13.01.10 (again) – 6.20pm (12.40pm UK)
Landed at Lukla Airport safely at 7.15am after a 5.15am alarm – boy that was loud! The plane journey was amazing – a twin engine Otter that we really couldn’t see how we were all going to fit in to, but we did! It was tight – very tight – but we got in. Rob’s left leg was up Mike’s right nostril, one of the new guys – Mark – was nearly on my knee (& he‘s a well built guy) & I can’t begin to report what position John & Bob were in! We made it though & to watch the mountain tops passing by beneath us, to see the mountains through whose valleys we would be walking pass by the windows & to watch the minute runway approach in front of us was absolutely exhilarating. Jude recorded the landing, so hopefully can get it uploaded.
After landing we headed off to eat our ‘packed breakfast’ – which was amazing, even though it wasn’t. We were sooo hungry! Once fed & watered off we set! We had officially started our trek to the base camp of the largest mountain in the world – it was a very exciting moment. I, for one, just kept giggling to myself inside – I just couldn’t believe what we had embarked upon.
The temperature was ideal. Although below freezing when we landed, by the time we headed off it was ‘in the teens’ & some of us went down to short sleeves & remained that way for most of the day. The scenery, as you would expect, was amazing. The snowy mountain tops in the distance, the clear water glacier stream, the tree filled foothill slopes… fantastic.
We arrived at Phakding around 2.15pm & unloaded our packs. Rooms are basic but comfortable. There’s a shower, broken internet, a very basic food choice & a hole in the ground… that was an experience too!
‘Eating in’ tonight. The night is promised to be a very cold one, so thermals at the ready! Won’t get a chance to upload this until tomorrow, so will report on our first night then. For now though, we’re all huddled in the ‘dining room’ – which has a wood burning stove in the middle – trying to keep warm. Power is getting low on this little laptop, so I’m going to sign off. Various layers keep appearing & everyone seems to be getting bigger by the minute! Off to Namche Bazaar tomorrow where we will stay for 2 nights to acclimatise. Being the largest village on the trek, internet access should be good so I’ll upload this there. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to ring home too – maybe we’ve already spoken to you – which will be great if it’s possible. We’re told it’ll be an early start to N.B. & a tough ascent – from 2640m (here) to 3440m (there) – so I guess we’ll be pretty tired by the time we arrive.
We have a great bunch & everyone’s getting on famously. It’s going to be a great journey, in more ways than one I’m sure.