This bustling village shaped as an amphitheater overlooking the holy mountain of Kongde Ri, offers a unique mix of busy bazaar life with spectacular mountain views.
Since this new day was going to be another long trekking day, we started with a generous breakfast: spring rolls, of course 😀 The ones we ate the previous evening were so good, that we didn’t want to miss the opportunity of eating them again.
With stomachs full we left Namche Bazaar descending a steep, long dirt and stone steps trail, winding under the cover of a thick and shady forest. Trekking down the mountain was fairly effortless and pleasant, only occasionally stopping to take in the Himalayan views, such as our last view of Everest seen from a distance, through a forest clearing. Porters and animal caravans were steadily climbing up the mountain, carrying supplies to villages higher up the valley. The path brought us back on Dudh Koshi river’s deep, narrow valley’s edge, crossing one of the most breathtaking suspension bridges on the Khumbu Valley. Once on its other side we run into a series of big trekking groups coming up probably from Phakding village to Namche. They crowded the narrow trail winding on the river banks, occasionally requiring us to stop to let them pass. Trekking season had obviously started, proving that we chose wisely when to make this trek.
last glimpse of Everest on this trek
heavy loaded porters crossing on a high suspension bridge
Another two more suspension bridges and the trail left Dudh Koshi river’s banks, climbing a neatly arranged set of stone steps bordered by a high cliff, covered with carved “Mantras”. Topping this stone steps climb is the “Kani” Gate marking the Jorsale entrance to Sagarmatha national park. From here onward we trekked through a series of beautiful, small Sherpa villages, where the locals go about their busy lives while countless trekkers pass their streets. In Phakding village a young couple where quarrying stone for building a house: she was carefully arranging the stone blocks on a wooden frame, while he would carry it away.
Sagarmatha National Park entrance at Jorsale
Retracing our steps we climbed up and down on the trail winding high above Dudh Koshi river. From time to time we would run into trekking friends we had made higher up the mountain, Frenchmen, Argentineans, and Australians, continuing to descend together while sharing stories. We skipped lunch, excited by the trek, which felt new even though we had passed through the same places only a few days ago, trekking past carefully arranged vegetable gardens, carved and painted “Mani” walls, neatly cared “Gompas”, white “Chortens”, and spinning “Mani” wheels. When passing by a “Gompa” we caught a glimpse of the monastery’s lama meditation by his windows, allowing himself to be seen as a blessing to passersby.
“Chortens”, “Mani” stones and prayer flags… getting a feel of the local culture
“Please turn this mani to purify your soul”
As we were getting closer to Lukla the trail was becoming crowded with animal caravans heavy loaded with expedition gear belonging to many different operators and heading for Everest base camp. The same stunning crowdedness we encountered on the terraces lining the trail, places that were almost empty while climbing up, and now were overflowing with trekkers. The scenery was also changed, magnolia and rhododendron trees blooming along the trail.
beautiful sights all along the trail
Until now the path had mostly descended, however, before reaching Lukla it turns into a steady climb, the last challenge of this trek. Even though trekking at roughly 2800m, the vegetation resembles mostly a jungle than an alpine forest, with tall trees draping with prayer flags and a warm atmosphere. Soon we crossed through Pasang Lhamu Sherpa gate at the outskirts of Lukla, headed up the stone slabs streets and reached the lodge which was going to be our home for the night. No sooner did we enter the lodge that a heavy rain started to pour outside. We had arrived just in time 🙂
“Chorten” commemorating lives lost in a plane crash in Lukla Airport
forgot something at home? you can probably find it on Lukla’s shopping streets 😀
Sheltered from the rain, we sat by the warm stove enjoying a double fruit salad, the first fresh fruits we ate in days. The rest of the evening we spent resting, reading by the stove and chatting with an American family who had also just completed their Everest base camp trek.
We managed to trek 28km, descending roughly 760m and climbing 150m in about 31217 steps.
The following morning we were going to wake up very early to catch the first flight off the mountain… or at least that’s what we were hoping 🙂
For more pictures, check our EBC day 11 photo album 🙂