A bucket-list trek through the Himalayas

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David Greis and Stephen Jaffe on Gokyo Peak (5 360 metres)

When my California-based nephew, David Greis, phoned me from Bangkok, suggesting that we trek together in Nepal, I immediately agreed. In October we flew from Kathmandu to Lukla, ‘the most dangerous airport in the world’, in the heart of the Himalayas.

After a hair-raising landing in misty weather, we began our eleven-day trek up to the turquoise Gokyo Lakes, culminating in our ascent of Gokyo Peak (Ri) at
5 360 metres above sea level.

On our route we saw Tibetan snowcocks, Himalayan chughs (birds), and caravans of fully-loaded yaks and dzopkes (a cross between a cow and a yak). We trekked through forests of blue pine, rhododendrons and bushes of aromatic juniper, which the locals burn in special containers, in order to purify and sanctify their homes.

As the sun slowly rose over the adjacent Cho Oyu peak (8 188m), the temperature at Gokyo dropped to minus 12 degrees centigrade, freezing the water in our bottles!

From the summit of Gokyo Peak we enjoyed spectacular views of some of earth’s greatest peaks: Mt Everest (8 848 m), Lhotse (8 516 m), and Makalu (8 485 m), with the lakes and the huge Gokyo glacier below us.

The first and last sections of this breath-taking trek are along the ‘Everest Highway’, which is the route trekkers take en-route to Everest Base Camp. Accommodation was in ‘teahouses,’ where a variety of traditional and non-traditional foods are available, ranging from Nepalese Dal Bhat to Indian curry and Italian pizza!

Our guide, Bhim Simkhada of Active Everest Treks, ensured that we were well looked after, while our porter, Man Kumar, carried our gear, thus allowing us to focus on the awesome surroundings without the burden of heavy packs on our backs.

For anyone who enjoys trekking in the most spectacular scenery on earth, this Himalayan adventure should be on their bucket-list!

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