Sunrise start from Kathmandu this morning, streets still quiet as we left the hotel. Cheerful chaos at the airport, but we all ended up where we needed to be for our flights to Lukla. The airstrip at Lukla is 1500 feet long, has a slope 12%, and ends in the mountainside, so you gotta stick that landing. Applause for our pilot!
After some restorative tea in Lukla, we started out on our first day of walking up the valley, finding our “trekking legs.” Lots of ups and downs on the stony path, crossing and recrossing the glaciar-fed, milky turquoise river. Some spectacular suspension bridges with a nice bounce midspan, especially when a few people are crossing at once.
We pass through many small villages: Prayer flags, prayer wheels, and Gompas, green fields and stone buildings and waterfalls. The working traffic of the trail flows toward and past us: the amazing porters carrying goods for the villages above and all the way up to Base Camp, the soft-eyed cow-yak hybrids and donkeys with their bells and burdens. Through the clouds we catch glimpses of Everest’s peak, impossibly high above us.
Soft rain falling now in Manju. Great lecture on Altitude Sickness by Desiree Crane. Now we know what to watch for as we climb tomorrow to Namche Bazaar.