|So much to say. This may be a long entry. I will try to add some pictures along the way. Haven't been able to as yet although I have loaded 3 different albums on Facebook.
It's been 3 days since the last update. We left our hotel in Kathmandu at 5:15 am to get to the airport for an early flight to Lukla. Like everything else here we got to the airport early but had a 2 hour delay due to cloud cover in Lukla. We finally took off in a twin otter. The flight attendant gave us mints and cotton for our ears! The flight was incredible. We wound our way through the mountains very close at times. We were told that we were in a holding pattern waiting for the clouds to clear. They also told us we were going to have to go to a different airport to wait it out. About 10 minutes later we looked over the pilot's shoulder to see landing strip that was very small. He tilted the nose down and the runway was actually uphill!
When we got out of the plane we saw that we were actually in Lukla. the clouds had cleared just long enough to land. apparently the Lukla airport is one of the most dangerous ones in the world. That's good to know after you have landed! When you have a closer look at the landing strip you can see why. When we leave we will be taking off downhill.
One thing that hit Mary & I right away was the air was clean and fresh. The temperature was a little cool but the sun was shining and the scenery was spectacular. It was nice to leave the noise & pollution of Kathnmandu.
We spent about 2 hours in Lukla in one of Eoin's friends internet cafe. We had lunch, used the internet, & repacked our backpacks for our trek. We spent about 2 hours trekking to our Sherpa guide's (Cammie) Teahouse in Ghat. It was mostly downhill with lots of people on the trail. We got to Cammie's around 2 pm. The first thing we were greeted with was welcome lemon tea. We had a lovely stay with a great dinner. They went out of their way for "Poppa" Eoin & put on a big spread.
We left Cammie's around 7:30 am after a breakfast of porridge and French toast. We walked for about 45 minutes and stopped in at a small tea house in Pakding for a rest. The main reason we stopped was that the owner was a good friend of Eoin's and he wanted to give her some business. There is a real pattern starting to show here!! After a slight rest we trekked for about 2 hours and stopped at the Waterfall View Tea House in Benkar for lunch. After lunch it was on to The Nirvana Tea house in Jorsale. All in all it was about 5 hours of hiking.
The Nirvana Tea house was a real treat as it had showers. It was wonderful to get clean again with warm water! Food was great and they had a wood stove in the common room. A lot of times the tea houses are cool in the evening and I think you feel it more when you are higher up.
We left the next day (Monday) at 7:45 for a 3 hour hike to Namche Bazar. This was the most challenging trek so far. We had about a 500 meter (1600 feet) altitude gain today. Our pace was slow and steady with many rests. It was a little like doing the Grouse Grind for 3 hours at 10,000 feet. Along the way the scenery kept getting better. Mountain peaks all around us and deep valleys with rivers at the bottom of them. At one point we were coming down a small and narrow rock stairway and a group of Jock Jocks (like a Yak) were coming behind us. We stopped to let them pass. As we were watching one of the animals slipped and started to go over the edge of the trail. It actually did a complete roll with the handler trying to stop it. The Jock Jock got his footing and got back to the trail. He was pretty freaked out. One more roll and he would have gone down the bank into the river about 1000 feet below. We were pretty upset with the whole thing. I can't blame the handler but it would have been ugly if the animal went over the edge.
We arrived in Namche around noon & checked into the Kumba Lodge. This is like a 5 star hotel to us. Everyone has their own bathroom with a shower!! After lunch we took a small hike up to the Edmund Hillary museum. Very interesting.
In closing the trek so far has been everything we hoped for and then some. Eoin has been very wise in having us take our time and not go too far in any day. The scenery is spectacular.
tomorrow will be a short trek (2 hours) with lots of rest time afterwards.