We completed the Everest Three Pass trek in 19 days, leaving us with two days before our flight to Kathmandu. We considered various options and finally settled upon an overnight excursion along the trail towards Jiri. This trail is one of the options for those that would prefer to walk to Lukla rather than take a flight. It typically takes six days and is only used by about 1000 trekkers per year.
The trail towards Jiri drops from beside the runway at Lukla, plunging 500 metres to the village of Sirke. As I headed down this little used trail I immediately noticed some differences from the main trail to Everest Base Camp: the trail was in poorer repair and there was an abundance of garbage. The EBC trail obviously benefits from some buffing and polishing to please the tourists.
After bottoming out at Sirke, we started a strenuous climb. Matthew was struggling a bit due to his cold, so after climbing for 400 metres we stopped for the night at a modest guesthouse at a viewpoint in the middle of nowhere. Not only was the view superb, but they had a cat, which are rather scarce in this region. It cost me the cheese topping from my potatoes with vegetables and cheese, but the young Tom and I became good friends.
During the middle of the day we encountered almost continuous mule trains going in both directions on the trail. Lukla is not connected by road to the rest of the world, so I had wondered how most of the food, fuel, building materials and other stuff was transported to the town. It appears that much of it arrives on a mule’s back.
Today we walked back to Lukla, partly on a trail we had not previously walked. We were very fortunate to see a langur monkey and three otter. The otter had yellow flanks and were even more beautiful than the ones we see on the B.C. coast.
After four hours of walking we arrived back in Lukla, our 21 day trek complete. It has been an extraordinary experience.