“I’m homeward bound!” That thought was foremost in my mind as we left Gokyo. We’d been on the trek for sixteen days- and before that, I had spent almost three weeks in the Annapurna region doing the circuit there. So, yes- I had some extra gas in my tank as we headed for our last high pass- Renjo La- and then the walk down the Bhote Kosi valley to Thame and on to Namche Bazaar and the airport down in Lukla.
Again- the weather gods smiled on us as we dealt with the last of the high passes. As the pix show, we had a perfect day to make the ascent to the pass from our Gokyo lodge. The views of Everest and the mountains and glacier we had walked over to get to Renjo La did not stop being stupendous. (My Brit fellow-trekkers were big on the word “brilliant”; I used the perhaps more North American “wow” and “holy moly” to give inadequate sound to the feeling of looking back and seeing what the pix show.)
At the top of the pass, we met a couple of dogs who would join our caravan for the next day. They were in good physical shape and seemed well-fed; they were not shy and took the ear scratches I offered with no complaints. They did score some scraps at lunchtime on the other side of the pass- and the cooks also put out something for them after supper.
BTW- bhikku is a Pali term to describe a Buddhist monk, whose daily food requirements are met by lay people who put food in his bowl as he wanders down the roads of life.
We tented somewhere near Lungden after descending from the pass and having lunch. The next day we walked the distance all the way down to Namche. It was perhaps the easiest walking that we had done in the almost three weeks we had been on the trek with our Sherpa guides, cooks, camp team, porters and (for some of the trek) the yaks.
As we entered Lukla the big topic was the weather and whether it would hold. We had heard the stories of trekkers stranded in Lukla for days because the planes could not land because of bad weather. After a night at a Lukla lodge, we headed for the airstrip. To the very last day our luck had held- by noon we were back in Kathmandu, blown away by the transition from one superlative to another- from our fantastic walk through and over the best of the Khumbu back to the great valley we now landed in, with its cultural highlights like Bodhnath and Swayambhu and Bhaktapur…another post will explore the city that I think is the most amazing expression of human culture. More “wow” to come!
If you’ve stumbled into this mess of words and pix and actually read all the way to this point, well – first of all, “Congratulations!” and secondly, you might want to check out the first post in the series-
More than anything I’ve uploaded these posts in the hope of showing people that the trips are worth doing – and that they can do them too. After all, it is not a climb up to Kala Patthar or Everest Base Camp, it is a walk on a trail!