DAY 2: SHIVALAYA - BHANDAR:
This is the first of many difficult days ahead, climbing & descending the many green mountains in the Jiri-Lukla section. The views on clear days are rich with greenery and are absolutely spectacular. The contrast of the lower route & upper section of the Khumbu is mind-blowing. Begin your day climbing a rather steep 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hour ascent from Shivalaya (1800 meters) passing various small farms. There are several side trails on this section however make sure you follow the trail going up the mountain, passing the small Sherpa settlement of Shangbada until you reach the hamlet of Deorali (2730 meters). Here we feasted on Thukpa Noodle Soup and hot tea while getting a break from the rain. Deorali is the first sherpa village you pass & can recognize the village by the large mani wall. Dropping in elevation to Bhandar, you take the middle trail with Panang Guest House on your left. After a few minutes after leaving Deorali, take a left at the fork in the trail to Bhandar. DO NOT GO RIGHT. Also do not take the trail to Chyangmela (unless you want to). Continue to traverse down hill with fantastic views of Bhandar & the surrounding area. Depending on the season (we trekked in mid-October) the surrounding landscape is as green as the Irish countryside however a rain storm limited our views. It takes about 1 - 1 1/2 hour to descend from Deorali to Bhandar (2200 meters). Entering the village you pass the Shangir-la & Sunny Guest Houses on your right & eventually come to a red Gompa, an old whitewashed stupa, & series of Mani walls surrounded by peaceful trees and Buddhist prayer flags. We chose the Himalayan Guest House at the end of the village which had great food and a fun loving family willing to play cards with you until the early morning hours. Explore the local Gompa & Stupa however be wary of leaches in the tall grass after or during the rain.