Trekking in the Himalayas
Mar 5th, 2012 | By Sue Houghton | Category: Travel Blogs
By Sue Houghton –
Free at last from having to factor the needs of teenagers and students into the holiday formula, my husband and I thought we would have a holiday out of our comfort zone, and go for a challenge – an experience. So we booked a 2 week guided trek in the Himalayas, walking up through the foothills of Everest in the spring with a sherpa guide and a porter to carry our rucksacks.
We had a couple of days in Katmandu to acclimatise and see some of the fascinating city. It was buzzing and friendly, slightly chaotic but felt very safe and there was lots to do.. We then flew to the little airport at Lukkla (best not to look when landing as it is a VERY short runway on the side of a hill) where the majority of people start their trek to Everest Base Camp.
The trekking was hard going – not particularly because it was difficult terrain – most of it was paths. It was just that any incline up really made you run out of breath especially as you got higher. The scenery was really was breathtaking – we would start out in fleeces and layers, then the sun would come out and we would walk in T shirts under cloudless skies with the snowy peaks at the roof of the world looking down on us.
The trails were clean, the food in the lodges was simple but excellent and we had no stomach problems. Along the way we visited temples and mountain monasteries and it was a fabulous experience just to be able to spend so much time taking in the country. The people were charming and friendly, and even in the middle of nowhere a lady would rustle up a delicious light lunch in her home for you. We even danced with the locals one night to celebrate a festival. Some days we hardly saw another soul, and I would say we saw more yaks than people.
We climbed to Ama Dablam base camp 4800m, rather than Everest’s for two reasons. Firstly it would have added another 6 days going there and back and although it was another 700m higher you cannot actually see Everest from its base camp! Secondly, and more importantly for me, the ‘luxury lodges’ ceased at this point and i had no desire to wash in cold out door showers, or live in dormitories!
The only problem was that after 2 weeks of brilliant clear days the clouds came down the day we were due to fly out of Lukkla and our sherpa had to negotiate us seats on a very hairy helicopter trip back to Katmandu. But oh the joy of seeing fluffy white towels and power showers when we got there!
If you do go we stayed at Dwarika’s Hotel in Katmandu ( Richard Gere was there too!), we trekked with The Mountain Company whom I could not fault, and you must visit Bhaktapur about 20 minutes drive south of Katmandu – its a world Heritage Site and like a city lost in centuries past. And if you want souvenirs its much cheaper!