My wife and I travelled to Nepal in October, 1996, with 
Everest Trekking

an excellent Vancouver-based company associated with Tashi Sherpa of Nepal.

We were fortunate to have as our guide, Merv Cavers, a personal friend who hails from Winnipeg.

We flew by large Russian-made helicopter into the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal, not too far south of Mt. Everest. We landed at Phaplu, a small village about two or three day's journey south of Lukla, the more popular starting point. In this way we were able to travel through villages not as spoiled by masses of trekkers as some of the locations further north. After a quick cup of tea in the local tea-house, and an introduction to our Sirdar, Nuri, we were off along the trail.

This lady, or "sherpani", is decked out in the finest Sherpa costume, the "chuka". She is gazing wistfully out over a Himalayian valley in the Solu Khumbu region. The Sherpa people, originally decendents from Tibet, have a long proud history of hard work ethics and strong family ties making them ideal hosts for the many trekkers who venture into their austere environment every year in search of themselves and answers to questions about their own lives.

The people in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal, both men and women, are very hard-working. Every burden is carried either on their own backs, or those of their animals. In the whole two weeks we spent in the Khumbu region, we did not see one wheeled vehicle of any kind. There are places where a wheelbarrow or small wagon would have been a great help, but the people seem to prefer to rely on the sheer muscle-power of their backs and legs.

Prayer stones making up "maniwalls" like the one of the left are found at the entrance to every village. The devoted pass only on the left, touching the stones as they go by, and reciting the Buddhist prayer, "Om mani, padme hum". Some villages have prayer wheels, either turned by the passer-by, or in some cases by streams running underneath, thus automatically perpetuating the offering of prayers. Prayer flags are also commonly found flying from rooftops throughout the villages.

This was our first view of Mt. Everest, still some 25 or 30 km away, from half-way up the long torturous hill leading to Namche Bazaar. What excitement! All of us tourists strained to catch our first glimpse of the famous mountain! We were very lucky to see it as clearly as we did from where we were, as much of the time it is covered in cloud. We weren't even half-way up it at this point, but were already feeling the effects of the thinning atmosphere as we continued to climb the dusty trail.

Namche Bazaar, a famous trading village located at the junction between the trail to Mt. Everest, and one of the main routes from Tibet, was the half-way point of our trek. At over 11,000 ft. (over 3,400 m.) it was the start of the higher altitude portion of our trek. We stayed for two nights in the "Base Camp" Lodge, a comfortable lodge with showers, flush toilets, and fine dining. We also returned here for one more night at the end of the trek.

The views and opinions expressed here are entirely those of the author. They are based on a very short exposure to the country, and as such are coloured by personal biases, impressions and subject to potential inaccuracies of interpretation.

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This page was last updated on:  03-Jun-2007
Al Robinson, 2007, all rights reserved