…and so we continue.
Dhamli to Tadapani (2800m above sea level)
Amongst the many t-shirts that you can find in the Thamel area of Kathmandu is one that describes the Nepali terrain as ‘a little up, a little down’. Patently this is untrue! The journey to Tadapani consists, as you would expect really, entirely of up. This is still pretty much part of the well worn ‘main’ trekking route, so there are numerous tea houses to stop at should the need arise. In the scheme of things the paths are relatively ‘easy’ insofar as they are usually wide, quite well maintained… and its difficult to get lost given the amount of other trekkers on the route. We’re now inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, where the tea houses and shops operate a ‘fixed price’ system for everything that trekkers are likely to need. This is stated clearly on menus and price lists and does away with the unseemly haggling which sometimes goes on in other tourist areas. Its a game that I’m pleased not to be playing. There are price increases the higher you get, which is not surprising really since everything has to be carried in on foot or on the back of mules. It doesn’t stop the appearance of some interesting roadside signs though…
“Last chance for hanging baskets, they’re even giving you clues” indeed.
Tadapani is shrouded in mist when we arrive in the late afternoon, but the following morning affords us the first ‘proper’ view of the Himalayas…and in truth, the best view of them that I’ve had since I’ve been in Nepal.
Here, by contrast is the only time that I managed to see any of the Himalayas whilst R,J & B were here…and ironically it was from the same village…for a whole 15 seconds! (Sorry guys!)
Tadapani to Bhainsi Kharka (3440m above sea level)
Time for Amman, our guide to show his true colours on a trip that takes us through forests in the rain, on pathways where we don’t run into anybody, let alone other trekkers. The rain however does bring out the leeches in droves…and they are incredibly persistent. (The leech karma story comes at the end of this piece….you have been warned). The derelict buildings give something of an indication as to how many people, Nepalis or otherwise come this way.
Seven hours of walking on an old portering path and we are finally ‘in sight’ of the Dhalagari Range, although once again we’ll have to wait until the morning when the cloud lifts. A wood stove, fresh mint tea and dal bhaat. Its all you need at the end of the day really…and so to bed.
Footnote: Leech karma.
You can’t avoid being preyed upon leeches when its wet…and in truth there are far more dangerous creatures in the forests of Nepal. But…sometimes they end up in places where they can’t get out. To get undressed for a shower at the end of the day and find that you are still bleeding is more than a little disconcerting…until you discover that the culprit is now dead inside your underpants because it got too warm! Leech karma indeed….if you can’t stand the heat…
Upwards and onwards!
To be continued…in a slightly more philosophical vein.