17 November – On the road to Khamding

Where to begin? This trip was my dad’s idea and we all wish he could have been here to enjoy the adventure with us. Unfortunately his doctor strongly suggested the high altitude would not be a good idea. We know he was with us in spirit!

As most of you know, my friend and neighbour, Karin, has joined me and we’ve just spent the last unforgettable six days visiting Tendi’s village – Khamding.
We hired a private jeep rather than be one of ten squished sardine passengers in a public jeep. In so doing we found out a bit about cultural expectations. Everyone in the village knew Tendi was coming, so could we bring this person or that, and various items as well. Karin and I agreed to two extra passengers on our dime as it were. The jeeps are spacious so this would be no hardship. We ended up giving a ride to three. Still no hardship. More would have started to get squishy.

We set off at about 6:45 and some 14 hours later arrived at our overnight destination. A long day of some considerable bouncing and dramatic scenery. Much of the road we drove along is beautifully engineered and mostly complete so there were long sections of truly remarkable smooth although very windy hair-pinned. The Japanese are building a massive stretch of this road and Tendi feels this is why it is so much superior to the road that is being constructed by the Nepal government around the Annapurna. Whatever the reason, it shows remarkable road building skill. Once it’s complete, people will be able to drive all the way to Lukla (Start point for most people hiking or climbing in the Everest region) instead of flying or walking. It is only in the past couple of years that Khamding has had this road access to the outside world.

The reasons it took us so many hours to accomplish this journey are several. Our jeep required some form of repair in its wheel baring shortly after departure. The entire wheel was removed and several mysterious things done prior to its replacement. There were stops for road construction, a couple of which were about an hour in length and there were a couple of lengthy detours around sections of road still not ready for traffic. We spent the night at a dumpy road side place in a truck stop sort of town at a major intersection of routes to various regions. There were road signs and one pointed to Solu Khumbu Region – where we would be going the following day. In case you want to look it up on google earth the name of this forgettable place is Okhaldunga. There are likely several spellings.

Have tried to add pictures but to no avail – internet is as usual too slow. Will try to do so later.

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