To do so in all situations will take time, but you should not lose courage. If we wish happiness for mankind, love is the only way.
Day 12 Down to Lukla
We now start our final day in the Everest region. We leave Namche after breakfast and head out of town to descend the steep hill with many switchbacks. Along the way, we stop at the point where you get your first view of Everest on the way up. We’re lucky to have clear skies and a straight view to Everest far in the distance again.
We continue and retrace our steps, cross the suspension bridges, and walk through all of the many small villages along the trail. We stop for lunch at Phakding, the same teahouse we spent our first night on the trek. Here we see a friend we met back in Namche at beginning of the trip, when she was descending after having made it to EBC. She didn’t have a rush to get anywhere, so she’s been taking in the sights nearby and also making friends with the local Nepali.
The rest of the afternoon we marched on towards Lukla. The sights on a hike back are always a mix of familiar and new; interesting how some things register clearly with you and other things you clearly didn’t pay much attention to previously. During one-hour long section of the walk, a dog joins us from one of the villages. He stays with us as we pass through several other villages, while going up and down hills and crossing suspension bridges. He doesn’t look particularly hungry. Maybe his motivation is just the freedom of leaving his town and accompanying some new people for a couple of hours. Not a bad way to be and we also enjoy his company.
Near the last village before Lukla, our guide tries to adopt one of the puppies that we see on the trail. This pup could not be any cuter and has a beautiful patchy black & white coat. We play with the pup to put him at ease and then half-jokingly draw him out of town with games and petting. He responds to all of the attention and starts toying with us by running ahead of us on the trail and waiting until we get close and then running off again. This continues for a while as we laugh and forget about our long day of hiking until we hear yells from behind us. Apparently, our dog-napping attempt has gone unappreciated by the puppy’s actual owner! The owner gives chase, catches up with us, and a conversation about selling the pup ensues between our guide and him, but the owner has no interest in selling. When the opportunity arises and the puppy gets close, I catch and scoop him up in one hand. I hand him over to his rightful owner as I feel the little pup’s tiny heart beating a frantic drum.
We make it into Lukla shortly thereafter and find several groups of kids playing badminton on the trail. Shuttlecocks fly through the air, some land near us or fly over our heads, and we get smiles and “sorry” from several girls. Lukla is a lively little town, more active than all the other towns that we’ve traveled through here. Kids, yaks, dogs, horses, chickens, and trekkers alike share the narrow central path through this part of town.
We arrive at the same teahouse that marked the beginning of our trek and first lunch in the region. We take a victory photo together and savor the satisfying trip. Here in the middle of January, we are just at the time where things will close or almost completely wind down until more activity starts again in February. We’re given a nice room in this nearly deserted teahouse and we’re delighted that it has a twin bed and a tiny private bathroom.
This evening, we will have traditional Nepali dinner together with our guide and porters. While we don’t all speak the same language, sharing dinner together is a great way to end our shared experience on this journey of bitter cold, stunning sights, and personal accomplishments. The next morning, we walk just steps from the teahouse to take our exciting flight to Kathmandu from Lukla to conclude our Everest Base Camp trek and look forward to taking our first shower in 12 days!