Deboche to Monjo – Day 17 – Trek to Everest Base Camp


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It’s Day 17 of our trek to Everest Base Camp.  Today it is truly spring.  Birds sing, the sun is shining and it’s much, much warmer all round.  We’re on our way home and Nepal is sending us off in fine style.  We pass the Tengboche Monastery (again) and lunch in Namche (again) on our route down from Deboche to Monjo.

Deboche Campsite

Deboche to Monjo Trail Conditions

The ground that was muddy yesterday is crispy under our feet this morning, as we hike back up the steps to the Tengboche monastery.

Deboche to Monjo Trail

We get a final look at Everest and then we’re on our way down to Namche for lunch.

 

Prayer Flags and Prayer Stones Deboche to Monjo

Cairn at Tengboche

Prayer Stones Nepal

Deboche to Monjo Altitude Change

Today’s trip will take us from 3820 meters, at the Deboche campsite, to Namche at 3440 meters, and then down to Monjo for the night at 2835 meters.

Deboche to Monjo Map

Deboche to Monjo Map

There are folks walking up, showing the signs of too much sun and too little cream already.  We’re all still in long sleeves as protection against the sun.  There’s also signs of folks wearing far too little.

Deboche to Monjo Trail Conditions

What to Wear while Trekking?

You’re given guidance on trekking in Nepal and dress conservatively is one of them.  Be aware of the cultural differences between your country this this wonderful place.  When we all spot the young woman trekking alone wearing little more than brightly colored hot pants and vest top we’re somewhat stunned.

Find out what we gear we took to Everest Base Camp in our Trek Gear list.

But taking the prize for the “wish I’d taken a photo of that” was the woman lower down the valley, who managed to clip her day pack chest strap UNDER her boobs.   Extra support perhaps?   Nigel claims he didn’t see it…

What remains in my mind the most as Rod, Darryl, Nigel and I almost saunter down towards Namche are the Rhododendrons.  They are quite simply stunning, providing a foreground perspective to every glorious mountain vista.

Rhododendron Nepal

 

I feel an increasing sadness that I’m slowly leaving this place.  That the stark unforgiving beauty that we’ve seen higher up has now given way to what is definitely spring.  But there’s also the warmth of the thought of spring bringing new life here in the mountains.

Spring Flowers Nepal

We walk slower, not faster as we descend

And it feels so carefree as we wander down, sure we’re keeping a decent pace, but there’s also a reluctance to go fast, because we want to remain here as long as we can and have it not finish.  It’s a distinctly different feeling from a few days ago, when I just wanted to get there!

Here, en route are the water driven prayer wheels  – some in action, some not, as the spring melt is well under way.   And that’s one of the things I love about this country – that everywhere you turn, there is homage paid, prayers offered in such a beautiful way.

 

There’s sorrow too, for the work that many of these beautiful people have to undertake  in order to make their living – we pass many porters heading up, carrying their unbearable loads of wood.

Porters heading up the trail

There are porters as young as 8 laboring under loads that we would struggle to carry and water pipes making their way up the mountain.

New water pipes transport Nepal

It’s a sad fact that if we want these services that we’ve enjoyed at higher altitudes at the cost that we have paid, then this is the way that these items get taken there.   There are no roads, no air drop off for the daily living.

Porters Carrying Immense Loads Nepal

There are yaks of course, but even that’s hard work.  The woman driving this yak seemed to put 10 times as much effort into getting the yak to move as the yak did in moving.

Traffic James enroute from Deboche to Monjo

Just before Namche, I get brave, after more than two weeks in the mountains. I’m no longer standing to the side of the trail, brandishing my ninja yak fighting trek pole.  I’m walking with yaks!

We arrive for lunch in Namche in more wonderful sunshine.

Views over Namche Bazaar

There’s a group lunching like we did two weeks ago, heading on up the mountain and we’re pounced on.  They’ve just arrived on their trek from Monjo to Namche.   They have questions of “how was it? and did you use enough sunscreen? At which point I realize that the state of the end of my nose must be truly disgusting, being that I can peel crusty pieces of skin the size of my thumb .  I blame it on having a cold and constantly blowing my nose.  That reminds me to tell them that we all ended up with bloody snot as well.

Yak Bells

Our appetite returns as we descend

Meg has done us proud and how he does it we don’t know, but there are cinnamon rolls for lunch.  As a starter. And they’re wonderful.

Cinammon Rolls at Namche Bazaar

Then after lunch we head back down the dreaded steps, saunter through the woods, dance around a Japanese film crew who are darting left, right and center despite the altitude and take the lower of the two bridges across the river.

At the bottom of the Namche Steps

 

 

Wildlife on the Trail

We’re almost to Monjo, trekking amiably with Darryl, when it’s apparent that traveling with a bunch of Aussies is a really good move.  A snake slithers down a rock on our right, gives us a glare and slides across the trail.  Nonplussed, Darryl keeps us back, but doesn’t hold back when we meet the rest of the group in his tales of dering do and bravery fighting off one of the more dangerous poisonous snakes in Nepal.

Snake

Monjo is a relief when we arrive.  Familiarity.  And no need for the stove to be lit, its pretty warm down here now. There’s good humor as we collect money for the crew’s tips and Lalit even dances when we present it to them.

Tipping our Guides and Porters

Our Trekking Group

We’re sharing the lodge and the campground with a new group.  There are six or seven of them, they’re heading to Ama Dablam base camp, this is their first day.  Unlike us they didn’t just trek from Lukla to Monjo on day one.  It appears to have been a trial just getting to Monjo.  First of all their plane couldn’t land at Lukla, so they were somewhere else yesterday.   There are requests for massages and complaints about feet hurting.   I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one thanking my lucky stars that I’m with the group that I was with for this trek.

That’s obvious when they’re getting their briefing for the following days trek to Namche.  I am very glad for Ramesh, who never soft soaped the way that they’re been told about the trail.

“Are there toilets” one asks.

There’s a silence in the room.  Broken, first, I think by Kim, who fails to contain a snort of laughter.  The rest of us follow and try to look interestedly at our feet.  Were we ever this green?  ?  I think not, I’m pretty sure we knew that there were huge numbers of toilets.  The bush and rock shaped ones, of course.

It’s as we sit there chuckling in companionable  warmth that I realize how lucky we have been.  To trek with this crew.  To have such knowledgeable Sherpas in Lhapka, Meg and Moni. To have a leader like Ramesh, who has told us not just of the mountains,  but also of the history, and of the economics of this wonderful country.

But also to have been part of a group that has enjoyed each other company.  We have helped each other, laughed with each other   These are the things that I will remember for many , many years.

Since we trekked here in 2015 we’ve met up with most of the folks that we trekked with.  We met Rod in Thailand, we travelled to Perth to see Darryl, Pam and Kim.  We hiked with Simona and Saga in Sydney and also met Simona in Auckland, New Zealand.  We tracked Ramesh down in Melbourne and we all stay in touch via Facebook or email too.

Tomorrow is our final day.  We’re heading from here in Monjo to Lukla.  And after a night in Lukla we’ll hopefully fly back to Kathmandu.

 

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About Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter is an avid reader, writer and traveller. She loves hiking, sailing, skiing and exploring the world through food. She left a successful career in IT security and compliance in both the UK and US to travel the world with husband and partner in adventure, Nigel.

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