Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trek Day 4–Bridges,waterfalls and mountains…oh my!!

 

Tuesday  -  October 6th

At dinner last night, Badri had told us that this trek has two parts….we have done the cultural part and now we start the adventure.  He also told us that today’s walk would be longer in time but an easier walk.   I am trusting that he was telling the truth!!!!

The morning once again began with the appearance of mountains in the moonlight…..IMG_3304

You would think that we would get tired of this phenomenon, but we haven’t yet!!! 

From this camp, we could easily see our trail for the day…..

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It goes past the two small villages and then heads to the right, over the mountain and into the valley.   By the way, this is the valley that we will be in for the rest of the trek to ABC.

At 6:30 we received our wash water for the day…..IMG_3320

  Several people have started calling them our doggie bowls!!! 

This was a wonderful view of Annapura-South  (the explorer’s weren’t all that creative when it came to naming these mountains)!!!

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Breakfast was served with the gorgeous mountains in full view……IMG_3331 Once again, everything thing was delicious, starting with Rice porridge with butter, sugar and cinnamon…..DSC06259

….followed by an omelet, toast & potatoes

At 7:45, we said goodbye to Chhomrong and started our hike for the day…..IMG_3340

You may notice that it is spelled differently than yesterday.  I honestly think that it was spelled different on every sign that we saw so I just picked one!!

As we walked today, we were constantly in sight of Machapuchare or one of the Annapurnas and it was exciting to know that we were getting closer!!

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We passed one field where a family was hard at work, laying some sort of vegetation out to dry…..

IMG_3351 Michael and I have talked a lot about what these people must think about us on a vacation with all of our fancy equipment when they are working so hard to just survive.  It helps me to remember that we are pouring money into this community as we trek!!

I loved this photo with the contrast of the blues and whites……

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We called this young man our “friendly forage carrier” as he stopped on the stairs, smiled and waited for the photo to be taken…… IMG_3357

As the morning wore on, we walked steadily up and down, and up and down, and…(you get the idea)……IMG_3362

….always following along the Chumrung river. 

As we walked, Sabine told us that there were 2800 steps down from the camp to the gorge.  The bridge crossing the river at the bottom was amazingly long……IMG_3373

On the middle of the bridge, we passed kids who were heading to school at Chumrung which means that they walk 2800 steps UP to school and 2800 DOWN again.  Badri told us that they REALLY want to go to school. DSC06270

Off to the side of the bridge you could see another bridge…..DSC06274

I was very glad that we didn’t have to cross on it!!!!

As we had approached the bridge I commented that my knees would be happy with some stairs UP since we had done so much down. But as soon as we crossed the bridge, I got my wish!!!

At our first stop for the morning, the villagers were busy drying hemp……IMG_3382

….and corn….

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Badri told us that these mats are made out bamboo and are very expensive so they are a treasured asset of any family.

Here we were able to look back and see where we had camped the night before…. IMG_3398

It was actually amazing to realize that we had come this far in less than two hours!!!

I mentioned to Badri that Sabine speaks excellent English and he then encouraged us to ask both of the assistant guides lots of questions so that they could practice more.

As we walked, the Annapurnas and Machapuchare kept peeking out over the landscape…..

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We stopped early for lunch (10:45)  at Sinuwa (pronounced Shin-u-a).  Badri told us that this was the best place to stop between camp 3 and 4.

While we were waiting for the food to be prepared, we were able to take a few snaps of people on the trip, including our Cook Boys working on lunch…..DSC06283

   These are our two Assistant Guides, Monise and Sabine…..IMG_3400

Monise is 18 years old  and has only been trekking for about a year.  His English is not great and he is a little bit shy but seems to be a sweet hearted kid.  Sabine is 28 and started trekking in 2005.  His English is very good and he has been acting as an Assistant Guide for several years.  He has a quick wit and fun sense of humor.

Mark and I had a laugh while waiting….IMG_3437

….and then David and Michael had to get into the act…..DSC06287

And of course, there had to be a photo of the happy couple!!!!

IMG_3444We spent some time checking out the trail map but mostly I liked the note that someone had added….DSC06282

I also liked this photo of all of our packs and poles, lined up and waiting for “Tick-tock” time….IMG_3441

We sat down at our “REI Reserved” table….DSC06289

….and enjoyed a lunch consisting of  Yak Cheese which is very dry and tasty, french fries, cole slaw and baked beans.  The most interesting part of the meal was a type of bread that is made by the Gurung people who live in this area.   It was VERY yummy!!

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As we were eating, one of the groups we had met at our last camp passed our table and commented that we were getting the stellar treatment…. it was true!!!

I went to the bathroom and came out to find everyone looking just above the door.  I was surprised that there were  beehives (complete with bees around the entrance hole) hanging just above the door……IMG_3447

MAYBE they could have found a better place for these???

Badri and Sera spent some time talking to the owners of this tea house as they chopped mushrooms…..

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Makes me wonder if we will find mushrooms in our evening meal??

We finished with lunch and packed up to leave about 11:55.

Yesterday I had said that going around a corner was fun because you never knew what you were going to see, however this afternoon I realized that I didn’t WANT to turn the corner because it just meant that there were more steps either up or down!!

Now we started walking thru an interesting forest area with huge Rhododendron TREES on all sides of the path.   IMG_3452

I would love to see these in bloom!!

The paths themselves were wide and, as Badri had informed us, there was not a lot of up and down but there was a lot of following around the edge of the mountain and looking precariously over the side at the valley below. 

This area had much more of a forest feel to it, with waterfalls still abounding…..IMG_3455

One of the huge waterfalls started out as one stream and then broke into three or four smaller ones as it flowed down the mountain.

Michael stopped several times to take photos of the waterfalls and then apologized to Badri and Sera for stopping so much. They said that it was ok and Michael added that  “there is nothing like this at home”!  Badri is constantly telling us that this is OUR trek and that he is just there to make sure that we enjoy it!!

I keep thinking that this is the last time I will see Fishtail, but it keeps popping up between and behind the mountains….. IMG_3466

It is also interesting that we keep seeing different faces of the mountain as we are slowly traveling closer and around it.  We were told that it is called “King’s Crown” and is considered a holy mountain in Nepal.  It is also off limits to climbers although if they opened it up, the country would potentially  make lots of money on fees and permits as climbers would rush to climb it.  

The sun was fairly strong at this point and most people were slathered in sunscreen, however some hikers decided that an umbrella would be best…..

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….although it did make it hard to pass them on narrow trails!!!

We passed a sign that read…..   “Dear Honorable Trekkers.  We would like to request you not to take Chicken, Pork and Buffalo meat in this special management zone from Sinuwa to ABC due to ancient beliefs, holy temple and natural secret mountains.  If so, natural calamities and personal accident may occur so we humbly request to follow such specified instructions.   Thank you…… Tourism Sub-Management Committee” …… REALLY???

We took a rest stop about 1:20 in the town of Bamboo and all had a laugh at the “Westren” toilet…..IMG_3485

No matter how it was spelled, it was one of the nicest ones on the entire trip…..we were often wishing for another “Westren” one!!!

The gardens in Bamboo were amazing with huge cabbage plants and these interesting vegetables…..IMG_3488

We continued to cross the streams on bridges……IMG_3489

….and  walkways….IMG_3492

Although when this photo was taken Michael was telling me to keep going to get out of his shot.   Oh well, this one ended up being the best one anyway!!!

We could see a rockslide on one of the valley walls so I asked Sera about it, wanting to know when it would have happened. He looked concerned and quickly told me that they happen sometimes but that the area is very stable…..I told him that I wasn’t worried but just interested.

Then we had a classic interaction between Michael and Badri.   Michael asked how Nepali’s pronounce Fishtail, meaning how to pronounce Machapuchare.   Badri took a deep breath and said “Fishtail”!!!  Michael looked back at him and called him a Jackass!!!

At one point, Michael ran ahead of us so he could photograph us going over a bridge, starting with a group shot before the bridge…..IMG_3499

But he had to wait for the bridge to be empty before we could cross  The unspoken rule is that you ALWAYS give the porters right of way!!!….

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Then as Michael happily took photos of each of us crossing the bridge we confirmed our thoughts that David was just a big ham……IMG_3507 

This extremely tall waterfall was amazing….. IMG_3510

We passed a woman from Vancouver and had a minute or two to chat.  She looked at me and said “Don’t worry, the effort is worth the view!!”   That was probably the best thing that I could have heard at that point in time!!

We arrived at camp in Dovan at 8,220 feet (a gain of 1,100 feet)…not a lot of gain, but at least we are trending upward!!! 

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All of the porters got to work putting the last touches on the camp….. DSC06299

…and getting the “Happy” tent set up….. IMG_3519

And then it was time to crash……IMG_3522

….and say “one more day done!!!”

Dinner started off with Mushroom soup and fried cracker snacks…..DSC06301

…..and was followed by a delicate Vegetable pasta with homemade tomato sauce, potato scallops and a interesting squash that had a bumpy rind to it….DSC06302

Tomorrow is supposed to be a hard day so bed called early…..

2 comments:

Nupur said...

So how many miles did you guys walk on an average day?? That rope bridge made me gulp! Food looks yummy as usual. Must have tasted especially good when you are tired and famished after walking.

Karen S said...

I would think one of the great parts of your trek would be seeing many of the locals and where they live. It shows how innovative and creative people can be when they live in isolated areas. Amazing people. Love seeing the children going to school.

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