This would be our last day on the trail, ending in Lukla where we began 18 days ago. Even though the elevations of Monjo and Lukla are relatively the same, 2835m and 2840m respectively, this is not a flat track. The trail rolls along up and down with the longest climb coming just before Lukla.
We slept well and woke to clear skies. The first time we’ve seen blue sky in this valley. Still, it was a cold morning, colder than I was expecting.
The trail follows the river the whole way with frequent bridge crossings. It’s a pretty valley with numerous villages, homesteads with vegetable gardens and flowers, and small fields of grain and other crops.
Today, unlike the first time we passed through here, the high snowy mountain peaks are visible above steep vegetated mountain sides. Outdoor terraces in the sun were occupied by happy trekkers starting their Himalayan adventure. Around noon it started to cloud over.
Shortly after we left Monjo we hit a clot of trekkers, most likely from Phakding, headed up the valley on their way to Namche. Once past them the traffic was rather light, passing only the occasional trekking group or mule train. The light traffic may be a sign that there weren’t many flights making it to Lukla.
For the final push into Lukla it was cloudy and cold and it remained that way for the rest of the day.
We arrived at 1PM, 4.5 hours from Monjo.
Since we were arriving 2 days earlier than we had originally planned we were obligated to stay at the Holiday Lodge and Restaurant, owned by the same guy that owns Tara Airlines. Indra said staying here would buy us a better chance to move up our flight.
Today, Oct 21, not all the flights from Kathmandu made it to Luka even though the weather was clear in both towns. Air traffic control issues, meaning inadequate capacity at the Khatmandu airport, are more often to blame than poor weather conditions. One guy I talked to had an 8AM flight from Kathmandu and finally arrived in Lukla at 1PM. He was lucky.
When the owner arrived in the evening he informed us that he would try to get us on the 11AM flight tomorrow. I’m not sure what are chances really are. We’ll see tomorrow.
Holiday Inn Lodge and Restaurant
The Holiday Inn Lodge and Restaurant is a midrange place comparable to what you find at higher elevations. Rooms are very small with no double beds. Squat toilets are down the hall. Food is the typical fare and OK. Lunch took 45 minutes to prepare so it’s best to order ahead.
We would have preferred to stay in one of the nicer places town with an ensuite bathroom and hot showers. The Holiday Inn has only solar hot water, so on a cold cloudy day no hot water.
October 21, 2018
For links to all the posts in this series see the 3 Passes Trek page.