Our expedition to the Everest Base Camp started from Lukla in the afternoon of 18th October 2016. Lukla is a small mountain village which situates at a modest elevation of 2850m. Most of the trekkers, like us, who arrived late here, were having their lunch and beer before the start of the trek. Perhaps everyone was gulping their last beer as consumption of alcohol at higher altitudes is believed to cause dehydration and triggers Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
During the season the Lukla Airport remains busy almost the entire day with frequent in and out flights and rescue helicopters. The streets of Lukla has variety of shops and one can have basic western style meals and pick up any last minute items for trekking ahead. After lunch we merrily began the trek at 12.45PM. At the beginning of the trail there is a memorial gate dedicated to Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepalese woman to climb the summit of Mount Everest.
The trail heads down from here for about 30 minutes before leveling at the village Ghat. Here we spun the prayer wheels clockwise walking left around, passed the mani stones and then went ahead on the trail. The path was now relatively flat and easy up to the most popular day one destination Phakding. We reached Phakding in 2 hours from Lukla where we stopped for some snacks and tea.
We continued further to reach the village Monjo but after covering only about 3Kms one of our friends, Prakash, started shivering. He was not feeling well and hardly could walk further. We stopped near a lodge and decided to call off the day. The village was Toktok! Prakash had high fever with no apparent symptoms. In the mountains you don’t get doctors and in such a situation the first aid kit is your only help. His health did not improve much in the next morning and unexpectedly our trek came to a halt that too at such a modest elevation. What would you do when your partner fell sick and can’t walk further? We had two options. First, leave Prakash in the lodge with guide and Porter, get separated and continue with the walk. Second option, use buffer day and stay with him. We chose the later despite of the fact that we would have no more buffer days as per the itinerary.
On day two, while Prakash was resting in the lodge, Kamal and I went for a day hike to the village Benkar on a trail that was with little ups and downs, through the trees, over the tiny waterfalls and into the valleys. Today we got to see many Buddhist player wheels and mani stones and encountered our first big suspension bridge over the river Dudhkoshi. The sides of suspension bridge were coverd by prayer flags which boosted our confidence and we kept walking with his (Lord Buddha) blessings.We saw locals engaged in their daily lives and it was charming walking into the valleys. There, a boy was plucking pears and I caught one for a small cost.
After a pleasant walk up to Benkar we returned to the lodge and found Prakash lying with high fever. We all were worried about him and our onward journey to EBC. It was the end of day two and we were staying in the same place where we slept last night!
You can read the day to day account of my Everest Base Camp Trek here-