Thursday 25th May
Today was our first pure trekking day – a wilderness day as it was described this morning. It was about a 9klm walk, which including tea and rest breaks, took about 6 hours.
Our route was from Ghat (altitude 2590 metres) to Monjo (2830 metres) following the Dudh Koshi. Dudh Koshi means Milk or Milky River, so named because of the milky colour of the water, which is caused by the minerals which are dissolved in it from its glacial source near Mount Everest. It runs for some 100 klms or so before joining other rivers which eventually merge into the Ganges.
We were accompanied on the whole walk by the gentle roar of the river (if that's not oxymoronic), interrupted only by the invasive staccato of the choppers ferrying people and goods up and down the valley between Lukka and Namche Bazaar and beyond and the gentle tinkling of the bells around the necks of the horse/mule caravans also ferrying goods between Lukla and Namche.
The walk started out in the misty rain, which slowly cleared as the day wore on, only turning rainy again in the late afternoon. I noticed the vast improvements in the path from the last time I was here. Our main guide Rishi told me that previously trekking fees all went to the central government, and now they are shared between the local government and the parks department. As a result the local government is putting a lot of money into improvements along the way. You'll see this in some of the photos below.
Even with the slightly overcast weather the views were spectacular – I hope the photos give some sense of this.
We crossed the Dudh Koshi twice on suspension bridges. Those of you who know me know that these are not my favourite structures. But I've created a new system and surprisingly found that the crossings weren’t so bad – even enjoyable!! (Compare this to my experiences in “Bridges I Have Crossed”.)
We are a group of 14. Without doing any calculations I guess that the average age is around about mine (with one outlier). We’re an eclectic mob – most are sort of from NSW (two of those actually live in Zurich and one in New York), two are from Vic, two from Tassie, and me. We have a guide team of three – leader Rishi, and Lok and Denish.
My bag, and one other, about to head up the hill.
Above two - mani stones, the latter with the river in the distance.
Above: assorted river/valley views
Horse v cow traffic jam
Rishi tells me that a lot of the buildings/houses are new, having been rebuilt after the 2015 earthquake
Significant improvements to the track, both made and underway
The things you see ...
Later this afternoon a small group of us went exploring to the top of town. We chanced upon the Utche Chholing Monastery, where we were welcomed by the head lama Mr Lama Ngawang Dorjee Sherpa, who graciously showed us around the monastery.
Lastly, our support crew - guides and porters.
Off to Namche tomorrow via the Sagarmāthā National Park gate ...