nepal stingy nomads
Travel Disaster Stories

Flight cancelled – let’s walk

The trek to Everest Base Camp was the first of many long treks that Alya and I did together. We had some interesting obstacles during our 12 days walking. We were however only really tested after we thought the trek was over…

Following 12 long, beautiful days of walking with some bad altitude sickness on the way, we were very happy to arrive at Lukla. The previous day or two we were talking about chocolate cake, coffee and our nice hotel in Kathmandu a lot while walking. Nepal is covered by The Himalayas and several other mountain ranges. Consequently Lukla like many other Nepalese towns can not be reached by road.

Everest Base Camp #howfartogether #traveldisaster
Stingy Nomads at Everest Base Camp

When we arrived at the airfield for our flight back to Kathmandu we realized that we might have a problem. There were many upset people standing around. Flights were canceled due to strong winds! Alya had an expensive flight back to Russia from Kathmandu in a couple of days. She could not afford to lose the flight.  Many people found themselves in a similar position and for the helicopter companies Christmas came early!

The only options were waiting, taking a helicopter flight or walking back. We decided to wait. After a day or two things were not looking good. The weather was looking worse, the little town was getting very full since people kept arriving after their trek with nowhere to go and helicopter flight prices went from $300 to $600 overnight!

Everest Base Camp #howfartogether #traveldisaster
There were many upset people sitting around the airport, stuck in Lukla.

We were running out of time. Tara Airlines overbooked flights and had a ridiculous waiting list system, we could be stuck here for a week! Following another hopeless argument with airline staff we got a refund on our flights. Everybody around us were bargaining for helicopter prices. We decided no ways and started looking at maps. Sometimes it is amazing what a little change in perspective can do. So Tara Airlines are paying us $160 each to hike around these beautiful mountains for three  more days!

Our positive attitude got a bit of a kick in the teeth when we started walking in a massive down pour that turned into a hail storm. Our aim was to reach a small town where some sort of a road started in 3 days walk. Following a late start and not wanting to fall behind our planned schedule, we walked into the night on that first day. Drenched, hungry and walking with headlamps we were very relieved to eventually find a guesthouse on the road.

Everest Base Camp #howfartogether #traveldisaster
Donkeys and feet, the only transport in the mountains.

The rest of our trek to civilization was pretty uneventful. Other than the constant rain it was actually a nice route that we would have loved under different circumstances, nice views, friendly locals and almost no other tourists. Now we were however just walking to get back to Kathmandu in time. A 4×4 road starts in the village Sellery and we managed to get a Jeep ride back to Kathmandu. It was a backbreaking 17 hours on very muddy “roads”, through rivers and over mountains.

Everest Base Camp #howfartogether #traveldisaster
It was raining for days, there were a couple of unexpected rivers blocking our path.
Everest Base Camp #howfartogether #traveldisaster
The newly formed river blocking our way.

Another travel disaster that memory paints into an exiting adventure.

Alya got back in time for her flight and that coffee and chocolate cake was amazing…

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