top of page

Trekking Through the Remote Sherpa Villages of the Everest Region: A Family Adventure, Part I

Tucking through the doorway of our small turboprop plane, we disembark at Lukla airport situated just over 9,000', the gateway to trekking in the Everest region. The crisp mountain air was a refreshing welcome from the smog and heat of Kathmandu, and we were giddy with excitement as we walked across the tarmac to meet our Sherpa team. This was a dream come true for me to bring my daughters, ages 7 and 9, trekking through the remote Himalaya of Nepal. Nestled among the towering peaks of the Everest region, Lukla was only the first taste of what we were about to immerse ourselves in: a world of breathtaking Himalayan landscapes, fascinating Buddhist culture, and rewarding connections with the local Sherpa community.

Exploring the Mighty Himalaya

After a hearty breakfast of local porridge, chapati (traditional flatbread) and eggs, we set out along the well worn trails following in the footsteps of animal caravans and porters transporting goods for trade throughout the region. Our kids remarked at how exceptional it was that people living here had no access to roads or motorized vehicles; this was the closest they had come to civilization built on the backs of animals and humans. As we ascended through rhododendron forests and alongside raging rivers, we craned our necks to gain the first much anticipated glimpse of Mount Everest and neighboring Himalayan giants. Wide-eyed with wonder and pleasantly distracted from hiking, our children energetically passed donkey caravans and navigated suspension bridges. They learned to always walk clockwise around chortens and mani stones (traditional Buddhist stone prayer monuments) and to spin the ubiquitous prayer wheels along the trail behind our Sherpa guides, teaching us to embrace the Buddhist belief of gaining merit and showing respect for the towering Himalayan peaks above us.

Our Dedicated Sherpa Team

Our journey wouldn't have been half as incredible without the leadership and companionship of our Sherpa guides - Tenzing Sherpa and Nima Sherpa. Both with family and friends living throughout the upper Khumbu, or Everest region, we were welcomed into many lodges as friends. They not only led the way with unwavering confidence but also shared their wisdom about the mountains, the flora and fauna, and the Sherpa way of life. Their ability to seamlessly integrate us into the traditions of Sherpa culture and hospitality added a layer of depth to our adventure, prioviding us with genuine connections and unscripted experiences with the Sherpa communities along the trail.

Encounters with Yak (and Other Animal) Caravans

During our trek, one of the standout moments was coming across yak, donkey and pony caravans navigating the challening mountain landscape. It was always a welcome rest -- on the uphill side of the trail -- to watch them pass with their colorful tassels, jingling bells and impressively heavy loads. The furry creatures captivated our children, and they were delighted when Tenzing unexpectedly arranged for them to ride a horse for a day. Apart from lifting the girls' spirits with this activity, hiring a horseman was a means of supporting the local economy and acknowledging the skill of navigating the rugged landscape with animals. The horseman mentioned that it takes him half an hour to travel from Thame to Namche on horseback, an impressive achievement considering the narrow, steep rocky paths, occasional exposure, and numerous suspension bridges. It took us 4 hours to hike (and ride) the same route, leaving us with a genuine admiration for his expertise as a horseman.

Connecting with Local Communities

Beyond supporting us through the physical demands of the trek, Tenzing and Nima effectively enabled us to immerse ourselves in Sherpa customs and interact with local communities. Approximately a week into our journey, we were graciously invited into Nima's family home for tea, where we met his wife and 4-year-old son. Initially reserved, our daughters quickly warmed up to the boy, engaging in games like hide and seek and passing a ball around their modest one-room dwelling. It was a profound expereince for all of us to gather in their home and realize that Nima's family eats, sleeps and lives in that single room. Understanding the hardships of sustaining life in these remote Himalayan villages was enlightening: enduring days of travel for childbirth, undergoing prolonged separations to work as a guide, the challenges of securing housing, and managing an exuberant child (we discovered he freely roams the village, prompting a jest about grooming another Sherpa mountaineer). We felt privileged to glimpse briefly into their daily existence.

To be continued in Trekking Through the Remote Sherpa Villages of the Everest Region: A Family Adventure, Part II.

12 views0 comments


bottom of page