Having expected to be getting up for a leisurely 8.30 departure and struggled to get off to sleep until about 2am the knock at the door at 5am cane as a bit of a surprise. Neither Phil nor I were aware that good news had come through the previous evening in that Exodus had secured the first available seats on flights to Lukla. This meant that we had the potential to be on a 6am (extra) flight if the weather was good.
The news from the door knocking was that we had 5 minutes to get up, dressed, packed and downstairs to get the minibus!!! Rather like rabbits in the headlights we made it on pure adrenaline and were shortly driving through the somewhat bumpy roads of Katmandhu to try to reach the plane.
A rush through the baggage checks and into the departure lounge where we were almost immediately called for our flight – we were off!!
Whilst there was still a reasonable level of cloud, amazing views were available to the Himalayas. The landing was quite an experience given the limited forward view that the pilot has of the ramped runway, with little or no option to bail out. We were in expert hands and landed well after having seen our first glimpses of Everest!
Safely arrived at Lukla
Posted by Hamish Watson on Friday, 13 October 2017
Once in Lukla the trip began in earnest with a pleasant walk down from 2800m to 2600m. We arrived mid/late afternoon having seen our bags being carried on the yak / cow cross seen below (pure yaks don’t like low altitude and are therefore used at higher levels only):
These beasts of burden wear bells round their necks and can be heard from a distance along with the calls and whistles from their minders, that said you do pass the odd corner and meet them unexpectedly. They plod on almost trancelike along the flatter areas and choose their footing with more grave than their size suggests. We give them plenty of space and stick to the mountain side as they pass rather than risk being pushed off the path on the opposite side where there are significant drops.
We have already been over various suspension bridges easing ourselves by the bovine bag carriers; as the bridges bounce under our step.
The glacial waters are milky and the rocks are heavily worn with large well rounded pebbles and rocks lining the banks.
Our stop for the night was Phakding.