.All Trips / Asia / Nepal

The World’s most Dangerous Airport — Lukla, Nepal

Lukla Airport blog post

I’ve had some gut-wrenching plane landings (and take-offs) in my days.  The first as a young medical student flying with a bush pilot to remote First Nation (American Indian) villages in Western Ontario.  The plane was outfitted with large skis so that it could land and take off from frozen lakes or rivers.  Unfortunately we were traveling at the time of the spring thaw and the ice was starting to melt.  Landing on the puddle dotted ice was bad enough, but the feeling of the plane trying to accelerate as it kept dropping down and breaking into the soft ice still gives me nightmares as I thought we were done for (thought the pilot wasn’t phased in any way and …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 15, 2013. Mani Stones, Khumbu region of Nepal

2013-45-November 15a

There are many memorable moments when one treks in the Khumbu.  From flowering rhododendron bushes, to mountains that seem to stretch to the stars, to glaciers cracking and calving and feeding rushing rivers and streams.  But perhaps even more fascinating than the dramatic landscapes are the Sherpa people who reside here.  Living in a harsh and rugged land their lives are filled with hard work and few pleasures.  But they are happy and cheerful people, grateful for small acts of kindness and happy to engage with you as best they can given language difficulties.

I was especially struck by the deep Buddhist faith of these folks, a trait shared with their neighboring Tibetan brethern, which you’ll see manifest as colorful strings …

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“Pic of the Week”. November 30, 2012 — Musical monks, Kumjung, Khumbu region, Nepal

November 30, 2012

The Sherpa people live in one of the harshest regions on the planet, the Khumbu.  Their world is one of majestic steep mountains (the highest anywhere), roaring rivers, glaciers, steep trails and yaks.  There are no roads, no airports, not even a swimming pool.  They are poor and have little; still, they are among the happiest and friendliest people I’ve had the privilege of meeting.  The Sherpa are best know for their excellence in mountaineering.  From Sir Edmund Hillary on they have guided and staffed expeditions to the many tall peaks in the region, especially Mount Everest.

We had camped overnight near the village of Kumjung, close to Namche Bazaar and not far from Mount Everest.  It …

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