Day 18: Gokyo - Phortse
This is one of the longer days on the high section of the trail however you will find you have more energy as the day goes by due to a loss of altitude. The mostly gradual down hill hiking from Gokyo (4750 meters) to Phortse (3800 meters) takes around 6-7 hours. In total you descend 1170 meters & ascend, mostly at the end of the day, 220 meters.
***Note: We recommend taking the same trail that you ascended to Gokyo. There is another trail on the other side of the Dudh Kosi passing the villages of Thare, Thore, & Gyengyo, however it is more difficult, exposed, and much narrower.
Although you can stay in Dole or Phortse Tenga, making up the last hill to the rural town of Phortse will make the next long day a bit easier. In addition, Phortse was one of our favorite towns in the high route and has many wonderful lodges, small farms growing potatoes, millet, & buckwheat, a school, and two Gompa's. In addition, the protected forests around Phortse are home to Himalayan pheasants (Danphe) & deer. Follow the trail down from Gokyo passing villages that you may have had lunch or stayed at on the way up including Machermo, Luza, Lhafarma, & Dole. Click on the links to Day 14, Day 15, & Day 16 for more information on the trail. Although the hike is not particularly strenuous, it is quite long and you will need to stop a couple of times to refill your water bottles and have snacks. We started our trek down from Gokyo at 8:15am and had lunch in Dole around 12:00. The last section from Dole to Phortse becomes a bit steeper as you walk through Pine & Rhododendron forest crossing various streams and walking besides waterfalls. As you get very close to Phortse Tenga a trail drops to the left towards the Dudh Kosi River and a large bridge the crosses to Phortse, about a 20-30 minute walk up hill from the bridge. Although you will be exhausted on the last section take a moment to notice the splendor of the surrounding forests and tread lightly as you may see Musk Deer & Danphe, the national bird of Nepal. We stayed at the Namaste Lodge, which came highly recommended and is owned by a friendly family who welcome guests with warm smiles and hot soup and lovely potato dishes. When you arrive in the lower section of Phortse, take a left at the mani walls in front of you, walk up the hill 2-3 minutes and make a right walking towards the school. There you see the Namaste Lodge.