Trekking in Nepal Everest Trek Schedule 17
Friday 10th November
If anything, the weather was even worse than yesterday. The downpour was relentless. It hardly inspired confidence for the day ahead. My plan had been to walk down to Lukla with Paul and fly back to Kathmandu tomorrow. The weather looked like it had other ideas, so I decided to see if my flight could be changed to leave from Shyangboche instead.
This meant a visit to the Everest Air office. It was dead quiet as I walked through the village. All the paths were now like little rivers flowing down the mountain. The whole place was like one big mudbath. No-one was in the office but it wasn’t long before someone attended to me. As expected, all the seats on the Shyangboche-Kathmandu flight were taken. There was no alternative but to walk to Lukla today. I bought some postcards, and a walking stick to aid any descents down any muddy slopes that might have to be negotiated on the route to Lukla.
Peter thought that Paul and I were mad to attempt to walk to Lukla in this awful weather. I packed my rucksack and put on my wet weather gear. The rain was as persistent as ever. At 10 a.m. Peter saw us off. A message would be left for him at the Puska Hotel in Kathmandu to say that we had got back safely. I felt rather envious of Peter, snug in the warm confines of the Himalayan Lodge, while Paul and I braved the elements.
There was no time for small talk so we just got our heads down and walked at a brisk pace towards our goal, Lukla. The path was not as bad as feared because there was gravel on it from Namche downwards. This made the walk easier but it was still treacherous in parts.
The stick was not really needed but it did come in handy at one point. Some yaks were being herded down a slope and one refused to budge thus blocking our way. We waited patiently for it to move. In exasperation Paul took the slippery route past the yak. Bad move! Paul suddenly lost his footing and was about to slide down the bank but quick thinking on my part saved him. I stretched out and hauled him back up with my stick. It served its purpose although it was more of a hindrance than a help. Paul would probably have been OK but may have scared a few people off by looking like the bogeyman! After that narrow escape Paul was not so impatient at yak hold-ups.
Monjo was reached in under two hours. Tea and biscuits were served at Mt Kailash Lodge. After fifteen minutes we were on our way again. It was tiring work wading through rivers, streams and villages awash with water. The water came up to our ankles. There were sherpas using polythene sheets as waterproof clothing and walking barefoot! We plodded on and, after the final crossing over the river, stopped for tea at the Garden Lodge in Phakding.
The last stage of our walk to Lukla took a couple of hours. We passed through many small villages. The final ascent to Lukla seemed to take forever. On entering the gateway to the town I yelled out, “Yahooooo!” such was my relief at finally reaching my destination.
There was still the small matter of confirming my seat for the flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow. I called in at the Everest Air office to confirm it, but was told that the flight hinged on the weather, There had been no flights today. Meanwhile Paul went to the Panorama Hotel, which is also owned by Anu, to see if Paulo and Marci were staying there. Paul said that they were staying at the Sherpa Lodge on the other side of the airstrip.
Marci, Paulo and Windy were in the dining lounge when we arrived. They gave us a warm welcome. The proprietor arranged for a bed to be moved into the dormitory for me. At last I could get dry and change into some clean clothes. My rucksack was wet so I emptied it and hung it up to dry. All my clothes were dry as everything in my rucksack had been kept in plastic bags. Experience has taught me that this is a sensible precaution.
After sorting myself out I went down for dinner. Beth and Sam from the States had joined our motley crew. True to form I gorged on vegetable soup, cheese and tomato pizza with chips, apple pie and a Mars bar. This was followed by a veritable feast that we all shared: a few beers, more chips and some popcorn. I deserved it after today’s efforts.
When we went to bed it was still raining heavily. Before tucking in for the night I prayed for clear weather tomorrow. It was a late night for once – 8.30 p.m.