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The most dangerous airport in the world. The plane ride was relatively smooth and very clear once we got outside the city of Kathmandu. As we approached Lukla, snow-capped mountains lined the horizon. Make sure to sit on the left side of the plane for the best views! Descending into Lukla you could see the mountain directly in front of us and the drop off at the end of the runway. My heart was racing as we touched down and people cheered for a successful landing.
We hurried out of the plane to grab our bags since our flight had been delayed and we needed to start trekking immediately to make it to our first teahouse before sundown. Once my adrenaline from the flight wore off, I could feel the altitude. Simply climbing stairs required heavier breathing. Lukla sits just over 9,300 ft and the highest I have ever been in my travels was 6,000 ft.
As we made our way through the small mountain town of Luka, I planned to purchase a pair of trekking poles. Again, most everything is off-brand, but the pair I chose worked splendidly for the entire trek. If you are planning to buy anything in the mountains be aware that bargaining is acceptable and having cash is almost a necessity. I was able to buy a painting as a souvenir with a credit card in Namche but had I purchased with cash I would have gotten a better deal.
Leaving Lukla and trekking into the mountains it was hard to stay focused on anything but the snowy peaks ahead of me. We crossed a number of suspension bridges that were lined with colorful prayer flags. We followed a picturesque river that weaved in and out of the mountains. We passed through multiple smaller towns as we trekked towards Namche Baazar each with mesmerizing stupas and loads of prayer wheels. Spinning the prayer wheels ensures good fortune along the trek as well as staying to the left of any prayer rocks on the path.
We had lunch in Phakding, which is where most trekkers will decide to end their first day of trekking to acclimate. We, however, decided to push on towards Larja Dobhan which would put us closer to Namche Bazaar in the morning. The teahouse we would be staying in was empty so we had the entire dining room to ourselves. We sipped multiple cups of tea and I enjoyed my first taste of Dal Bhat. As you climb higher in the mountains, hot water and tea will become more expensive, but it’s important to stay hydrated when trekking at altitude. Hot tea is the perfect way to replenish while also warming yourself up. I planned ahead and brought my own tea from home so that I only had to purchase hot water. I would drink a few cups and then pour the rest of the hot water into my reusable bottle. The bottle would keep me warm in the evenings and would already be sterilized for drinking in the morning.
It was nice to sleep a little lower than Namche for the evening. Acclimating for me wasn’t as easy as I expected and coming from sea level makes it that much more difficult. By the end of the trek, I was trying my best to consume anything that would help me cope with the altitude. I think I’ll write an entire post just about what helped me get through and most importantly enjoy the entire trek! *April 2nd, 2018.