Have You Considered a Trek in Nepal this Fall?

To most people autumn means colorful leaves, cooler nights, Halloween and harvest culminating in Thanksgiving. To me fall means the perfect time to trek I Nepal. Yes, I have been fortunate to have unlimited time to hike across the Himalayas in Nepal, India, Tibet and Bhutan yet I realize this is not the same for most people who need to fit their travel within time parameters. But with a bit of planning and travel expertise you can make your trek a tad bit more unique than the ordinarily itineraries being offered by the majority of travel companies.

For example, take the Everest Base Camp trek. Almost always companies begin the trek with flying from Kathmandu to Lukla at which your trek starts.. Easily, you can begin your Solu Khumbu experience in Jiri hiking to Lukla which adds only 7 days onto the entire trip. This pre trek takes you through lush chartreuse Himalayan foothills much less frequented by fellow trekkers.

The Jiri to Lukla trek passes through parts of Solu Khumbu that are relatively undeveloped compared to the district around Namche Bazar. This enables you to experience many traditional aspects of the culture of the local people that are not seen above Lukla. The trail passes through numerous settlements of different ethnic groups including Sherpa, Tamang, Jirel, Rai and Brahmin. The trail is well serviced, with trekking teahouse and good campsites. Beginning your trek from Jiri you can overnight in the villages of Deurali, Kenja, Sete, Lamjura, Junbesi, Tragsindho, Khari Khola and Surkhe (below Lukla). The most interesting of these stops is Junbesi, the oldest Sherpa settlement in Solu. You may want to add an extra day here. The main points of interest are the monastery of Thupten Chholing, about one hour above Junbesi and the villages of Mabung and Pangkarma which are en route to the monastery. The monastic school at Phungmoche, an hour above Thupten Chholing is also worth visiting. Below the pass at Tragsindho the trail falls over 1500 meters to cross the Dudh Kosi. Here it follows the river and joins the main trail to Everest Base Camp below Lukla.

I took 2 weeks trekking from Jiri to Lukla and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I must admit, that because the terrain is never flat I consoled myself on some trail ascensions that “must goes up must come down”. Junbesi is not to be missed and was a favorite with Tenzin Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary on their Everest explorations. Also I want to mention that Mt’ Everest and Gokyo Lake gets all the attention but I found Chokyun Ri fascinating. There are interesting day hikes around Namche not to miss while acclimatizing such as Khumjung (largest village in the region and home of late Sir Edmund Hillary’s school). Thame is also a nice day hike and good introduction to one of the main valleys in the Everest region. At the head of this valley, there is a traditional trading route over a high pass to Tibet, so the valley has had lots of refugee traffic over the years.

If you’re wanting a different take on an old trek your options are as unlimited as destinations to visit. Nepal is once again “open for business” and back on the map as a desirable country to visit. As days get shorter and you begin planning your fall getaway, try Nepal–you won’t be disappointed!