4am wake up and Kurt my roomie who had come in from HK at 1130pm was up and bright too. 457am with all the bags at reception with the other folks – those who were camping were leaving the next day, us guys in the lodges were in 2 groups of around 22 each. The Twin Otter 14 seater taking us was an experience – the smallest I had been on before this was a Dornier. A half hour later I realized that this was the only size that could make it to Lukla which has a sharply inclined airstrip, which looks all of 300m long. That was quite an amazing landing, even according to Kurt who flies for Cathay.
Briefing, teaming up, baggage check and a few hours later we were off – Past the Lukla airport to the road to Everest. I wondered how many thousands of people made it on this route every year to climb Everest or a peak around, and several more, to trek to Everest Base Camp – EBC. Irish Pub, German Bakery and more – Lukla was buzzing from what used to be grazing pasture land before Tenzing and Hillary’s climb in 1953.
The mule track was wide but rough enough to fuel the excitement of what was to come ahead, as we walk along the Dudh Kosi Valley. Kosi meaning river and Dudh for milk – because of all the rapids.
We kept a slow easy pace, and chatted as we went along – Ulefa, a climber from Israel is the first Palestinian woman to come on this marathon. Susan Weeks a 200 time ultra marathon from LA – a gritty and tough 72 year old was all set, Steve from Cape Town had been through many triathlons and a few marathons before. Diane and Rex from Adelaide were here because Diane had gotten into ultra running post starting off with a 10k just 5 years ago. Shawn from Canada and Shogo from Tokyo were rooming up and had run several marathons themselves.
We passed several villages along the way and the loveliest one was just called Ghat 6 in the Solo Khumbu District. The houses looked really inviting, much like Switzerland perhaps 100 years ago. I could settle down here for a few months a year for sure. Bland dinner of great soup, rice, dal, boiled veggies and papad. Off to sleep like a baby – 20 rooms with one loo and one wash basin!!