28-29 March 2012
Namche bazaar (3,440m/11,284ft) to Lukla to Kathmandu
The descent from Namche to Lukla was another eight-hour, steep, downhill trek. Thanks to my new knee brace and some more Ibuprofens, I was feeling a little better than I had been feeling.
As we left Sagarmatha National Park, we had to cross the same suspension bridges we had encountered on the way up, and, since spring had arrived and the temperature was rising as we descended, we were seeing a lot more flowers than we had seen on the way up. I was amazed by the difference in blossoming trees in only eleven days! Now, again, we trekked along the Dudhkoshi River, on the trail back to Lukla.
Once in Lukla, we went to the lodge directly across from the airport. From there, we would catch a morning flight back to Kathmandu.
This was the last time we would be seeing our Sherpa, Dawa, and our porters. The bittersweet combination of the celebration of our success and the poignancy of our farewells called for some well-earned Everest Beer, red wine, and hot lemon tea. We expressed our deepest gratitude to everyone—especially our porters—who had worked so hard behind the scenes to make our trek possible.
In the morning, we walked over to the airport to wait for our flight. It had been a heartbreaking moment, to have to say goodbye to the people we had been so close to for almost two weeks—and it was no less heartbreaking to have to leave the Himalayas.
After a wild takeoff and another amazing flight, we landed at Kathmandu, collected our bags, and checked into our hotel room, where we all enjoyed being able to take hot showers and wash our hair.
After a brief rest, we checked in with the Himalayan Glacier Trekking Company (HGT) office, and the wonderful folks there greeted us with big smiles. We could not thank them enough. Their level of service—beginning with the planning of the trip, and continuing through the smooth execution of our entire itinerary and the end our journey—was way beyond our expectations. I highly recommend HGT and Mindu Sherpa to anyone who is interested in trekking and climbing in the Himalayan Region. I hope I have a chance to trek in the Himalayas once again, but, whether I go back or not, I will never forget this, my first trek to the Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar.
If you’d like to go back and read earlier parts of my Himalayan journal, click on one of the links below. (There is no journal for Day 1, which was spent in Kathmandu, meeting with HGT team, Mindu Sherpa, planning, packing, and preparing for our trek.)
Photos taken by Hema Patel, Anil Patel and Mindu Sherpa
Editing by Veronica McDavid, WordsOnTheWebNY@gmail.com