October 22nd, 2016
An hour and a half, 5 of us squeezed into something the size of a Nissan Micra. An elderly Hindu gentleman taxi driver, who made liberal use of the horn: at corners, when passing, on the straightaway, random places in between.... There really was no place where more horn tootling could be thought of as inappropriate.
He had the odd habit of weaving the car back and forth, whether from force of habit from dodging potholes, of which there were many, or to confuse completing vehicles following or to intimidate approaching traffic, it was hard to tell.
His use of the brakes was erratic as well, which, combined with his steering eccentricities, caused us to proceed in a lurching and weaving fashion along a very rough road, rough enough to demand much weaving and lurching all on it's own. And we weren't alone. A steady stream of buses passed, many other jeeps, taxis and minivans, not to mention motorcycles.
Motorcycles. Our taxi happened to be passing two at the same time that one was passing us and another was approaching from the other direction. Not to worry. Merely a situation where more horn blowing was seen as a solution. From everyone.
To add to a potholed, stony, barely 2-laned track, which still had some patches of asphalt remaining, were occasional piles of stony dirt, apparently dumped to fill holes in the road, but which had yet to be spread out. Their present purpose was to reduce a possible 2 lanes to barely one. A couple of passes with a road grader would have helped.
And there was the music. The driver played a continuous track of Indian songs. This particular set of selections sounded more to my ear like a rendition from the Chipmunks. Just sayin'.
I tried leaning my elbow out the window, but became concerned that it might get scraped off by a passing vehicle, so I kept it inside. Holding on to the overhead handle in an attempt to stabilize myself. Why I bothered, I don't know. We were packed into the back seat tightly enough extra movement was impossible. We leaned to the left, we leaned to the right in concert to the weaving of the taxi.
After 90 minutes, we arrived in Nayapul (1070 m), along with many other tooting taxis and buses.
Anticlimactic by comparison. We walked along a track about the condition of a poor BC Forest Service Road. We left the noisy part of civilization behind. Almost nothing but other people walking. Passing small collections of houses, lodges and tea houses.
Many butterflies. Some looked exactly like dead leaves when their wings were folded. Even to the little stem on the leaf. Unfortunately, they were too fast for me and my camera.
We stopped for lunch. We pressed on. We reached the planned day's destination, Tekhedhunga, at about 1 pm. Too early to stop, we agreed, so we pressed on until 2:30 pm, to stop in Ulleri (1960 m). The last hour was straight up. Think Davis Creek steep with about 2 or 3 km of stone stairs.
There is a collection of lodges here, overlooking a vista of steep, treed valleys. Mountain cloud has moved in here and there. Views are best looking down. Time to rest, hydrate and wait for supper.
After recovering from the "stair master" workout, I wandered through the small collection of buildings, arriving at the playground where some boys were playing "volleyball". One little boy was batting a red balloon back and forth so I played with him for a few minutes.
Supper of tomato, onion, cheese spaghetti and fries. Then bed.
October 23rd, 2016.
Sunday. We hike from Ulleri to Ghorepani.
Our track is steadily upward through forested hillsides, eventually becoming a rhododendron forest. Sadly not the right season for blooms.
Occasional sessions with the stair master. Some sections of flattish bits.
Arrived in Ghorepani (2860 m) after about 4 hours. Quite a collection of hotels here. The plane from Pokhara to Jomsom began passing overhead about 8 am. That will be us in a week or so.
Some views of big peaks. Some cloud is teasing us. Only bits of the peaks are showing above the cloud.
Fortunately it's cool although somewhat humid. By the time we arrive, I'm pretty damp. Laundry will be on the agenda this afternoon. Also the bakery. A nap.