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Flying into Lukla

The day had come for me to fly to Lukla airport to begin my trek to Everest Base Camp with our Take on Nepal team. I had always felt a bit apprehensive about the flight as I had never flown in a small aircraft before. In the taxi on our way to the airport our guide Mane informed our group that it was likely that our flight would be delayed due to the heavy fog, he was right! Our flight was delayed by 5 hours! Our team always book flights to Lukla with a reputable airline, one that has new aircrafts and highly trained pilots, this information eased some of the fear I had about flying in a small aircraft over the Himalayan mountains. There were a total of 10 people on the flight, everyone on board felt a mixture of excitement and nerves. Two of our team members were about to take their first ever flight, thrown in at the deep end! An air hostess gave us a lolly each and some brief information. The noise of the engines is loud, we waited about 20 minutes on the runaway before we were given the go ahead to take flight.

The tiny plane soared up into the air and below us we saw incredible views of Kathmandu, it didn’t take long before we were flying over the mountains and then amongst the mountains. It took me about 10 minutes before I started to feel comfortable and relaxed enough to take in the spectacular mountain views surrounding me.

About 20 minutes into the flight we started to approach a large mountain, the plane then shook and jumped as it flew directly over the mountain and down! Our decent was fast, before we knew it we had landed 25 minutes after take off. Everyone on board the flight clapped with delight and anticipation! It was an exhilarating experience!

After landing in Lukla we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a Sherpa lodge before beginning our gentle 3 hour walk to Phakding. Because our flight had departed so late, our walk to Phakding was just as the sun started to set behind the mighty mountains. The trek was a lovely introduction to the Everest region. It was exciting to see donkey’s carrying loads into the village and to see porters and trekking groups making their way up and down the trail. It felt surreal to be there, after many years of imaging the experience, I was actually walking the trails that will ultimately take me to the Base of the highest mountain in the world. We arrived at our lovely, cosy lodge just as the sun was setting. Everyone in our group were happy to take off our boots and relax with a filling meal before debriefing with the team about how we felt the day went. Our leading guide Mane spoke at length about the risks of high altitude sickness and the symptoms that we needed to be aware of. The team were feeling optimistic, excited and aware of the need to support each other throughout the trek to Everest Base Camp.

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