Everest base camp - day 14 to 20

Day 14 - Tengboche to Dingboche

Waking today we were met with one of the best views we had ever seen. Laying in our warm sleeping bags we had clear views of Mount Everest, reminding us why we were doing this hard work. We packed as usual but unfortunately there was a miscommunication between the hotel and us, so no breakfast was ready at 6 am. We waited until 6:30am, paid our bill and off we went with only a mountain man bar in our stomachs to keep us going. The plan was to walk to Somare for breakfast, the halfway point to Dingboche, our destination for the night.  The night before we had heard the bridge just out of Debouche had been washed away and there was now a need to take a detour. The only problem was that although we knew that it existed we didn't really know the details so when we got to a sign telling us to go in another direction we expected another sign further along or a clearer path but we got neither.  After 15 minutes of trying to figure out which path to take we chose one and started to follow it.  5 minutes later we ended up in the backyard of a farmers house and were given/shown the correct path by a local.  Much to my disliking this path headed straight up the side of the mountain. A further 20 minutes of hard climbing saw us intersect with a path following the ridge line which was being traversed by a couple of porters heading the same way. Playing it safe, we decided to follow them. At this point we had also been joined by a pair of friendly dogs who decided to follow us most of the way. This was nice except when they getting under our feet or winding up the local yaks, both which they did regularly.

Hiking along the ridge through the forest lasted about half an hour before we came out to a big meadow with 3 brooks running through it. The sun was out this stage, as well, so we had more blue skies offering a fantastic view of two snow-covered mountain ranges, nearby. We were definitely feeling on top of the world. The rest of the days trek was rather uneventful apart from a few ups it was mainly flat passing a couple of villages where they were drying Yak pats to use in the fire later.  We made it to Dingboche and checked in to the lodge that had just opened for the season and ordered some lunch.  Soon after the US couple from the night joined us before whom we would begin to see on a regular basis.

Finishing our lunch, we headed up the nearby hill for a small hike in order to acclimatise a little more for the day.  Returning to the lodge we ran into the New Zealand couple and had a quick chat.  We then had bucket showers and sat down for a lovely dinner before heading to bed.  As tomorrow is a rest/acclimatization day we get a little easier morning. 


Day 15 - Dingboche acclimatisation day

Although we woke at 5am we didn't get up until 7am. After a quick breakfast and black tea we headed off to hike back up the mountain from yesterday, this time all the way to the top. This started with some great views of the surrounding ranges but soon became misty. We were met by all our new friends as we slowly climbed to the 5100-metre summit, the journey getting harder as we ascended and the oxygen dropped further. It was a struggle, with a little complaining on my part, but once we made it to the top, 3-hours later, we were happy with our accomplishment, even with limited, misty visibility. The journey back was considerably faster, reaching the guesthouse in just under an hour. After a great lunch we had an afternoon of relaxing ahead of us, reading our books and play cards.  It is hard to believe that tomorrow we would arrive in Lobuche, the final town before base camp. After another amazing dinner and more great conversation with our American friends and their helpful guide, we headed to bed, very excited for the two days to come.


Day 16 - Dingboche to Lobuche – Kayla’s Birthday!

This morning we were once again spoilt with amazing views from our bedroom window of a cloudless sky filled with snow topped mountains. After a quick happy birthday, and a little cry because I was away from home and family, we headed off. Our destination for the day was Lobuche, which was 4 hours away and we were told was mainly flat except for a steep 45 minutes set of stairs, approximately 2-hours in.  This steep up didn't disappoint either, which, although short, was hard work due to it being at close to 4000-metres. Once over the top it was a steady but gentle incline until we hit the town.  Upon arrival we found the lodge recommended to us by the US couple’s guide, ordered some lunch before resting in the dining room while we waited for it to be served.

Before long, the two of us relaxed and sipping away on our lemon tea, were joined by the US couple. The guesthouse continued to fill for the rest of the day, most of the faces already familiar, including the French guy we had met all the way back in Nunthala.  After lunch we did a bit more relaxing, waiting for our electronic devices to charge off of our portable solar panel. We had been lugging this around, like an expensive paperweight, for the past 16 days and it was the second day we had had enough sunlight for it to be useable.  About 2 pm we trekked up the nearest mountain, behind the lodge, for further acclimatisation. The hike was cut short due to it starting to snow. Back in the warmth, we had a baby wipe shower and got into our sleeping bags and relaxed until dinner. The dining room was a hive of activity at dinner time, very different to what the we had experienced on the way up but was a welcome change, the room filled with excited chatter.  Everyone was in good spirits, excited about reaching base came the following day. After dinner and a chat with our fellow trekkers we headed to bed for an early night only to be awoken at midnight by some drunk locals making commotion outside our window which thankfully didn’t last too long.


Day 17 - Lobuche to Gorak Shep and Everest base camp.

We were up earlier than usual this morning, with the plan to leave before breakfast, walk the 2-hours to Gorak Shep, and have breakfast there. This would give us time to head to base camp afterwards. We were ready to go by 6am but after talking to the guide of the US couple we decided to tag along with them for the day. This was fine in theory but once we got going we realised we were a little slower than they were as we were carrying our own packs, so after a little while they were speeding off in the distance. What worked in our favor was they stopped to pee a lot so this gave us the opportunity to not stray too far behind them.

The walk was easy with not a lot of ups and downs but was made considerably harder with the altitude, making our packs feel 10 times heavier and causing us to get out of breath quiet easily.  About half way we were kicked off the path while up in the mountain by a passing yak train, which was great to watch go by, the yaks walking better across the rocks than we did. It was smooth walking from here and before we knew it we were sitting in the Yeti Guesthouse in Gorak Shep, ordering breakfast and sipping on Lemon and Ginger tea. After breakfast, a little more energized, we were again invited to join the US couple, their guide and their porter for the walk to base camp to share tea when we got there. We all set off eagerly in anticipation of what we had come all this way to see. Without our packs we were managing to keep up quite well until about halfway when Glenn and I started feeling numb all over. That morning we had decided to take some Diamox for the first time, which was supposed to help with Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) prevention. Numbness in your appendages was a side effect of this drug but we were feeling it all over and 5300-metres, we were concerned that it may also be AMS. We stopped for a bit letting the others continue to see if the feeling would pass, which it didn’t. Thankfully, soon after some experienced trekkers that put our mind at ease passed us, advising that this was quiet normal and then joined us the rest of the way. We took it very slowly and once we had passed over the rocky, icy glacier we finally made it to base camp. We were ecstatic! The camp itself wasn’t overly impressive but the surrounding mountains and glacier were plus the accomplishment was profound after more than 2 weeks of hard hiking.

It was hard to believe we had finally made it.

We were rewarded with tea, cookies and chocolate by the US couple’s guide. Everyone took turns taking photos and chatting amongst all the other trekkers. Still feeling the effects of the Diamox, we decided to head back down to Gorak Shep in the hopes of improving the way we were feeling.  Back at the lodge we had lunch, laced with garlic (supposed to help the numbness) and headed to our room to rest. Thankfully, later that evening, over 12-hours since taking the Diamox, we were mostly back to normal.


Day 18 - Gorak Shep back to Tengboche.

We woke at 4am this morning and were walking out the door at 4:30 to try to get up to the top of Kala Patha for sunrise views of Mount Everest. Unfortunately we only got glimpses of mist, cloud and a lot of snow. This mixed with the side effects of the Diamox coming back we decided to head back down, after climbing halfway, to have breakfast and hit the road for our long trek back. After breakfast we were back on the road, eager to make it all the way to Tengboche.  Once we started to get a little lower the walking both up and down hills started to get significantly easier and a lot quicker as our bodies thanked us for the increase in oxygen. By lunchtime we had reached Somare and stopped for a quick bite. We had been told the night before that to get to Pangboche, which was the town 10 minutes from Somare, that it would take us 6-7hours.  We had made it in under 5-hours, giving us plenty of time to push on to Tengboche. The only problem we were faced with now was the fact the bridge was still down and it had just started raining.  So on went our ponchos as we pushed on as quickly as we could, hoping the rain would stop. 

It didn't and before long the path along the ridge was very slippery from the mud and excess yak poo. By the time we made it to Tengboche we were covered up to our knees in “brown stuff” and ready for a hot shower, dinner and bed. We were happy at this point that it had stopped raining. The lodge we were staying at was full with tour groups that had just arrived.  It is very much a different feeling being on your way back compared to being 3 days in (or 14 if you are silly like us and walk from Jiri).  After an 8-hour long, hard trek from Gorak Shep, we were asleep before our heads hit the bed.


Day 19 & 20  - Tengboche to Lukla and Lukla to Kathmandu

This day started like most of the rest, awake at 5am, breakfast at 6 am and packed and on the road at around 7am. First stop on the trek this morning was to Namche to pick up some supplies. We had thought this would be mainly down hill or “Nepalese flat” with a couple of ups thrown in.  Unfortunately our memories weren’t quiet as accurate as we thought (or we’d ignored how easy the descents were on the way to base camp), with a lot more steep ascents than we had expected.

By the time we hit Namche and had done some shopping at the local “supermarket” we were ready for some tea and a short break. In no time, we were back on the road and heading on to our lunch destination, which was to be Phakding.  This trek was also harder then we thought it would be and we ended up stopping 30minutes short for some lunch.  At this point we had a discussion as to what the plan should be from here on in.  Glenn and I had originally planned to try and make it to Surkey that day and then maybe push on to Bupsa, as we made our way out to Phaplu. We were both tired and still sore from the previous day. I just wanted to make it to Lukla and try to fly out.  After a long talk we chose the Lukla option and were back on the road, eager to get to our final destination.

The walk to Lukla ended up being harder and longer then both of us expected, with us both already exhausted. 6-hours after stopping for lunch we finally made it to Lukla, returning to the guesthouse from our first visit, after a long 9-hours of trekking.  Once again we were the only guests and treated like family. We quickly had a shower and order some dinner.  While doing this we discovered our host had a brother who was a manager at the airline and who could help us get on a flight the following morning, as long as the weather was good. Once we were back in our room and settled in our sleeping bags it began to rain and continued most of the night, raising fears that we may have to walk out anyway. We awoke at 4am the following morning in order to pack, have breakfast and be at the airport by 6am. As it was still raining we were unsure as to if we were going or not but just before 5 am the rain stopped and the sun rose, presenting clear blue skies.  After breakfast we were escorted by our host (aka. Momma) to the airport then given the royal treatment as she pushed to the head of the lines and before we knew it we were in the departure lounge waiting for our plane.  The flight from Lukla to Kathmandu took 45-minutes, offering some amazing scenery including a birds-eye view of Jiri, reasserting our long and tough our journey had been. By 10 am we were back in our hotel room catching up on interwebs and planning our next move.

Everest base camp - day 8 to 13

Day 8 - Junbesi to Nunthala

We were packed up and down stairs waiting for our porter at 6am. He came running up soon after and following a quick rundown of the situation by the guesthouse owner we were on our way. The first half of the days trek was very uneventful where we would walk along at a steady pace stopping when needed. We stopped about halfway for a quick lunch (well as quick a lunch as once can have in Nepal). While figuring out what to have we were joined by an English trekker named Tim who had been struck down with the same knee injury as me. Unfortunately he was on a much tighter time frame than we were so he was forced to push on. 

We had a fantastic chat over lunch and shared stories of our experience. We then settled the bill and left our porter to finish his lunch knowing he would easily catch up with us further down the track. We had heard that porters are capable of making it from Lukla to Junbesi in one day, a trek that would take us 2 days, so him catching up would be easy. The first hour was uphill followed by 2 hours down to Nunthala, which would be our home for the night.  We were fascinated along the way by the beautiful views and amazing temples stuck on top of mountains. Our porter caught up to us soon after we started heading down and after crossing two suspension bridges, Nunthala was in our sights.  We quickly chose a guesthouse, ordered some lunch and put in our order for dinner.  We organised a hot shower and then retired to our room for some relaxation and reading before dinner, cards and bed.

We were lucky once again that the guesthouse staff spoke English and they were able to translate with our porter our intentions for the following morning.


Day 9 - Nunthala to Bupsa

Once again we are up, packed and on the road by 6am. We transferred a little of the weight back into Glenn’s pack to even the load a little. We had a few things to “look forward” to which started with what the map called a steep descent. We hadn’t made it far out of town when we had to take a detour due to a landslide that had blocked the track. Once back on the path we started heading down which was a nice change but seemed to never really hit what we would call a steep descent. So we trudged on heading for the next highlight, which was a 109-metre long suspension bridge. This didn't disappoint and neither did the raging river that we were crossing. On the other side of the bridge three children heading for school, who ended up following us for the next few hours, joined us. Our intention was to stop in Jebing for lunch, halfway up a massive hill. The hill seemed to be never ending but with reassurance from Glenn that lunch would be soon, we trudged up, more and more. We were soon up amongst the clouds, orchards and a string of Guest Houses. The porter and I were getting our hopes up that a stop would be soon upon us but unfortunately there seemed to be some miscommunication about whether this was Jebing. Before we knew it we were heading out of town and continuing up the hill. At this point we were informed by the children that we were actually now on our way to Kharikhola, the town over the top of the hill. So up a few more ups, around a few more ridges, before we came across a temple, the Nepalese indicator that you had reached the top. Once at the top we walked the short distance down to a guesthouse in Kharikola where we ducked inside for some lunch just as it started to rain.

After a quick refuel and a chat with a French trekker we were back on the road for what we thought would be a quick downhill trek to our next destination and home for the night in Bupsa.  But as per usual nothing is as we expected (although the quoted 1½-hour trip only took us 1-hour) the trip was very much uphill.  I quickly learnt it is hard to complain about this when you are joined by porters carrying 50kg on their backs and have to do this every day as a job. At the point when my knee felt like it would fall off and my heart was beating out of my chest we made it to Bupsa. We got a room, paid and said goodbye to our porter friend, and headed into the dining room for a late lunch.  We were lucky to be joined by the owner for a chat, this was made extra special as he has actually been to Everest base camp 4 times and to its summit 3 times.  We spent some time asking him questions while enjoying our lunch and dinner before retiring to bed for an early night fresh with a new game plan for the following day.


Day 10 - Bupsa to Lukla

We had a bit of a later start today as our host set 7am as the breakfast time. We woke at the normal 5am and read our books until it was time to head down to eat. We set a plan to walk 3 hours to a town called Paiya for lunch and see how my knee was feeling before deciding whether or not to push on to Surkey, a further 3-hours from Paiya. Heading off at 8am with a new spring in my step, and Glenn carrying most of the weight, the hike to Paiya proved to be uneventful and my knee performed very well. We were met close to our lunch destination by one of the French trekkers that we had been running into since Nunthala. So we stopped together for lunch and after a bit of a discussion we got the idea of maybe trying to make it all the way to Lukla but would see how we felt at Surkey. This would add another 2 hours uphill to our day. By the time we got to Surkey we felt we could push on, not realising how tired we were and how far we had to walk up a quite steep ascent. However, once we topped the hill and could finally see Lukla it made it all worthwhile. First stop was to find a guesthouse near the infamous Starbucks we had been told was in town. After a quick shower followed by ordering dinner, we headed over to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and to try to communicate with home. Unfortunately we discovered we could not receive any email and were only able to contact one family member. Before we could fix the email problems we were having it was time to head back for dinner.  After a delicious dinner we headed to back to our room to read and an early night.


Day 11 - Lukla to Jorsale

When we woke this morning we were both very sore from our arduous 8-hour trek the day before but feeling good that we were finally starting the trek north to base camp. We ate breakfast quickly before bolting over to Starbucks just as it opened for our first reasonable coffee in awhile and to get our email issue sorted. Unfortunately getting coffee and in contact with home proved to be harder than expected. After waiting over an hour for the coffee machine to warm up and sending an email to Cameron with instructions on resetting the server we gave up, heading back to the guesthouse to finish packing up. Our plan for the day was to make it to Phakding for lunch and Monjo for dinner and the night before heading up to Namche the following day. We were very blessed by some great weather, having finally seemed to clear up.  The weather had been so bad over the last 5 days that no flights had come or gone from Lukla in that time (a regular occurrence and one of the other reasons we had chosen to walk in), forcing some trekkers to pay substantially more for a helicopter ride to Surkey and then having to walk the 2-hours up to Lukla.

We made good time getting to Phakding for lunch where met a couple of returning trekkers and started asking questions about the trek ahead of us. Everyone seemed to say the same thing “make it to Monjo today and Namche the following day”, as the 4-hours uphill is very tough. However, we had our doubts, considering the most trekkers only go from Lukla whereas the hike from Jiri to Lukla is reportedly much harder. We continued on to Monjo and after a quick black tea decided to push on to Namche, hoping to get back onto schedule as we were 2 days behind. Unfortunately due to sharp pains in my knee we were forced to stop at Jorsale about 30 minutes passed Monjo. Initially we were both disappointed with the setback but soon realised it was for the best. Settling down in the guesthouse, we got to bed early ready for the “hard” trek up to Namche.


Day 12 - Jorsale to Namche

Breakfast at 6am and on the road by 7am. Our preferred routine when the guesthouse would accommodate us that early. We began our trek with the expectation of a lot of uphill climbing. Before we knew it we were at the Namche checkpoint, 2-hours ahead of schedule, where we were told that Namche was only 10-minutes away. Our past experience dictated that this would be a steep 10-minute climb but being able to see the town at the top of the stairs made it all that much more worthwhile. Making it to a lodge, we dropped our bags and headed out to explore the town a little as it was only 9:30 in the morning. Being only the start of the season (October would see the season peak) most places where either shut or under construction. The main aim of the exploration was to find a few much needed supplies as well as an Internet connection.  The later proved to be harder than we thought due to the entire town having been without electricity for 16 days and reportedly wouldn’t have it for another couple of weeks. We headed back to the hotel for a quick cheap lunch (well as cheap as we could get) and enquired about Internet there (running off their generator), only to be told that the phone line was down.

After lunch we went for a nice 3-hour walk (made nicer without the need for backpacks), to determine if we would need to stop in Namche for another day for acclimitisation, or would instead be able to head onto Tengboche tomorrow. The walk took us up took us up to 3870 meters and through the quiet towns of Khumjung and Khunde, before starting back down to Namche. The trek from Jiri seemed to have helped along our acclimitisation quite well and we both had no problems on this short trek, so we would be heading on to Tengboche the next day.

Along the way down we ran into a group of New Zealanders and shared stories about our experiences. Just before getting back into town we ran into a Scottish guy that we had been crossing paths with since Lukla. Following a quick stop and chat with him we headed on to the local Internet cafe to see if they had managed to get connected. Thankfully they had. 

Rushing back to the hotel to get what we needed, we discovered a massive tour group had arrived at our hotel. Back at the Internet cafe we were able to contact Mum and also finally managed to fix our email problems, resulting in a 10-day flood of email. While talking to Mum, we were updated on the federal election that was happening in the background, only to be disappointed that Tony Abbott looked set to be the next Prime Minister. The other customer in the Internet café, turned out to be an Aussie also, giving out a cry of horror after over hearing the same news. After a chat with our new friend, we headed back to the hotel for showers and to put in our dinner/breakfast orders.

We headed down for dinner and had a nice time listening to the other trekkers recount their days. We settled in for our usual early night but the tour groups decided that no one on our floor was getting any sleep before 10:30pm with enthusiastic but loud talking through the paper-thin walls. Most had only been trekking a couple of days, since Lukla and still getting into the routine. This didn’t make it any easier on us, knowing we would probably be leaving Namche long before they rolled out of bed for a late breakfast followed by someone else taking their gear on to the next stop.


Day 13 - Namche to Tengboche

Today started like every other, alarm went off at 5am; we packed a little and headed down for breakfast at 6am. Back up to the room to finish packing, brush our teeth and out the door by 7 am. The walk today was to Tengboche and would take about 5 to 6 hours. We intend on taking the walk very slowly to ensure we had no problems with acclimatisation due to us skipping the acclimitisation day in Namche. Slowly, slowly, we walked the easiest trek we had yet come across, the hardest part throughout the hike being to stop from walking to fast. We were blessed again by a nice sunny day, all we could've asked for was a little less mist, but as long as we get sunny skies at the top we will be happy trekkers.

We stopped in a small village for a cup of black tea and watched women grate big bags of tiny potatoes. It is very fascinating watching how hard they work. Just after leaving the village we heard a helicopter take off nearby and hoped that it meant our destination was close.  Much to my dismay this was not the case. We passed through a checkpoint and started heading up. It wasn’t as steep as Sete but it was a slow climb. About 5 minutes from the top a monk being taken up to the Tengboche monastery by donkey passed us. It did cross my mind a few times why I hadn’t thought of that before. Once we reached the top we were rewarded with the view of an amazing Monastery and big open meadows. Unfortunately due to it not being peak season everything in Tengboche was closed apart from a hotel that was under construction and looked expensive. We trotted down the hill, 15-minutes to the next village of Debouche, to find accommodation and here were rewarded with our first views of Everest.  We dropped our bags and headed up to the dining room for some lunch where we were joined by a couple from the US who had just arrived themselves.

After lunch we went for a small walk back up the hill to the Monastery and found the monks in the meadow playing volleyball. We took a nice climb up the hill to see if we could get ourselves used to a little more height before coming down and running into the New Zealanders from the day before. The walk in from Jiri to Lukla was mostly devoid of tourists but from Lukla, onwards, it seemed we would be part of a community of fellow trekkers. We had a nice chat with them and then headed back to the hotel to get warm, the temperature becoming more of an issue now that we were higher up. We had a nice dinner and a good chat to our new American friends who seemed to be doing the same sort of Gap Year that we were close to finishing. We headed to bed, early as usual and had a very restful, quiet night sleep.


Everest Base Camp - Day 1 to 7

Day 1 - Kathmandu to Jiri

The day had finally arrived to embark on our 25-day journey trekking to Mt Everest base camp. The plan was originally to fly to Lukla then do a 10-day trek to base camp but unfortunately, flights were going to cost us $600 return. So, in true Kayla and Glenn fashion, we decided to double the trek time by starting in Shivalaya. This would involve an 8-hour bus drive from Kathmandu to Jiri, then a jeep ride to Shivalaya, where we would take the original trekkers route before the airport was built. This would also help us with our altitude acclimitisation, get us comfortable with trekking over mountains and allow us to see a different side to Nepal.

At 5:30am we were on our way to the bus station, not really knowing what to expect but excited nonetheless. The bus ride was mainly uneventful apart from the occasional close call with traffic coming in the opposite direction and a broken down truck blocking the road. However, just like in India, the bus is never too full to stop to squeeze on more passengers, even if they were sitting on the roof.

Glenn spent the majority of the trip giving up his seat for the elderly or mothers travelling with small children. This was made the journey interesting, as he was unable to stand upright in the bus due to his height, making stabilising around corners quite difficult. We also discovered on the trip that jeeps weren’t currently going to Shivalaya due to damaged roads, which would require us to start the walk from Jiri.

After a quick stop at the border control to sign in we arrived in Jiri at around 4pm. We found a nice hotel, checked in and sat down for an early dinner plus some planning with the owner. We finished with an early night ready for our first day of hiking the following day.


Day 2 - Jiri to Deurali

We were up at 5am to get packed and on the road by 6:30am. Setting off, with some vague directions from the staff at the hotel, our first destination for the day was Shivalaya; a town about 3 hours walks away. What we would soon come to realise was that this would be 3 hours in Nepal Sherpa time and that it would be mostly up hill. For normal people this meant about 4½ hours, a lot of stopping to catch our breath and asking locals if we were heading in the right direction.

About 2 hours into the trek I realised I might have bitten off more than I could chew resulting in me chucking my first tantrum of the trip and was ready to turn back. After a small amount of gentle persuasion from Glenn we were back on our way. After turning the corner and coming to our first suspension bridge we were rewarded with the view of a big open gorge and the signs of activity assuring us that Shivalaya was not far off.  Much to my delight we weren’t disappointed and after rounding another corner before crossing another suspension bridge we entered Shivalaya. The first thing we saw was a big sign telling us we needed to check in, so off we trotted to the office feeling a little proud of ourselves. While in the office we picked the brain of the clerk asking how far away Bhandar (our next destination) was and how hard the trip would be. We were assured that after lunch we would be able to make the 5 hour trip and that only the first three hours would be tough as that was the up portion out of the valley.  After a quick lunch we headed off and were soon joined by 5 porters to start the ascent up what would be a very big hill and a very long three hours.  The lessons soon flowed in from the porters of how to tackle the stairs (which was slowly) to avoid stopping at the top of every flight and when was a good time to stop to take a rest at one of the many guest houses/huts along the way. About 2 hours into the climb the rain started, so out came the ponchos and gators. After a small amount of complaining we were back trudging along, hoping the next steep bit would be the last.  Unfortunately, the worst was still to come as we started climbing up what seemed to be the middle of riverbeds only to find out halfway up that we were starting to be attacked by leeches.  After a big girly scream from both of us and a quick think about how to remove them in the down pour we managed to get the first of many off. Along with the continuous rain and uphill struggle, we now had to frequently inspect ourselves for new leeches at regular intervals. My new mantra for the remainder of the day was  “I’m a city girl, I belong in hotels not walking through leech infested jungle. GET ME OUT OF HERE”.

The rain soon died off after a few more steep climbs but then heavy mist set in. A passing porter informed us that we were still an 90 minutes from the nearest town Deurali and Bhandar was another hour from there. With our brains switched off to conserve energy we trekked on and on. About an hour later we came across two houses covered in mist and with high hopes that we were getting close we approached to check directions. We saw the most motivating thing possible with the signs indicating we had reached Deurali at last, with guesthouses nearby.

We stumbled into the first one we came across and headed on up to our room to dump our packs, do a final leech check before heading down for dinner. After a quick dinner and hot bucket shower we were snuggled into our sleeping bags with lights out by 7pm.

Kayla fall count 6  -  Glenn fall count 4

Kayla leech count 5  -  Glenn leech count 7


Day 3 - Deurali to Kinja

Our start today wasn’t as early as we would have liked but as everything in the guesthouse was made fresh we soon realised every meal would be a long event. So around 8am we set off with our first destination being Bhandar (being 30min downhill according to the guest house owner) and Sete being our next stop that night (being 7 hours walk but mostly downhill or flat apart from a big steep 3 hour climb at the end). Setting off, we had high hopes of an easy walk before a lunch break in Kinja and our steep ascent to Sete. It took us about 1½-hours to make it to Bhandar, so we stopped for a quick cup of black tea. Setting off again with further directions from the locals and the reassurance that the trip would be flat and down until Kinja, we were eager to make up the time we had lost the day before having to start in Jiri.

Well we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because we encountered more ups and seemed to be going away from the river we were supposed to follow most of the way.  We managed to pick up a friendly local along the way who assured us that we were heading in the right direction and we were getting close. Every time I asked if we were 30mins/1hour away he would smile and give me a reassuring nod. I’m soon started to realise either Nepal minutes are different to mine, or they just smile and nod at everything we say. Eventually we made it to Kinja 5-hours after we set off and after signing in we headed straight for the guesthouse we had been recommended to for lunch. At this point due to my exhaustion we decided to settle here for the night and tackle the steep up to Sete in the morning.

Glenn fall count 2  -  Kayla fall count 0

Glenn leech count 3  -  Kayla leech count 1


Day 4 - Kinja to Sete

This day started a little slowly as I was feeling quite under the weather and wasn’t sure I could even carry on. After a bit more rest we decided to try to make it just to Sete, transferring as much of the weight from my pack to Glenn’s in the attempt to make it a little easier for me.  Unfortunately, it became apparent early, that I was too weak to make the 3-hour climb up the steep 1000metre ascent to Sete. Much to my delight we came across another Nepali couple that were heading the same direction and offered to play porter for me for the day for under $10. Slowly we progressed up with me stopping regularly to catch my breath. Along the way we stopped at a small farm in order for our new friends and us to have some lunch.  We then trudged on and in no time, with only a few more steep hills to climb, we made it to Sete. After a hot shower, hand washing our clothes and an early dinner we went to bed aching all over.

Fall count 0

Leech count 0


Day 5 - Sete to Taktor

After a brief discussion about what the trek ahead entailed and a quick cup of black tea we were on the road again. Our destinations for the day were Goyam for lunch and Junbesi to stay for the night. After setting off, we soon made it to Dagachu where we ran into the wife of our porter from yesterday and their three children. We stopped for some tea and a quick chat then hit the road again as we still had about an hour before we would reach Goyam.

Arriving at Goyam, 3200metres above sea level, we stopped at nice guesthouse for lunch where, due to the altitude, the food was basic but filling. Our break became quite entertaining with the hosts young children trying to communicate to us but not realising we didn’t speak Nepalese. At the end of our hot lunch we put our packs back on before continuing on to Junbesi.

The next hour saw us ascending even higher, reaching 3500metres, where we soon discovered how difficult it could be carrying our packs with less oxygen. The walk was mainly uneventful but at times disheartening due to being told different time frames to our destination from every person we asked.

When we started to descend quickly I soon got my hopes up that our destination must be close. This eagerness resulted in me twisting my right knee, which forced us to stop for the night, 1½-hours from Junbesi. Luckily, there was a guesthouse nearby, run by a local farmer and his family. After some brief introductions, we settled into our room, lathered my knee in tiger balm before heading to the kitchen for a well-earned cup of black tea. While sitting in the kitchen/dining room, sipping at our tea, the owner entertained us with his infectious laughter while making what he claimed was moonshine. Initially, we thought he might be pulling our leg until we went back to our room to wait for dinner only to discover a large Marijuana plant growing outside our window amongst the veggie patch!

Instead of being offered a menu to select our dinner meal from, our Sherpa friend had just asked us what we had wanted (Sherpa stew) and when. After spending some time in our room, playing cards, we returned to the kitchen ready for dinner. We then discovered what we had asked for dinner was being made for the whole family (whether they liked it or not) and we watched as the farmer and his wife prepared the stew. We ate our meal with the family, chatting between each delicious spoonful of stew. After one to many refills, we headed to our room ready for a good nights sleep.

Before dozing off we made a quick dash to the outside toilet, only to realise it was a small wooden shed built over a stream with a hole cut out of the floor (we wouldn’t want to live downstream). While lying in bed reading our books, we became aware of a small tap-tap-tap at the window. When we looked up we realised we were being invaded by all the moths in Nepal who wanted into the light but were slamming into the window instead. 

Fall count 0

Leech count 1

Kayla injury 1


Day 6 & 7 - Taktor to Junbesi and a rest day.

After a nice night sleep we awoke early, packed up our stuff and headed back into the dining room for black tea and potato butter pancakes. Like the Sherpa stew, the night before, the food was delicious and shared with the family.

We had a short day ahead of us, as we were only walking as far as Junbesi about 1½-hours away. We would be stopping there to get my knee and stomach checked out at the local clinic. The walk was mainly downhill and uneventful apart from jumping out of the way of the school children that were running down the hill or dodging the cow poo. Once we reached Junbesi, we dropped our packs at the Everest Trekker Guest house (owned by the father of previous nights host) and headed off to the hospital. This turned out to be a 15-minute walk away, through farmland, on the outskirts of town. When we had explained my symptoms to the “doctor”, who looked more like a child, they prescribed anti-inflammatories, deep heat and a pressure bandage for my knee, as well as some antibiotics for my stomach. While waiting for the pills and our change we noticed plaques on the wall stating that the Lions club and Wilderness societies from Australia were helping this medical outpost survive.

After this we headed back to the guesthouse, organised some lunch and a hot bucket shower, before enquiring about hiring a porter to carry my backpack for the next two days of our journey. We hoped this would give my knee some extra time to heal. After a discussion about time frames and what would be best for my knee, we decided one full day of rest was in order before continuing. When we headed down for dinner that night we were introduced to our porter. We then tried to explain that we wouldn’t need him until the day after tomorrow and that we would only need him to help us as far as Bupsa, two days walk away. Due to the fact that he spoke no English, we spoke no Nepalese and he had been drinking this became very difficult. Lucky for us our host was on hand to translate and solve any misunderstanding. While eating our dinner we were spoilt when they changed the TV channel over to an English program for us, the first in some time. Once our bellies were full we headed back up to our room for a few hands of Rummy, some reminiscing and a short read before going to sleep.

Although we weren’t heading anywhere we awoke at 5am to keep in our routine and when the sun rose over the village we headed down for a nice easy breakfast and more map reading. Our rest day was spent reading and playing cards. We then had an early dinner and slept well.