Right across the bridge lay the touristy town of “Bhire Thanti” – a little village on the foothills where the landscape opened up as if some one unfolded crumbled sheet of paper; with lots of eateries, shops and lodges dotted in nooks and crannies of the landscape. Cute set ups – of shops and restaurants that is! But not sure why would people stay here though since it is at the starting (or end point depending on your journey) point of the trek.
And after hour and a half of climb after leaving Bhire Thanti the trail slopped downhill to a valley where I saw the first glimpse of beautiful Bhurungdi Khola (River) - it seemed to run along the trail. Stopped at a point and took a few shots. The view was spectacular and I knew that it was only going to get better. Couldn't wait – as the scenery would slowly unfold like a movie right before my eyes for the next 9 days.
Deepak had gone to the “Staff Kitchen” where all the porters and guides eat at a discounted price. When you pay a daily pre-fixed wages to the guides and porters they pay for their own food. Deepak was making about $20 per day for coming with me (which is more than three times his daily wages and still $5 higher than the other porters) - but still having him pay for the meal out of his little daily earning didn’t sit right with me. So I told him that I would take care of his food bill along the trek. As it turned out in the lower elevation the food was free for them – for bringing the paying client like us who would usually order more than usual “Dal Bhaat” (rice and lentils – the fuel of the porters on these trails). If they sell a beer here and few snack there - the bill would rack up easily to Rs 700 to 1000 ($10-$15), which is a good sale for them. Keep in mind that in all the lodges here – whatever they have for sale – beer, potato chips, whisky, rum, coke, fanta etc. everything has to be ported on mules, yaks or human backs.
Met a British couple at the dinner table in the kitchen. They were on their trip to
Passed through many river streams like these cascading down the mountains
Woke up Deepak who was sleeping like a baby in the common room downstairs with all the other porters. Started the ninty minutes of trek uphill to Poon Hill. Thirty minutes into the walk - the lodge lady was right - the clouds and fog had started to lift and in front of us this huge white wall . This was
Not sure what these flowers are - seem to be native to this region.
It was getting close to 8 AM and it was time for me to leave too - Henry decided to stay an extra day in Tadapani. He would then follow Jacks footsteps to Ghandruk- spend a few days in PKR then to KTM and eventually back to BKK. Unlike Jack I would for sure cross paths with Henry back in BKK soon – and promised as such before departing. Paid for the room – the lodge lady asked me to come back again – real nice woman I have to say.The agenda was to reach Chomrong today – which was just a four hour hike.
Reaching Chomrong - last few remaining steps.
View of Machhapuchhre from Chomrong
A rescue chopper flies above - they were looking for 3 Korean climbers that went missing doing Annapurna I learned.
Later the dinning room was filled up with trekkers and their guides. Had dinner with all the people in the dining hall. Came back to room around 10. Alex was already in bed. I was bit cold – so I went to kitchen and filled my aluminum bottle with hot water. That gave me plenty of warmth. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. Agenda was to wake up at dawn, do a two hour trek to ABC preferably by sunrise as I was told (here we go again!!) have a breakfast there oohin’ and aaahin’; look at the 360 degree of panoramic view and then head back down to MBC - pick up the bags and then head down as far as possible may be all the way to Bamboo.
Soon I came across a huge rock on the trail which had a marking that said ABC was an hour away. I looked up I saw a few huts on a plateau – that must be ABC I thought - but that looked merely 10 minutes away not 1 hour as the marking suggested – how could this be. The trail was literally on the lap of these 24-25K giant peaks and it seemed we were at their mercy. What a sight I thought - ABC lay ahead and MBC was on my back. Passed a few trekkers along the way but my pace was much slower today. A half hour after passing the rock I looked up again and saw that those huts still looked as if they had not inched up any closer. It was indeed ABC – because I saw a radio antenna there similar to MBC. By this time clouds had rolled in and there was no view. I could barely see the trail. It seemed like the show would be over at ABC by the time I got there.