The village of Lukla is lined with picturesque stone houses and many shops, lodges, bars and bakeries that cater to the trekkers' needs. Here you can still purchase essential gear you have forgotten to buy in Kathmandu. I can't see my Austrians, but the path to our next destination, Phakding, is infallible. I keep meeting the same porters and trekkers throughout the day, exchanging many Namaste greetings. I walk through small villages situated on the slopes of the mountains, and a teahouse or lodge is never far. This is still the dry season and the beginning of spring with occasional rain showers, but still very bright and clear skies. The trails are fairly dusty, the landscape a bit barren and the fields are just being planted with new crops. Up at this altitude you can still find barley, vegetables, fruit trees and potatoes. I often have to make way to herds of what look like heavy loaded yaks on their way in and out of the mountains. I learn later that most of the yaks seen along the trails of the Khumbu are in fact called Dzo (male, sterile) or Dzomo (female, fertile) and are crossbreds between yaks (male) and cows (female).