Day 8: Surke - Monjo
Please Note: Our friends lodge and home, the Hotel Sherpa View Point in Thadkoshi was destroyed by the recent Earthquakes. The family plans to rebuild but needs your help. To donate click on this link Hotel Sherpa View Point Go Fund Me page that we created, please click on this link. 100% of your donations will go towards the family and their rebuilding process.
You almost immediately notice an increase in traffic from donkeys, porters, and trekkers a few minutes out of Surke. Starting the day around 2300 meters you begin climbing about 45 minutes before passing a fork in the trail in which you can turn right to climb a steep hill up to Lukla (45 minutes-1 hr). To avoid Lukla, continue on the main trail for another 1 hour before reaching the tiny settlement of Chourikharka (note*** Much of Chourikharka was destroyed by the recent earthquakes) and a further 15 minutes down the trail Cheplung at the junction of the Lukla/Jiri fork. We stopped to eat lunch in Cheplung at Ama Dablam lodge, which serves excellent food (try the potato/veggie stir fry). The people watching is fascinating, as you see more guides & porters in addition to throngs of trekkers fresh off the plane from Lukla beginning their journey, many with clean clothes and unworn boots. It was strange to suddenly be mixing with trekkers who didn't just go through the past week of of hardships & beauty like our fellow Jiri companions (guides & porters included). Although this section of the trail is more crowded, getting an early start ensures you avoid (for the most part) the crowds. At this point you notice many differences then the Jiri-Lukla section. First, the costs of goods/services are higher and more organized trekking groups. Again, avoid them by getting an early start, at least before 8:00am. The trail is wide enough at this point that you can pass others without incident however the increase in traffic means more dust so bring a bandana or face cover. The trail past Cheplung to Monjo is rolling and there are not many steep ascents or descents. In addition to more crowds, the towns are quaint but larger with more modern conveniences. Keep trekking and you pass ThadKoshi, Ghat, Phakding, & Benkar before finishing in Monjo. The highlight of the trail includes crossing many high/long suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi (Milk River), passing various Mani walls and prayer wheels, and various bakeries selling treats which you may have missed on the lower section. During this section you gain about 530 meters before reaching Monjo (2830 meters).