Day 18

25 March

(Day 15 of trekking)

“Day 15, the last official day of the trek although most of us won’t get home until Friday.
We headed out of Phakding for Lucla under slightly overcast skies, the journey today around about 4 hours.
One last chance to admire the scenery and the wonderful environment that is Sagarmatha National Park, home to Mt Everest and so many other magnificent peaks.
Clearly we missed the memo as today must have been declared mule Monday, there were so many trains throughout the day I thought that they had started to replace humans. Also our last chance to see the last Jopkya trains (half cow half yak) and also the amazingly strong porters who seem to carry the bulk of Nepal’s needs around the country.
The guy in the photo was carrying three mattresses weighing we were advised around about 90kg. He manouvered himself onto the suspension bridge and then put out his arms like an aeroplane and started trotting. God only knows how they do it😳.
It was also our last crossing of one of the amazingly long and strong suspension bridges found throughout this area.
After around 4 hours we came across a small coffee shop where they do their own roasting (Sherpa Coffee). The two female operators looked a little surprised when 26 coffee aficionados from Australia turned up and started ordering coffee. Let me tell you, it was a great drop, we all left very happy.
Only an hour later and we were at the Lucla Checkpoint which also houses the Sagarmatha Next collecting station, it was time to hand over our 75kg of Everest recyclable waste before being given the OK to pass through the arch into Lucla. One last group photo and it was a gentle amble to the tea house for lunch.
After lunch it was a bit of browsing around town followed by a couple of beers before dinner.
Dinner was a special occasion this evening with speeches and presentations to our guides and porters. I can not speak more highly of these kind, knowledgeable, compassionate people, they were an embedded part of our group for the whole trip and it really was quite sad to have to say goodbye to a number of them this evening.
After the formalities it was dinner, cards, drinking and dancing with a special congratulatory cake being presented to us by the guide team. At time of writing many of them are still kicking on, I am way past that now so am finishing this post before turning in. We head back to Kathmandu tomorrow and are up at 5.00am for a 6.00ish flight out of the very scary Lucla Airport.”
– Tony