First day of trek and our intrepid lot left Kathmandu thankfully at 6 a.m., leaving the dirt, noise and pollution behind. Entered controlled chaos at the airport and eventually left on a full 12 seater (lots of luggage!) for the flight to Lukla, crazy as billed. Unfortunately not great views due to haze but the entry into the Hilary-Tenzing airstrip were… hmmm… exciting with a round of applause to the pilot on reaching standstill (and a critique from our resident pilot of glowing colours to technique!). Definitely one is committed leaving that airstrip… Huge crowd outside the fence apparently trolling for load carrying. Lukla sports a Scottish bar, a Starbucks and several internet cafes. After tea and water bottle fillup we finally headed up the dusty trail, literally downhill (we lost about 200 m in total today though there were a couple of uphill’s).
Lunch was at a teahouse enroute and slow, giving us lots of time to admire the surrounds – huge woodpiles, and our first sight of a 7,000 m peak – wow, steep and IMPRESSIVE. Rounding one corner, we saw our first view of the stunning blue-green Dhud Khosi River which we followed (and crossed twice on fairly non-rickety bridges covered with prayer flags) all the way up the valley.
Our final destination was Phakding about 4 pm, about 8600’, and we had a couple of lectures while waiting for our luggage to arrive by Zopkyo (half yak, half cow). We are rooming in twos (with stunning views of the river) and we have SHOWERS – yahooo!!!! (Editorial comment from another member, not all of them were hot :) It’s quite hot on the trail so much appreciated. Watching the beer consumption of the Eastern European contingent in the rooms above us with some concern :)
Trek staffs are fabulous and well organized and tomorrow plans to be a good stretch of the legs to Namche Bazaar and a test of altitude adaptation.