Flight to Lukla then to Phakding

Trip Start Mar 27, 2008
Trip End Apr 23, 2008

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Where I stayed
Kalapatar Lodge

Flag of Nepal  ,
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

After a decent breakfast  I checked out  and then I waited for my transport to the airport. I will also meet up with my guide ( Bhimsen) and porter (Ashok). This time it will be Ashok who will fly with me to Lukla  where we will meet up with Bhimsen. Tilak had phoned the airport and we are to wait in the hotel as our flight is delayed.

Finally about an hour later we head off to the airport.

My trip has started, I hope that we do not have all the snow this time ( see previous blog). The weather is hot and we sit in the airport waiting to be called. As I sit I look around and beside me is a large amount of equipment that is to go up the mountain. It is obviously a climbing group going to attempt the Everest climb. I took some photos to compare our gear to this group. I find out is the Korean teams equipment and they start the next day. In amongst their gear I notice containers of water, a generator and loads of blue barrels probably with climbing ropes or food inside. Gradually the flights begin to depart. We have to weigh our gear and pay any excess dues ( none this time) then once we have the luggage checked we are issued our boarding passes. We then have to pass security women on the left , men on the right. We then go through to the departures and again sit and wait. ( You spend a lot of time sitting around.)

Ashok checks if are flight is ready, we are next so we gather our bags and head for the bus to take us to the plane.

At long last we are off, we fly over the Kathmandu valley area and head towards the mountains.  Gradually we get nearer to the landing strip. I hope the weather will hold and we are not turned back again. I am sitting at the front of the plane and see a notice inside the flight deck of the aircraft advising that the plane is not suitable for acrobatics ( which gives me a chuckle as no way would the passengers like the plane to perform such manoeuvres).
The plane lands safely and we all give a cheer 9 there was a bit of turbulence on the way). Everyone gets off the plane and as we go towards the fence Bhimsen is there to meet us.

Bhimsen has been checking the arrivals since early morning ( no one had told him that the departure time had been delayed). His friend is also waiting for some people to arrive and as it turned out we all arrived on the same flight. We collect our luggage and off we go.
As it is now almost dinner time we stop off at the Kusmba resort and I order soup ( on my return I will have  the chicken sizzler).
It is about a 5 mile walk to Phakding and the route was dry dusty and hot. We follow the river and this time we encounter a lot more trekkers than last year. The fields are greener and some of the rhododendrons are in bloom. There is  no signs of snow at this altitude (Lukla 9283ft) (Phakding 8701ft) as we had last year.
I find it a lot harder this year ( not too good walking in the heat) and also before I left the UK I had a chest infection but am unsure if it has returned or its the Himalayan cough I am suffering from. We still seemed to make reasonable time to Phakding but we are not staying in the same place as last year. This time it is The Kalapater Lodge.  I was very surprised when we stopped and I spotted one of the cooks I took pictures of from our Namche Bazaar Lodge (Everest View) last year. Bhimsen wondered if I had remembered him ( of course I did. I also remembered several of the guides and porters that we met last year.
Other trekkers join us and we all discuss if we are going up or down and have you been here before. I explain why I am returning again this year and most are surprised that we walked in the depth of snow that we had last year. ( I just enjoyed the adventure last year). I also explain that we hope to reach Gokyo Ri and if I feel up to it to attempt Chola Pass but that route is not the main challenge Gokyo Ri is.
Bhimsen worries that I will get cold when we are sitting still but I still feel warm and at this point do not find it cold ( well compared with last year it was hot  (35deg).

As usual in the mountains everyone retires to bed by 9pm .Everyone has an early  start so that you are not walking in the hot, dry afternoons and you have plenty of time to reach your destination.
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