Starting Day. The night before the briefing we were told that wake up time will be at 4.00am then breakfast at 4.30am and then we will head to the airport at 5.00am. Just outside the airport there was long line of people trying to get into the airport. That took 45minutes. Then it was announced that our flight will delay for 3 hours due maintenance.
The plane ride itself was an adventure. As we were heading into mountainous land the turbulence was at the max. I kept holding myself close to the seat in front just to make sure I am ok. Since it was small very noisy plane, instead of earplugs were given chunks of cotton to stick in our ears to avoid eardrum damage – and lots of candies.
Flying time wasn’t that long. 45mins and we were ready to land. To me it felt like 20mins because I was busy trying to locate Mount Everest and was holding tight due to the turbulence. Here is even funnier part: there is only one landing strip at Lukla, which is up the hill and the parking /taxing is at the corner. So to land, the pilot has to make sure the plane has climbed the hill and then takes a corner to taxi and then park. Too bad our flight seemed like a last one as the rest for that day were cancelled.
After another breakfast at Lukla we started to walk to Phakding. It was about 7.8km and it took us about 4hrs to pass through the villages. I was surprised by the number of people who live along the trail and at such high altitude. Phakding is lower than Lukla at 2610 metres. However that still didn’t mean it was all down hill no! I was sweating and I was tired by the time I got to the lodge. Before I started climbing I thought we were staying in the tent, but was taken by surprise to see house made out of rocks. So all the time when we were hiking for 9 days we stayed in the lodges, sleeping on beds, eating in the heated dining room. It’s getting even colder as I am writing this: its 6.5 degrees C. There is a thermometer near me.