April 22: Last day on the trail

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We got off to a leisurely start on the day, since the walk to Lukla was short. We started from Phakding at 8:30 AM and were in Lukla by lunch time. While we were on the trail, we saw a couple of helicopters on the way up the valley — from other trekkers we heard the rumor that there was an avalanche near Everest Base Camp, or maybe a lost person from Everest Base Camp. We were not sure what the straight story was.

We reached Lukla and settled into the Paradise Lodge, just a stone’s throw from the runway (if you dare to throw a stone through the barbed wire and past the military folks guarding the runway). We walked around town and I had a chance to investigate the place where I had camped on my previous trip to Nepal, when we got stuck in Lukla for five days. The neighboring lodge has been expanded and the area around the lodge has been taken over by the military. Not quite the cozy place it was sixteen years ago. Things change. So it goes.

We gave out tips and extra gear to the trekking staff that had supported us for the past month, before seeing them off to their own villages. It was a happy/sad moment — these are such neat people, and we have enjoyed their company. But they are anxious to get back to their homes, as are we.

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