The next day started with what can only be described as a fantastic walk through a forest. After crossing another river and the obligatory dangerous crossing of a landslide (think two foot wide space to cross loose and falling earth at a 45deg angle, over another 200+ft drop) and a very steep climb we reached a quite astounding forest. It reminded me of forest walks I'd take with my Dad years back. Pictures don't do it justice, which will be another theme.
On clearing the jungle we hit a high plateau and stopped for lunch before continuing. The scenery just got better, but then, the first real 'this is the end for me' thought.
While going up the trail, tracking a 6ft-wide dusty top of a sheer cliff that fell to the river I was naturally taking int the view when, to my surprise, I was suddenly confronted with a guy hurtling down on a motorbike. No warning and the measley 150cc engine was so silent I was startled as he was nearly on top of me. Instinct saw me avoid the immediate danger by stepping, hurriedly and without much attention, to one side. Then consciousness kicked in when he passed and I noticed I'd stepped to the edge of the cliff with a heavy bag on my back!! The momentum of the step and the weight of the bag had me leaning a damn sight further than I should be. In truth I maybe had two feet to spare, but it was the momentum, the sudden realisation and the view that gave me the fright.
Not deterred, we pushed on. And soon rewarded with the most spectacular sight. The 1500m curved slab of rock known locally as Swarga Dwar,or 'Gateway to Heaven'. More than 2.5 Munros it really is like Gods amphitheatre. Google Paungda Danda for a look-see.
This is also the first time panic sets in re rockfalls. There looked to be one recently which got me thinking 'what would we do!?!' Thankfully, the answer I came up with worked, but you will have to hang around until later blogs to find out.
Onward and invariably, upward, and we reach another small forest before getting our first true views of the what the mammoth Himalayan mountains are. Beside and towering above the rock slab was this huge peak, some 6.5km up. It dwarfed the slab.
Slightly further, nearing our destination and what can only be described as a tantrum akin to the guy in the snickers advert occurs. You know, the one where he 'always acts like a diva when you're hungry' in the changing room? That's me. All over. When I'm hungry. So we stopped for a wee choccie bar. After moving Kim noticed she'd lost her scarf. Like a hero I run, backpack and all, back to where we stopped. The porters I passed must have been really impressed! Unfortunately no scarf. When I got back to Kim I wished I hadn't bothered as, instead of a precious gift from her Nanny as I thought, I had chased a £3 heirloom from H&M.
Moving on, we reached our next town and base, Pisang. My dreams of wood fired pizza and warm showers were dashed as it ended up the pits. That said, it taught me not to get my hopes up later in the trail a skill that would prove useful.
That's it for now. More calamity to come, but so far so good. In fact, so excellent.
Plumbing is also still working, though may be down to safe food and less of it! Kim, tho, will not be so lucky!!!