Day 5: Junbesi - Nuntala
Taking a rest day in Junbesi is a good option as there are day trips to Thubten Choling Monestary that houses dozens of Buddhist Monks & Nuns. You can also explore the local Gompa dating back to the early 17th century however you may need permission to enter. However continuing on will keep you on pace. After leaving Junbesi, cross the Junbesi Khola (river) and you notice the path divides in two sections. In both cases take the upper/left trail as the lower trail heads away from the EBC to Phaplu/Salleri. This gradual nearly 300 meter ascent to Phurtyang/Sallung (2990 meters) and eventual descent to Ringmo (2700 meters) is one of the most beautiful sections of the lower route, so take in the nearly 360 degree view of mountains and surrounding terraced farms and villages. The hike from Junbesi to Ringmo takes around 3 - 5 1/2 hours and the last 20 minutes of the hike, after crossing a bridge is a tough 100 meter ascent before reaching Ringmo. This settlement is a great place for lunch and several surrounding farms and orchards grow amazing vegetables and fruit, particularly apples. As you walk out of Ringmo pass two large mani walls & take the trail to the right immediately after passing the second mani wall. You then climb out of Ringmo to Trakshindo La (3060 meters), which takes about 1- 1 1/2 hours through a peaceful forest. After Trakshindo La you begin the nearly 2 hour steep descent passing various houses and farms to Nuntala (2350 meters). This was our last day of rain and the views were obscured however on a clear day there are fantastic views of Nuntala and surrounding hills including steeper mountains. Nuntala is a long village with a majority Sherpa population that in October, '13 appeared to sympathize with the Maoist cause. However villagers are used to passing trekkers and there are plenty of lodging options so look around before settling in for the night. The next days walk to Bupsa is where the landscape really opens up, beginning one of our favorite sections of the trail.