We got up early and headed back up to the Kathmandu airport for another shot at heading to Lukla. Weather was better, but there was still a big backlog of flights due to and from the mountains, so we opted to hire a helicopter to get us to there… so many people were eager to come down that we got our flight at half price (shared with those returning).
The city of Kathmandu rapidly quickly passed below, and we flew over rice paddies terraced into the hills. We got our first look at the Himalayas themselves… unimaginably tall, steep, austere, and beautiful. Up and up we went, over ridges and forests that zoomed just beneath the chopper… until Lukla came into sight. It is a village perched on a very steep mountainside, with a short runway cut at an angle (and ending in a cliff face). In an airplane this makes for an exciting landing… in the chopper, everything was smooth and dignified.
We met more team members in Lukla, including our other world-class climbing guide Phinjo, who hails from a village in the Khumbu named Phortse.
Our porters are incredible, and they started the process of helping us move our kit up the Khumbu Valley. They are essential for our success, working hard to support us every step of the way.
I have decided that every day will have a word for the day. Today’s word: “Auspicious.”
Today’s walk lasted 2.5 hours, and took us DOWN to the Dudh Kosi River, to a small village called Phakding. Dusty trails… Yak trains… deep river gorges… whitewashed temples framed against blue skies… great new friends from around the world… and huge HUGE mountains. An amazing first day on the trail! We are now ensconced in a tea house in Phakding for the night, digesting a great meal and lots of hot tea (and hot tang). 11 hours until we start again.
Connectivity is spotty in the Khumbu… may be a while until my next post. Thanks to all for following.