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Published: February 6th 2006
Then it was off to the Everest Region for a 12 day trek from Jiri to Tengboche and back to Lukla for our flight. We hired a fabulous Nepali guy - Santosh - who was our guide, porter, friend and family for a month while we trekked. Not only did he take us along the mountain trails for over 500km but he also taught us the local lingo - a great Nepali teacher! If anyone is looking for a Nepali trekking guide in future...!
Our first encounter with the Maoists was in the first couple of days when they tried to extract 40 pounds from each of us. It was a long 3 hours sitting about negotiating with them. Their English wasn't great but Sofie managed with a little Hindi to get them down to half price. We didn't see any guns on these guys but the story going round is that if you don't pay them then they can stop the local people from giving you food and accomodation further along your trek. We decided it wasn't worth running the gauntlet.
For the first few days of the trek we were in the Solu Valley and
had long ascents to higher altitude in the morning, only to descend back down the valley to the river in the afternoon! We crossed several rivers in this region.
After a few days we were then in the Khumbu region, the landscape changed and we began to get our first glimpses of the Himalayan peaks. One of the toughest days was crossing the Lam Jura pass at over 3300 metres and was the first time we had to think about the possibility of Altitude Sickness. We had several planes and helicopters flying low over our heads as we stood on the pass admiring the view.
After walking for 9 days we arrived at the most Northerly point, the famous monestary of Tengboche where we had a fabulous view of Sagarmatha or Chongalungna, Mount Everest! Here was a great place to hang out and enjoy a 360 degree view of several of the world's highest mountains, with the sounds of pooja and drums coming from the monestary, and trains of yak walking past. We saw one poor lady who was obviously struggling with Altitude Sickness and had to be airlifted out by helicopter. As the helicopter landed we
realised that the locals had used the opportunity to fly in some crates of beer!
The trek ended with a return journey from Lukla airport, which was one of the most exciting flights we have ever taken. We had bad weather on the day we wanted to leave, but this only added to the excitement as were catapulted off a cliff in a tiny plane with cotton wool in our ears, praying that the the visability would stay clear all the way to Kathmandu.
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