- Thursday 28th September 2017
- Day 1 Lukla to Phakding
- Altitude start : 2,853 (9,369ft)
- Altitude finish : 2,600 (8,500ft)
When does the dream become a reality – it’s just happened today! We got our first view of Mount Everest. Towering above all the other mountains she stood before us! So today we started off early in order to arrive at Kathmandu airport to catch our 7.35am flight, on a twin-engine Otter, which would take us to the Himalaya foothills situated in Lukla. There was nervous silence between everyone as it is well known that Luklas runway has a vertical landing strip on the side of a mountain and being the world’s most dangerous airport, it was a little concerning! This remote airstrip provides a gateway to the region. Nepal looks stunning from the air. Flying through the Himalayas was spectacular with high mountains on either side which I could almost touch, we were barely flying above some of the mountain passes. And then she appeared, the mightest of mightest – Everest – she was easy to recognise as she towered above the other massive peaks and I mean towered – wow, it was something quite amazing! Eventually we see the runway at Lukla and landed effortlessly in Tensing Hillary Airport, we had reached our destination – there was a shout of joy! We had a good day to fly but you can clearly see how things could go wrong! Later in the day our guide told us there was only a crash 3 weeks beforehand, he said he tries his hardest to stay here as he is scared of the flight. He also showed us a memorial that had been built in respect of a plane crash which had killed all 16 passengers! So after a 45 minute ‘break’ in Lukla, which involved grabbing some toast, sorting out our rucksacks, toilet break etc etc we began our journey into the Khumba region from this busy mountain village located at 2,860m. The views were already stunning as we followed the Dodh Kosi River (known as the Milky River due to its colour) which runs between two forrested valley walls. The water from this river comes from the glaciers at Everest. Everything from Lukla upwards needs to be carried. There are no roads or vehicles so all building materials, fuel, food and drink needs to be transported up the mountain – either by human, mules, cows, or yaks. Day one and I already have the utmost respect for the porters who can carry loads of 50-100kgs (110-220lbs). They busily go up and down the trail at full speed. Already you can begin to see why the area is known as the Nepali Flat and the locals say “it’s just a little bit up a little bit down”, now bearing in mind they call Ben Nevis a little hill I think I can leave that one to your imagination! So after a fantastic day which involved a short 2hrs 30 mins trek through breathtaking scenery we reached our destination of Phakding, a beautiful hamlet sandwiched between mountains and river. Here we will stay in a local tea house for the night…and tomorrow begin the day at 6am!!
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Amazing photos Mary.