2011 Trips of the Year: Trek Nepal

The trail to Nepal‚Äôs Tengboche Monastery     Photo: Photo by Ethan Welty/Tandem Stock

See the top of the world without the circus of Base Camp on REI Adventures' new Everest Lodge-to-Lodge trek. On the 14-day trip, up to 15 guests hike through the lush, rugged Dudh Kosi river valley (elevation: 8,600 to 11,300 feet) before climbing out to views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. By day, explore remote villages such as Thame, once an important stop on the ancient salt-trade route that's accessible by traversing the slopes of Khumbi Yulha, a sacred mountain. By night, crash in simple, clean family-run lodges and fill up on traditional Nepalese fare. Highlight: an evening at the Tengboche Monastery with monks chanting, meditating, and playing traditional drums and horns. $2,850 plus $299 for round-trip airfare between Kathmandu and Lukla; trips run monthly from March through May and September through December; rei.com.

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