Friday, April 05, 2013
The Trail to Tengboche - Day 3 - Monjo to Namche Bazaar
The overnight stay at the Mount Kailash Lodge in Monjo was certainly more comfortable than the previous night at the Royal Sherpa Lodge in Phakding … this time we had hot water and good food service. We were again up early and I took an early morning walk in the crisp clear air to grab some photos. There was even some ice on the ground indicating how cold it was.
We passed through Monjo and very soon came to the Sagarmatha Park Head Quarters where we had to have our trekking passes checked. After the checkpoint it was a steep downhill section over a set of rocky steps and back down to the Dudh Kosi River and a couple of river crossings over suspension bridges, the first one bringing us to Jorsalle which is a common stopping point for an overnight stay on this trek.
As we passed through Jorsalle and followed the river up the Khumbu Valley the scenery just started getting better and better. Again there were many porters on the trail as were there yaks, dzo, donkeys and goats. It was interesting to see the porters use their small stick as a prop for their heavy load when they needed a rest. We also passed a small army post with two soldiers busily mending the fence all dressed in full camouflage gear of course!
The walk alongside the Dudh Kosi River was really wonderful and relatively flat so made it an easy start to the day. This was not to last long as we soon reached a branch in the river where the trail rose steeply on the right to reach a high crossing point. This suspension bridge was the highest and most spectacular of all the bridges yet and this one seems to be covered in prayer flags.
After this suspension bridge crossing the trail then became very steep and it was to be this way for the next few hours as we struggled up the rough trail towards Namche Bazaar. However the scenery was absolutely stunning with high, snow capped mountains, a bright blue sky and a panoramic view back down the Khumbu Valley to the Dudh Kosi River.
Approximately half way up the steep trail to Namche Bazaar there was a viewpoint which at last gave us a tantalising view of Mount Everest for the first time. A small gap through the trees looked straight up the valley with Everest right at the end. This made it all worthwhile and after an expensive orange sold to us by a local girl who had set up a small "orange shop" at the viewpoint it was time to slog up the last few kilometres to reach our overnight stop at Namche Bazaar.
The last few steps up to Namche Bazaar were particularly steep and the going was tough to make it up this last section. The mountain range to the south was stunning though and had some large icy glaciers cascading down the steep side.
We eventually arrived exhausted at the very comfortable Panorama Hotel where we enjoyed hot showers, a great meal and the luxury of an electric blanket. The owner of the hotel, Sherap J. Sherpa, and his wife were great hosts and made us very welcome - highly recommended for anyone visiting this area. We all sat round a large wooden table in the main dining room with a large log fire burning and ate our dinner to the sounds of traditional Nepalese music.