OK, a whistle-stop tour!
First day and after negotiating (read 'being told what to pay') for a jeep ride up to the new start of the trail and we're off!! (The jeep was the most uncomfortable cross-country experience, but it helped us keep time for the better parts).
A quick lunch and into the wild!! After about 5mins we were dripping with sweat but we pushed thru. Stopped a a fantastic hut for an ice-cold sprite perched on the edge of a valley with stunning views. A bad judgement call on the navigation saw us walk a few hours on the road they are trying to build up the trek. This was dull and will be a theme going forward. After enviously looking at the trek on the other side of the river and tackling a JCB that wouldn't stop working, instead swinging the bucket over our heads, and we leave the road for a suspension bridge to our first town stop. That's not before some of the most spectacular scenery this side of Patagonia. Photos coming soon to prove, but I have hunners of them and sketchy i'interweb. We really are way off the grid.
So, Tal. After the disaster that was Besi Sahar I chose the digs, and they worked out great. In retrospect, after a week of lodgings the first doesn't seem so bad and Kim, in her ever-resolute nice-ness would like me to withdraw some of my previous comments. But I'm undecided. Tal was lovely and the next morning saw the first of my 4am wakes with an aching back. Still, it gave me the chance to catch the mountains at their best, before the clouds obscure them. Again, pics to follow.
The morning walk saw us track the Mersyangdi river. s***. That was one powerful and scary thing. Some dodgy (at the time, in comparison to later predicaments this was easy) trekking along narrow ledges 150m above the raging torrents and boulder-filled river bed saw us later crossing the river and scratching our 'really off the beaten track' itch. We took the 3hr hike to a little village way up in the mountain and on to a viewpoint. The locals here could not be nicer, directing us to the best viewpoint. We never saw any other tourists, instead 60yr old women with massive loads of corn on their back. I was getting grumpy as the climb was strenuous, we hadn't eaten and after yesterday's sweats we agreed not to walk in midday sun. We had been on the road from 8 to what was now 1. Still, the view to one of the greats, Manaslu, and sharing our Oreos and a chat with a local farmer made it more than worth it. He guided us in the right direction which allowed us to hit the next village and see school kids trying to impress with their lunchtime game of football.
Back on the trail and briefly crossing with some other tourists we stopped for lunch at Danaque. At 2.30. Doing things in 'Nepal Time' had us finish at 3.40 and too late make our next destination. A quick change of plans and a note as the only guests in a wee lodge (I think they are tea houses, they call themselves 'hotels') and we were lucky enough to have what would be our last hot shower for a week. The young couple running the place were great, although the chanting music was debatable. We just chilled, read, and I had one life moment - Nepali Bread, as-did Kim, Milk Tea (their version of tea, but with sweet condensed milk. Then she added sugar!) at breakfast.
Next up, the start of high-altitude trekking!!!
Oh, and plumbing is working and seemingly improving.