Day 12 – Namche Bazar (11,286 ft) – Phakding (8,563 ft) – Lukla (9,317 ft)
The last day of walking was a bit of a long haul, taking around seven hours, including a long lunch break at Phakding. We had caught up again with the large group that we have met several times on our journey, and all had lunch together. After lunch it was a long uphill trudge, and we finally arrived in Lukla at around 3pm.
The track was so much busier than we had been used to higher up in the mountains, and the bridges were often bottle-necked, with well laden porters and yak all trying to cross at once!
I feel a little bit sad that the whole incredible adventure is almost over, but my legs are incredibly relieved that the most walking they have to do tomorrow is from the hotel to the airport for the flight back to Kathmandu!
Day 13 – Lukla – Kathmandu
After a few celebratory beers the night before, getting up was a bit of a struggle, but it was important to be at Lukla airport in reasonable time , as flights only tend to operate in the morning, when the weather is clear, and getting a seat back to Kathmandu can be a bit of a lottery if it’s busy. It was going to be even more tricky, as we were trying to fly back four days ahead of our scheduled departure date.
But with some help from Deepak it was all sorted out, and by 9am we had negotiated our way through the entertaining chaos of Lukla airport, and were on another Twin Otter, hurtling down the steep runway, and soaring into the mountains. The take-off is quite alarming, as the runway slopes down steeply, and just as the plane becomes airborne, the ground falls away to the valley floor far below.
I do have some video of the take-off, as well as of some of the mountains, so will see if I can get it edited together soon.
I’m now back in my cheapie hotel in Kathmandu, where internet access is free, but provision of an electricity supply is sporadic at best. I have a few spare days now, and plan to catch up on email, and get as much planning done as possible for the next few weeks.
I seem to be developing a bit of a cold at the moment, which is unsurprising, considering the amount of time I have spent in cold conditions, surrounded by coughing, sneezing, sniffing companions. I just consider myself extremely lucky not to have had any of the stomach upsets that all trekkers are “guaranteed” to have at some point during their trip. I reckon that after all my travelling, and easy-going attitude to street food, I now have innards of cast-iron. I certainly hope so, it’s off to India next, ultimate test of the digestive system!!