My first visit to trek in the Himalayas was back in 2000. I spent 13 days hiking from Lukla to Gokyo Ri and back. It was and continues to be one of the most unique experiences in the world. The first time was challenging even though I had just finished summiting Mt. Rainer twice earlier that year and was in great shape. The years and mileage to this body certainly didn’t make this current trip any easier.
The best time of the year to visit is in April/May or October/November. Skies are generally clear during these times, but you might find more crowds. Because of the weather, those attempting to summit Mt. Everest usually go during these times as well, however, there’s no guarantee that conditions won’t drastically change. Spring or fall seasons are usually cold, often dipping below freezing. Since we had been traveling for 4 months already and had 11 more months to go, our clothing choices were limited and we relied on layering to help regulate our body heat—a wicking layer of synthetic or thin wool, an insulating layer of 800 fill-power down jacket, and an outer shell of PacLite GoreTex. By using a combination of these layers, we stayed fairly comfortable during our trek. Continue reading
Initially, I wasn’t going to write about our trekking experience in Nepal. I wasn’t happy about many aspects of our porter, but I was willing to chalk it up to the luck of the draw when hiring a someone without references upon landing in Lukla. That is until our porter, Karma Sherpa, sent Sheri a particularly nasty message on Facebook. It was difficult to understand because his English is atrocious, but we managed to get the gist of it. In it he makes some reference to the Japanese trekker who died just days after we started our trek, further saying that the Japanese and Chinese are not strong and that Sherpas in the mountains are strong. He goes on to say he doesn’t like Chinese or Japanese and he didn’t think we were good tourists because he says we didn’t tip him. He also included a graphic of a person with a fish head which is a derogatory depiction for Japanese, because they eat a lot of fish. In response to his rather racist message to us, I’m posting his Facebook page and photo here so that others don’t make the mistake of hiring him upon arrival to Lukla. Continue reading
Our new friends at the local hotel (we discovered that hotels are actually taverns and motels are places to sleep) eagerly welcomed us like long lost cousins to the family. Pretty soon, Shona, behind the bar, and her daughter, Kalani, were trying to get us to sing karaoke and everyone was telling us off-color jokes. It was all good-natured fun and felt like we had stepped onto the set of a Crocodile Dundee movie. Some people went by a nickname and they’ve had the nickname so long, people don’t even remember their real name. There was Shakespeare, Winky (Peter), and Grub (Grub). Sheri became besties with Ona (Fiona), who owned the store and petrol station next door. Soon she was joking with Sheri and urging us to go see a sheep shearing, because that’s where Grub was working tomorrow. Everyone was fairly drunk, so we took it all as pleasant banter brought about by alcohol. Continue reading
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring 1892-1973, author