Phakding ( 2610m) down to Lukla
Today we walk even more slowly than we did yesterday, if that is even possible. So slowly in fact, that it took us more than 4 hours to cover the distance from Phakding to Lukla, taking about the same time as we had while coming uphill.
The sun had finally come out, and as we watched the flights coming into and flying out of Lukla we were relieved. We would perhaps fly tomorrow after all.
My camera batteries are out and I did not bring spares. So I borrow Sudhir’s camera and use my lens, thinking I’ll do plenty of bird-photography. And in fact, we could hear bird chirps and songs all along the way, but strangely I could not actually spot many. So instead, I photographed people and scenery.
At around 1 in the afternoon we were back in the township of Lukla. We headed straight for the Buddha Lodge, from where we had started our trek 10 days back. The Buddha Lodge shares a boundary wall with the airport and offered us a great view of the frantic goings-on in the airport as the last passengers were packed into the little planes. We sipped our hot chocolates and basked in the glorious sunlight.
I overate at lunch, picking off everybody’s food while also finishing my own. This was not a problem during the trip as right after lunch we would have a steep hill to climb and the food would be digested – today however I only lay down for a lazy afternoon nap. By 4 o’clock I was desperate for a walk, and once again dragged Padmaja, Sudhir, Cheekala and Aditya off for coffee. By the time we reached the Starbucks ( this has to be the highest in the world), I was still not in a mood for coffee, so I spent the time photographing the others in the dim light of the coffee shop.
In the evening, there was an impromptu dance session, prompted perhaps by the need to keep moving those overworked muscles. We had a great time, Cheekala, Padmaja, Sudhir, Aditya and I – it was even more fun when Om Bahadur Ji joined in the party. There was also a Johnny Walker session with Kiran, Om Bahadur Ji and Mr. Thapa who is in charge of Himex operations in the area. All in all, a great way to end what was one of the most memorable treks I have ever done.
Tomorrow we fly out of Lukla and have to say goodbye to the mountains. I am actually pretty sad.