Day 12 : Namche to Phakding
Had two plates of french toast and later to join Kanchuki, Sudhir and Maddy and hit the Namche Bazaar streets. Purchased two walking poles one each for Sudhir n Kanchuki, one shawl for Maddy, one woolen cap for my sister. Lunched around noon and headed to Phakding @ 1.
The descent from Namche went very quickly. The hill that we had struggled to get up nearly two weeks before went very quickly on the way down. The dense air powered our retreat along side the Dudh Khosi as we made our way through village after village, like Jorsale and Monjo, and across many river crossings.
There were several hills on the way to Phakding. Although they went much easier with our bodies acclimatized to 17,000', it was still a shock top our system after so much descent the previous two days. Reached our hotel in Phakding at around 5 in the evening, tasted schezwan pizza in dinner and gulped two carlsberg while few folks from our team were tasting some local wine.
Day 13 : Phakding to Lukla
As the sun rose in Phakding we were greeted with mixed emotions. Eager to get back to civilization, but not yet ready to leave the Khumbu behind, we awoke for breakfast. After a few servings of eggs and black tea, we were ready to make our way down from Phakding to Lukla.
With the bright sun warming us in the low valley air, we enjoyed some tea and crackers before heading into the tea house where Mingma and Co. served us lunch. Only two weeks before we had sat in the very teahouse not knowing what would transpire in the weeks that followed. Blissfully aware of what we had done and seen, we took our time to have tea and reflect on our experiences. As we made our way out of Lukla, we took in the sights and smells of the Khumbu valley one more time. At the top of a decent hill, we stopped for a snack and some water as we watched the Dudh Khosi below. Just a short ways off lay the village of Lukla, our journey's end.
After the break we made our way up the hill to Lukla. With bittersweet feelings we made the last few steps up the hill together as we crossed under the archway that marks the entrance to Lukla one more time. We celebrated the moments with some snaps. We had overcome a fair amount of adversity through sickness and altitude to reach Base Camp and we were feeling quite proud of what we had overcome. Back in the lodge we ordered Puri, Aloo Parathas, Fried Rice, certainly an odd combination. Odd things often look very appetizing after eating a steady diet of potatoes and soup for two weeks.
As all of us needed some time to believe and digest the fact that we all did EBC, we caught up with an afternoon sleep. As the clock turned half past 4, Kanchuki barged into our room and invited us for an evening walk around the streets of Lukla. Kanchuki, Paddy, Maddy, Sudhir and me, We ended up @ STARBUCKS and had tasted some finest of coffees.
Dinner time was an opportunity to celebrate with our new Sherpa friends, Om Bahadur Ji and Kiran, and thank them for the success they helped us to achieve. Without them none of what we had accomplished would have been possible. We are eternally grateful for the help, support and friendship they provided. I must also thank Kanchuki who taught us some fine dance steps. As beer after beer was put on the table, we shook the dance floor with our steps. someone passed around a bottle of Signature that we all took a drink from. After hours of dance the party gradually broke up around 10 and played some cards till 11:30. With great happiness in our hearts we quickly fell asleep.