It’s day 18 of our trek to Everest Base Camp. It’s our final day. We’ve almost made it. Today we head from Monjo to Lukla – back to where we started.
Donating Used Trekking Gear
There’s a basket outside the tents this morning. If we won’t be using our gear again, we’re encouraged to leave it for the crew, regardless of how stinky it might be. Crampons, socks, trekking poles, gaiters and thermals go in from our tent. By the time we all head to breakfast the basket is full and after breakfast we watch the raffle as the crew take up their “winnings”
CAN Nepal and other organizations also provide a kit drop off, in Lukla and Kathmandu – where trekkers can donate unwanted goods.
We’ll give our boots to Lalit, our Sirdhar when we arrive in Lukla tonight. Then before we leave Kathmandu everything else that we’ve bought will go to the CAN Nepal folks. They offer a pick up service from your hotel – it’s easy, you call, they collect.
We’ve kept one thermal top and two buffs from our purchases. We can’t fit anything else in and when we leave Nepal, we won’t be shipping anything home. It’s pretty expensive, and would cost us more to ship items home than they actually cost us. Our donations are fiscal as well as moral.
There’s also a final treat from Meg – he’s making rice pudding as a final culinary farewell, as this is our last campsite and last breakfast with the crew.
Today we walk from Monjo to Ghat (the home of Lhapka’s parents) to have lunch in the same place that we lunched on our first day of trekking. After lunch its the final haul up the steps into Lukla.
Monjo to Lukla Map
In Lukla we’ll stay at a lodge for the night, dine there and be ready for our early morning flight back to Kathmandu (assuming the weather cooperates and allows the planes to land and take off).
Monjo to Lukla Trail
The valley feels very different from when we were on the way up. It was sunny previously, now it’s pretty darned hot. There are signs of new greenery and growth everywhere.
Our pace is definitely slower now, as if we don’t want to leave this glorious place, but before long, the final steps into Lukla are there and we’re drinking our final mug of hot mango at the lodge, which also provides us with en-suite bathrooms! Yes that’s right a toilet and a shower inside the room. Bliss. There’s even hot water for a small extra charge, but I’m going hard core and not showering until I get to Kathmandu, there doesn’t seem much point, none of my clothes are clean anymore – and even the ones that I’ve washed have been done in a dog bowl of washy water using my soap.
Lukla Pub Crawl
In Lukla once we’ve checked in, Marty, Ellen, Nige and I go on a pub crawl. It’s the only pub crawl I’ve ever done where I’ve walked into an English, Irish and Scottish bar and walked out again without having a drink. We end up in the coffee bar area above the Scottish bar, attempting to waylay the effects of 7% Nepal Ice with a plate of chips.
Three beers in, we’re crawling back to the lodge for dinner with the group and then we go to bed, leaving a German group of trekkers dancing with Saga and Simona until the wee small hours of at least 11pm.
There’s an anxiety when we wake, that the weather will be clear, and that we’ll be able to get back to Kathmandu – no one wants to be stuck here now that we’re done. So we have one final egg related breakfast, and then we’re off to the airport.
Our 0715 plane arrives for us early and we’re airborne before we know it. And that’s it. We’re done. We made it, because with this trek, it might not compare to climbing Everest, but the same holds. You haven’t made it until you’ve returned.
Our Trek to Everest Base Camp
We walked for 18 days. We stayed in tents and lodges. We met donkeys and yaks.
Everything we saw, ate and consumed had to be carried up the mountains on either an animal or a person. We trekked in glorious sunshine, in rain and in snow.
We ate pizza and pasta, dhal bhat and eggs. Always the eggs. Momo’s, potatoes and chips. There were even cinnamon rolls on our plates.
We chewed Diamox and antibiotics, drank $4.20 bottles of Sprite and did our business behind rocks, bushes and trees. We drank water, water, water. We peed, peed, peed. We got breathless climbing in and out of sleeping bags.
We saw the real effects of altitude when our fittest group member was evacuated from the mountain just a few days into our trek.
Trekking at altitude carries risks. We insured ourselves through World Nomads – buying specific altitude coverage in case of altitude sickness. We were also able to renew our policy while out of our home country. Get a price for your travel and health insurance now.
We walked to Everest Base Camp and back.
We stood on the top of our world at Kala Pathar at 5540 meters, or 18,208 feet above sea level.
We Left Before The Earthquake of 2015
And – all bar one of us – left Nepal before the tragedy of the 2015 earthquakes happened. Pam’s account of her experience of the quake, while in Kathmandu tells you just how frightening it was, but also of the support of the hotel and World Expeditions staff.
Nepal’s mountains and people have left me with wonderful memories. There is a piece of this country, these Himalaya and these folk that will stay with me forever. I left and immediately, yes, immediately, wanted to go back. Perhaps a trek to see how the mountains differ from east to west, but definitely to trek again.
The country remains in desperate straits. It was incredibly poor before the quakes, but resilient in the face of dealing with the disaster. I’ll return one day to Nepal. While I’m sure that trekking isn’t for everyone – you really have to WANT this to make it happen, I urge you to visit this amazing land.
My Recommendation for World Expeditions
And if you have the opportunity to trek with Ramesh, with Lhapka, with Meg and with Moni – then I cannot recommend them and World Expeditions enough.
We bid farewell to our group in Kathmandu. There’s a final dinner together at the famous Rumdoodle restaurant and bar. It’s where climbers and trekkers over the years have gathered and reminisced and where we leave our mark. Our big foot print hanging on the ceiling to mark our passing and our time on the trail.