With EBC and the Three Passes accomplished, the time you spend around Namche and Lukla is time you don’t have to spend in Kathmandu, which in my book, is a good idea. The only consideration is when you get on the waitlist for a plane as weather could strand you for several nights, though in general, we were told the planes usually find windows.
Thame, Namche, Lukla
The hike from Thame to Namche found us in trees again. It was a strange sight for me. There is a different kind of beauty to forests as opposed to mountains. For most of the trek, we felt like we were hiking through civilization, with towns dotting the trail, and Nepalis going about their business.
In one town, we passed a powerhouse and I wondered if the hydrodam that supplies the power for the region was somewhere nearby (none that I could later find on google).
When we reached Namche, it seemed odd to me, much different than we had arrived just 12 days ago. It also seemed deserted, with May drawing to a close and wet weather on the horizon, we had come to the off season.
We stopped at the Sherpa Barista coffee shop and I ate so much sugar I made myself sick, so I took a nap. When I woke up, I went back and ate so much sugar I got sick. It was not my finest hour. I’m not sure if my cravings had to do with my physical state or my emotional state at not wanting to leave the Khumbu. Probably both.
Bryon found some beer instead. Probably would have been a better idea.
The next day, we departed for Lukla on a near deserted trail. There didn’t seem to be many groups coming in that day.
Lukla and getting a flight out
We stayed at the Himalaya Lodge overlooking the airstrip (sort of). The lodge manager eagerly joined us at our table to ask what we had arranged for a flight out. It was obvious to me he had interest in selling us our tickets.
Shortly afterwards, a young man came to the table noticeably upset that he had not made a flight out that day. He said he had suffered an altitude problem and had been flown down on a chopper and desperately needed to get to Kathmandu. He looked fine to me and I wasn’t particularly pleased he’d chosen to include us in his squabble with the lodge manager. Though, at the same time, I was happy to hear about the inability to get on a plane, whether it was the lodge manager’s fault or not.
We had purchased our tickets in Kathmandu and scheduled them for the last possible day we needed to be back in Kathmandu to catch our international flight the next day. That was still 3 days from when we arrived in Lukla.
We went to the office of the airline that night, who gave us new tickets for the next day. The next morning, we packed up, went to the airport and got on the first plane out. Whether we were lucky in picking the right airline, or lucky in that we bought our tickets in Kathmandu, I’m not sure. There certainly seemed to be many trekkers at the airport that didn’t have the experience we had. Our airline was Sita Air.
I can’t abide Kathmandu. Dusty, dirty, hawkers everywhere. We wasted the 2 days left at the monkey temple and watching some cremations and on the final evening, I ate meat, pork actually. And that dreaded digestive ailment that I was so careful to avoid in the Khumbu assaulted me furiously 4 hours later. It was not the most fun flight home…