4 April Upper Pisang to Manang
JB : We'll call this the greatfood experience day as we seemed to go from one food experience to another none of them what you would call basic Trekkers food.
Samosas at Ghyaru, cinnamon pin-wheels in Bhraka, mo mos in Ngawall and jam shortbread sandwich biscuits and long black coffee in Manang. Dinner in Manang consisted pizza for McVet and I, Mac Cheese for Harm and a nameless Indian dish for Mingle that transpired to be cauliflower and spaghetti. Who said we were doing it tough!
In between all the food we did actually do some pretty serious trekking including one very very steep climb.
We left Upper Pisang on a spectacular morning, not a cloud in the sky and Annapurna II towering above us. Couldn't have been a greater contrast to yesterday's rain and snow.
Not long after we left we were stopped looking at Annapurna II when we were treated to the spectacle of an avalanche falling down the face of the mountain.
Carrying on through pine/fir forest with yesterday's snow on the branches after about an hour we saw the village of Ghyaru on top af a hill ahead of us. Various estimates of how high varied from half to two Hakirimatas (our standard unit of climb measurement, approximates to about 300m climb).
We proceeded to climb and our fitness saw us pass a large number of people on the path, not to say we weren't knackered when we got to the top. BUT it was all worth it the view of Annapurna II, IV and III and the valley was absolutely stunning!
We sat and had a lemon tea (our drink of choice) and Mingle spotted a lady selling samosas so we had some of these as morning tea. There was a
Gompa way above us on the hill but after about 1 sec discussion we decided it would survive without our visiting and donating.
MI: the trail from Ghyaru started through steep fields being worked by cows and oxen. Seems the crops were potato, barley and buck wheat.
We stopped at Ngawall for lunch (3660m). This is where we would have exited from Nar Valley if we had been able to cross the KangLa pass. We found out that chilly sauce on Momo's can cause discomfort for cracked lips, and then applying lip balm locks in the sting. Ouch!
The other three have full blown colds, coughing and filling tissues at will. When we eat we clear the tissues off the restaurants tables! The tissues are usually poor absorption and structurally average. Quote of the day from Chris: they (the tissues) are 'like blowing your nose on a glossy magazine'.
The afternoon was a pretty easy few hours walk, again away from the road in the main. This time through dwarf pine forest on sandy/stony ground flanked by the river a wee distance away on one side and these Capadocia/Goreme type cliffs on the other.
30 mins from Manang there was this cool settlement called Braka with one of the finest monasteries in Nepal. John joined Harm to take a look and Chris and I pushed on to secure accom, as we are both over Gompa's and Monasteries. We had zero feedback from the guys on the Monastery, so assume the blatant contempt we had for their report back on yesterday's Gompa may have meant they didn't want to share.
Hot showers and our first ensuite (squat toilet only) rooms. We've all actually mastered the awkward squat.
Tried uploading blog again, as we did last night, but again the wireless and Internet isn't working!
In the dining room we met a NZ women who is one of the resident GPs in Manang servicing the Annapurna region. She asked Chris for some advice as it seems the GP role also extends to the animals.
From 6pm Chris started claiming his birthday, as it is after midnight in NZ. As a result the boys lost the plot and had pizza and pasta for dinner.
Having such a great time in a beautiful part ofthe world. We've walked around 180km to date and don't tire of the experience. Happy days!