The further up the Khumbu Valley we walked however the scenery just got better. We stopped for lunch at the Waterfall View Lodge having some local tea (yak milk tea and ginger tea) with a large bowl of steaming hot noodle soup which was most welcome.
We stayed at the Royal Sherpa Lodge in Phakding …. and I’m still trying to figure out what was “Royal” about it. By evening time as soon as the sun set it got very cold and with no heating in the lodge, other than a log fire in the middle of the main room, the bedrooms were very cold. Further to that we had no hot water so we had to forego a shower that evening. Food was simple and it took 2 hours to make dinner, after which it was a case of warming yourself at the log fire then off to bed, fully clothed and with hat on to stay warm under the two blankets.
In the morning we were up early, had a simple breakfast, then it was off on up the trail towards Monjo just short of Jorsalle. As we passed through Monjo there were small shops selling water and snacks including the popular momo which was a type of steamed dumpling. We also passed a small tailor shop with the tailor already at work.
Just after we left Phakding we had to make a large river crossing over a suspension bridge shared as usual with yaks, dzo and porters. There were a number of suspension bridge crossings to come on this section of the trail. The trail then followed the Dudh Kosi River up the valley offering up wonderful views of the mountains. The colour of the river was bright, aquamarine blue from all the minerals being washed down from the mountains. The boulders in this river were enormous, some the size of a large house.
We passed through some small villages where we saw children walking to school, some even being transported on horse to the school. More prayer wheels, prayer flags, yaks, dzo, goats and donkeys …. it was becoming a routine now.
Just before Monjo the trail made a steep decline to the river for a small fixed bridge crossing and here we encountered a large train of donkeys taking bottles of gas up the trail. There were a few small stone huts at the river next to the bridge which made for a good photograph. Once we climbed up the other side negotiating the steep stone steps we were in Monjo where we stayed for one night.
Monjo was a pleasant small, rural village with a few lodges, small shops, a school and a small monastery perched on a rocky outcrop. Neatly cultivated fields growing vegetables and rice were dotted around the side of the hill. The mountains at the back of the village were spectacular and topped with snow making for some great views.
I met a couple of the local kids while walking up to the monastery and was very surprised at their command of English – obviously a very good school in Monjo. I was further surprised to hear the the older boy’s name was Angus! I told him this was a name from my country.