October 31, 2006 - We flew so close to the mountains...

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The flight to Lukla and landing on the tiny airstrip was worth a trip in itself. We flew so close to the mountains it felt as if we could reach out and touch them. Lukla is at more than 2850m/9350ft and looks like it’s hanging off a cliff, with its airstrip jutting out into the valley far below.
    

The trail from Lukla was bounded by pine forests and reveals stunning views of snow covered mountains and a winding white water river that looked blue at every turn. We crossed this river several times on small wooden bridges and high metal suspension bridges. There were Buddhist prayer walls, Stupas (temples),Gompas (monasteries), carefully tended fields, brightly painted lodges and teahouses along the trail. Most people along the trail were polite including porters carrying enormous loads on their backs, fellow hikers, and even the Maoist. While we walked slowly up the hills school children passed in their blue uniforms running to and from school. Kami Sherpa, our guide, points out a waterfall several hundred feet high as we near Monjo.  We arrived at Monjo tired and pleased that we hiked as well as we did. At the lodge we were greeted with hot tea and many choices for dinner.
    
Soon after we started on our journey, it became apparent that Kami was quite a celebrity, with five Everest summits to his credit.  People stopped along the way to greet him enthusiastically. During dinner other guides recognized him and several groups asked to be photographed with Kami.  What we appreciated was his gentle kind manner and the care he showed throughout the day.