toilet. In between the bathrooms was shower, and a sink to wash up.
The kitchen staff was amazing while I was there. One day they asked me what I want for dinner. I told them I wanted samosas (I have a huge samosa problem). Samosas cannot be found on the trek, unless someone makes them specifically for you. The kitchen staff went out of their way to make me samosas. Samosas make me happy! I ate 12 samosas before I had to tap out.
I stayed in Lukla for about a week, because I was having so much fun eating the delicious food, and hanging out with the hotel staff. A friend asked me to stay in Kathmandu for his daughters wedding. After two days in Kathmandu, I took a bus to Pokhara to prepare for my Annapurna Circuit and Poon Hill Trek.