Everest Trek Day 2: Bhandar to Sete – Banana porridge and gorgeous sunsets

Knowing that today was going to be a bit of a toughie, the night before I decided on a hearty breakfast that would presumably keep me full of energy.  Banana porridge for breakfast was a terrible idea.  The whole first 3 hours or so during our hike from Bhandar to Sete I could just feel the oats sitting there and every time I drank water or jumped down off a rock it all just sloshed around.  Never again.

The first half of today’s hike found us traveling downhill to Kinja.  Three hours downhill was, as always, brutal on the knees but we make it to Kinja in decent time.  Right before we got to the town we crossed a few suspension bridges.  Always fun and slightly nerve wracking.  We checked in with the police in Kinja and registered our TIMS cards before we were able to move on (and surprisingly enough this check point turned out to be our last until we reached Namche Bazaar about 7 days later).

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From Kinja it was about 3.5 hours steeply uphill to Sete and an ascent of about 1000m.  The whole pass is about 2000m but to do the whole thing in one day would just be brutal and a bit unrealistic. 

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Overall the journey to Sete took us about 7 hours.  We took a fair amount of breaks (seriously that uphill was a bitch) but managed to keep a decently steady pace.  The best way to survive going uphill that steeply for so long I found is to just go slowly and at an even pace.  It also helped to sing a song in time with your steps.  At first I was just counting 1…2…1…2… but that got boring fast.  We met 3 English guys and 1 American (who we would bump into repeatedly along the entire trek and even meet up with again a few times upon returning to Kathmandu) who suggested Stevie Wonder so for the next 1.5 hours I sang ‘Sir Duke’ in time with my steps…it was probably the slowest rendition of that song ever created.  The last hour was relegated to ’99 bottles of beer on the wall’ which worked quite nicely at keeping my tired feet and mind distracted.

We finally got to Sete and stayed at Sunrise Lodge & Restaurant.  Though really it should be ‘Sunset Lodge’ as you can’t see the sunrise but the sunset was absolutely gorgeous.

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The guesthouse itself wasn’t all that great – they didn’t even have lights in the room – and while when we arrived they promised us a free room in exchange for eating all our meals there (which weren’t even all that good), the next day the reneged that and told us the room was 200 NPR.  We got them to agree to 100 NPR per room which isn’t all that much but it’s the principal.

That night during dinner we met a nice (though slightly eccentric) Polish guy who had at one point done some work for a gypsy and had with him the tarot cards she’d gifted to him.  While reading the directions from the box he read my past, present, and future.  It was all good fun and not at all accurate but it made for a wonderfully relaxing evening after a tough day of walking. 

Spoiler for next time: I thought today was tough?  It had nothing on the following day (click here)


View all my posts about the Everest Base Camp trek here!

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4 thoughts on “Everest Trek Day 2: Bhandar to Sete – Banana porridge and gorgeous sunsets

  1. Pingback: EBC Trek Day 5: Nuntala to Bupsa - Donkey crap and dal bhat - Home Behind - The World Ahead

  2. Hello there! Do you remember anything about the people who ran Sunrise Lodge in Sete?

    I started my EBC trek in Shivalaya, just like you did, and had a gruelling walk up Lamjura La.

    I arrived very early in Kinja, much too early for lunch, so I decided to skip eating for another few hours. Walking had been very easy so far so I thought Lamjura La would be no match – it was my first time trekking and I would learn humility soon enough.

    There had been many teashops along the way, so I figured there would be plenty of stops up the pass if I got hungry. Just my luck, there wasn’t a single one 🙂

    The tough slog up the side of the mountain quickly sapped me of energy, but there was no way left to go except up (down was out of the question). I was ready to sit down and give up when the Sunrise Lodge appeared on my left. I stumbled right into dal bhat dinner and loved the owners from the get-go. My love for the country started right there.

    There was a 20-something young lady who was absolutely delightful. Her younger brother was studying for the SLC (School Leaving Certificate, the secondary school exam) while I was there.

    I later learned that they had long fallen on hard times. 90-95% of all trekkers fly to Lukla these days and bypass the lovely Jiri walk-in, so running a lodge on the Jiri trail is far from lucrative. The family couldn’t afford to send both children to school so the older sister had to drop out in favor of her brother.

    I’ve thought about them many times since then, especially now in the light of the recent earthquakes, and long to go back to visit. I hope they’re OK.

    • Thanks for your comment Linus! Sunrise Lodge really was a great little guesthouse with very nice people. Unfortunately I don’t know much about them personally besides the interactions we had that one night I stayed there. I’m sad to hear they aren’t doing well, though I can understand as, you’re correct, most people start in Lukla these days. I think that’s the case for many of the guesthouse owners on the Jiri part of the trail. I too hope their ok after recent events…I’ve been thinking a lot about all the people I met both in Kathmandu and along the trail.

      I can also 100% empathize with ‘I learned humility real quick on the trail’…my trekking buddies and I all though the exact same thing about Lamjura La and it kick all our asses. The Sunrise Lodge was a godsend halfway up that beast of a 2000m climb. If I ever do go back, Sunrise will definitely be a place I stop :).

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