Jenny Murphy has always considered himself adventurous but not an adventurer. When his friend Owen suggested him to fly to Nepal, all he could picture was Into Thin Air or a playground for the ultra-fit (and the ultra-rich). However, an eye opening trip to Nepal completely transformed the way he used to picture Nepal. He realized that Nepal is much more than mountains and is doable for everyone as long as they know what they are signing up for. Below are few excerpts taken from his blog which was originally up on cntraveler.com.
Is Nepal open for business and has the country recovered from April 25 earthquake?
Though many buildings and stupas were still in need of repair,most parts of the city was back in action. Murphy writes:”In Namche Bazaar, a hub for trekkers, tourism was down 60 percent compared with the same period the year before, despite minimal damage. The town’s 50-plus lodges, including ours, were essentially vacant during our visit. Red Cross tents still dotted the village of Khumjung, and hosts at the teahouses were eager to see any foreign visitors at all.”
How hard is trekking?
Murphy hiked for 4 days from Lukla, the gateway to Everest. They traveled by helicopter to see the Everest Base Camp and Khumbu Glacier from there. “Though we walked for six hours some days, the pace was leisurely, with frequent stops for cups of masala chiya (a milky black tea common in the mountains) and photos of weathered prayer flags, mani stones (large rocks inscribed with mantras), and distant snowcapped peaks. There were moments when I stepped beyond my comfort zone—like the day a sketchy suspension bridge began to sway wildly as I crossed, high above the jade-hued Dudh Kosi River—but most days I felt an unexpected calm coupled with a definite sense of achievement,” writes Murphy.
And now the most important question : Do you really need a guide?
Luckily, Murphy and his team found a typical team leader named Maya Sherpa who was one of the first Nepalese women to summit k2 in 2014. Apart from that, they had three sherpas and two porters in their team. “The small pack I carried, stuffed with water and extra layers, weighed less than the purse I typically drag around Manhattan,” writes Murphy.
How were the lodges along the way? And what about the food?
Murphy found the Nepalese lodges really cozy like New England B&Bs—minus the chintz—with hot towels on arrival, electric blankets, and indulgent breakfast spreads of delicious yak cheese and fried Tibetan bread. The famous Nepali Masala Chiya even gave him the power to abandon his favorite morning coffee addiction. Dinner was usually a broth with flat wheat flour noodles, spinach, carrots and boiled potatoes.
When is the best time to go to Nepal?
“September and October typically have the best weather: clear skies for mountain views and temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees, though higher elevations can see occasional snowstorms.”