Friday, August 14, 2009

Nepal Trek 2009 - May 18, Loshasha to Monju

I'm going to start this blog post with the brief journal entry I did for this day:

"18 May 2009; Monday, 6:58 pm; Monjo --

"Today's trek was pretty rough - from Namche Bazaar we had the 3,000 foot hill to navigate - knee buster from Hell. I am so tired! The scenery was spectacular, with three suspension bridges to cross."

The brevity of that journal entry is a good indicator that I really was quite exhausted. I'm not known for my short letters, essays, or blog postings. That I was so tired at 6:58 pm I couldn't scratch out more than a couple of sentences is atypical for me.

As we left Loshasha, we were still in some spectacular mountain scenery. The alpine biome had transitioned into a scrubby shrub-dominated biome, and as we walked downhill we started to get the first pines and Rhododendrons of the morning.

Here you can see the transition between biomes as you view from the snowline down to the pine forest.

These middle elevations are also where the settlements begin to be much larger with obvious signs of cultivation.

At one of our rest stops there was this yak who seemed very much like a house pet. It was pretty curious about things going on around it.

It was trying very hard to get this woman's attention while she was busy doing some chores.

She finally had to give it a scolding to make it behave. It reminded me of an overgrown puppy.

Rest break for this porter. He's taken the weight of the pack off his shoulders and removed the tump strap from his head. Those walking sticks are essential for this task as well as providing balance for climbing the steep hills.

This view on the way up was very inspiring, but somewhat bittersweet on the way down. On the one hand, it gave a perspective of just how far we had walked to reach Gorak Shep and the views of Everest from Kala Patthar. On the other, this view was a reminder that we would be leaving this now familiar landscape.

This is the view toward Lukla, which would be reached during the next day's trek.

Prayer flags flapping in the wind have a unique sound. I hope I never forget how it felt to see these at the stupas and shrines along the path to Everest.

Back to Namche Bazaar, the largest settlement in the Khumbu region. I had a much better appreciation for this place after having stayed in Dingboche, Lobuche and Gorak Shep.

Ahhhh, stupid me. I didn't buy yak bells in Namche Bazaar, and Thamel in Kathmandu didn't offer ones that looked like they had actually been worn by yaks. The sound of yak bells is another memory I never want to lose.

There is something very comforting about the sound of yak bells. On the trail the tinkle of these bells warned you that yaks were approaching from behind or ahead, and it gave you time to get out of the way - especially on the steep pitches. If you were stuck behind a yak train, it gave you time to rest because their pace was always a bit slower than a typical trekking pace. At our campsites, the sound of these bells was our evening, morning, and, sometimes, nocturnal music.

One of the stupas at Namche Bazaar.

Wash time in the public fountain.

The lower elevation section of Namche Bazaar.

The view from the trail, just before you head down the knee-buster hill.

The last houses before you head downslope.

It was pretty warm once we headed down the mountain and I felt so sorry for the porters carrying these heavy loads uphill. They were sweating buckets, and grunting with nearly every step.

I think this was pretty much my last photo for the descent as I needed to pay close attention to every step. By this time my feet were really hurting, and I think I busted a toe on the way down.

This was one of the suspension bridges we crossed this day. It must have been after we had some time to rest.

The gateway that marks the exit to Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park.

Monju, at last.

I think we were all pretty tired from this long and strenuous day of trekking. John Coleman looks about as down as the local dog in this picture.

I think this is a holly hock. It was growing as an ornamental plant at the Monju guest house.

Chris Marquardt and Monika Andrae.

Our tents at the Monju guest house.

These are my swollen, blistered, bunioned, calloused, and, most of all, miserably painful feet. They taught me some valuable lessons during the trek: 1) yeah, they hurt - get over it and walk; 2) just do it; 3) baby steps get you there eventually; and 4) who has time to worry about how feet feel when there are so many interesting things to see?

Next morning's tea time; 6 am sharp.

This ritual was one of my favorite things about the trek. Mingmar and Chirri were so sweet to us.

No matter what the weather, snow included, Chirri and Mingmar were there at 6 am to serve us a cup of tea. Thanks, guys!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

had to post this in the forum column after returning from our trek since my boyfriend and I had the absolute best time trekking in the Everest region!

His name is Sanjib Adhikari and his email is, he is licensed by the country of Nepal and has been a trekking guide for over 12 years.

I found him through the posted forums when I was inquiring about trekking since my boyfriend and I only had 5 days to trek and really wanted to see mount Everest. He was able to customize a plan to get us as close as possible. We had a blast!!! I'd love to send you photo's of our trek and trust me there was a part when we were climbing the hill to get to Namche and I thought I was going to die!!!!! Sanjib was so patient and his knowledge of the mountain area and all of Nepal is commendable! We met up with a couple of other people trekking and had a blast hanging out in one of the places to stay and even the other people were asking Sanjib about routes to take and length of time it would take to get to base camp.

He is a smart, honest and genuine person and guide! Even after the trek we met up in Thamel and hung out for 2 days seeing the sights around Kathmandu and Patan. Sanjib not only knows the Everest region but all around Nepal and I highly recommend him!!!!

Please contact me if you need more info or would like to see pictures from Facebook-:

My boyfriend and I also used this guide whilst we were out in Nepal - we were recommended by a friend who used him when she did Everest Base Camp. We decided to do the Annapurna Circuit plus base camp.

We met with Sanjib in Kathmandu when we arrived in Nepal and we told him what we wanted to do and how much time we had etc. He told us about a few trips that were possible and we eventually came up with this one.

It was the most amazing trip and wouldn't have been the same without him and Ram our porter (

We spent 20 days trekking in November 2011 and Sanjib was able to answer all of our questions from the birds to the trees to the mountains and religion. It was a very cultural trek with so much history.

Some people say that it is possible to do the trek without a guide, which may be true but you miss so much when you are on your own and we learnt such a lot from Sanjib which meant that we understood so much more of Nepal when we visited different areas.

We paid all of our money to him up front, which we were dubious about at the start as we didn't know him but I wouldn't say that this was a problem at all.

He made sure we were happy and safe and had full bellies at all times and made sure that we knew everything about altitude sickness which we didn't get in the end thanks to his slower pace higher up and aclimatisation walks. We also took Diamox, under his recommendation and we were both fine and only suffered a bit of tingling in our faces (a side effect of the drug)!

I would recommend Sanjib to ANYONE that was thinking about going trekking in Nepal, I would love to go back and visit him and do another trek with him when I have the time! There are so many guides out there that claim to do everything that he does but I wouldn't choose anyone without a recommendation because you hear so many stories about dodgy guides and it would be so sad to lose your money and have a bad experience.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions and enjoy your trek!

Email to him-:sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.c​om