Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Valleys and Mountains



Day 4
Chame to Lower Pisang
18 km
7.30 am - 3.15 pm


Some of the valley and mountain views
We had a slow start to the day after a big bowl of muesli, reiterating our theory that muesli was in fact not the best way to start the day, and even though there weren’t too many uphills we struggled on the slightest incline.  By the time we arrived at Bhratang two hours later we were more than ready for our morning cup of coffee, however there was only one cafe in the deserted looking town and after a 10 minute wait no one had even looked in our direction so we decided to keep moving on.  

Despite the fact that we were tired the scenery was still beautiful and we spent most of the morning hiking through pine forests with the river running below us in the valley.  Unfortunately for Dave we had to cross over the river three times though out the day, two crossings being on rickety wooden suspension bridges that we both hurried over just in case! 

Around 11am we came across a small cafe halfway up a tough ascent and we sat down to finally enjoy our morning coffee (albeit an extra-strong black Nescafe) along with the fine views down the valley with a massive snowy mountain backdrop.  We decided to sample some deep-fried flat bread to help with the coffee and found it to be surprisingly tasty and it gave us enough energy to finish our ascent and power onto  the next town, Dhukur Pokhari.  Since we timed our arrival to be exactly 12 we called a lunch break.

Donkey blockade!
Unfortunately, lunch wasn't too good.  Sarah's vegetable curry was essentially cabbage soup and Dave's 'traditional Tibetan dish' was a tiny and flavourless noodle soup that left him still hungry.  The upside to lunch was that we met a great couple, Neville and Louise, who are NZ-ers but who currently live in Adelaide so we considered them to be pseudo-Aussies.  We chatted to them for quite some time after we'd finished lunch and it wasn't until we viewed another brewing storm that we decided we should probably get a move on.  

We reached Lower Pisang 45 minutes later just as the rain started so we were grateful that the first cabins we looked at were new and well-priced.  We headed straight for a shower while it was warm enough, ordered our dinner for 6pm and explored the town before we returned to our common room to try the local schnapps-like grog, Rhaki.  Since lunch had been tiny, we also decided to enjoy an apple turnover which looked remarkably like a McDonald's apple pie, but tasted infinitely better.  We spent the afternoon planning our trip to India before enjoying vegetable mo-mo's and stir-fry for dinner.

Super long prayer wheel in Lower Pisang
After dinner we got talking to the porter of a group of five girls who was very interesting to talk too as he'd been doing the trail for 27 years, even though he inevitably tried to squeeze us for money at the end of the night.  He told us lots of interesting local information, for example that a yak can sell for around $1200 but the problem is that they can't live at low altitudes so only the people living in the mountains can raise them.  We talked over our two options (whether to take the low pass or the high pass) for the next day with him since he'd hiked both many times and we decided that if the skies were clear we'd tackle the high pass to see the reportedly magnificent views.

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