Bistari, Bistari..... A first trip through the Annapurnas - Jagat to Dharapani


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March 16th 2012
Published: May 9th 2012
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JagatJagatJagat

Breaky
The plan is Jagat through Gsanje through Sattale then lunch at Tal Manang, ending up in Dharapani (about 15km). We almost pick up a friend- a little 16 month old kid called Aluk who decides he wants to follow us. We reluctantly hand Aluk back to his Dad, Aluk is not thrilled about this decision, particularly as he has grown attached to one of our walking poles. So, another late start - 0830. We try to beat the 2 large mule trains that are leaving at the same time as us. It's actually a pretty fruitless exercise as we encounter them pretty much all day and I think it is all a part of the experience. The manure, lots of manure, is a part of it too. They are very single minded beasts these 'kacar' and will walk through or over you in pursuit of their goal. However, I have learnt that my walking pole has another use- if you put it out to your side they will walk around you... most of the time...well, some of the time. The mules look to be in pretty good shape. The handlers throw small stones at their rumps to get them moving- very
Ready to leave JagatReady to leave JagatReady to leave Jagat

Day pack ready with socks to dry, and my solar recharger
accurately.

The trekking is really enjoyable today, it is warm, the sky is perfect, there are waterfalls and bridges and bee hives and cliffs, we do a fair bit of climbing - really enjoyable. No cattle or goats for the first 2/3 of the day but then there are lots, and lots of dogs and lots of birds plus 2 pigs. All my friends know that I am SO not a dog person so I take many photos of dogs as a bit of a joke (the joke backfired though as now they think I am a dog person but was pretending not to be- not true, friends!). Enjoy the views high above the Marsyangdi River and the long suspension bridges taking us from side to side.

Our approach to Tal Manang is interesting; lots of evidence of blasting, pieces of detonator fuse litter the track. There is a fortified base on the RHS of the entrance to Tal with many soldiers- apparently there are munitions stored here for the rock blasting. There are also signs to warn trekkers that blasting occurs between 3- 6pm daily so to plan the route accordingly. It looks like a mine site camp initially then it makes way for the village. The village is the busiest one I have seen yet, it seems many trekkers stop here. We pass lots of guest houses including the Father and Son Guest House that features in a series of videos on YouTube that I watched before leaving Perth (Hi and thanks Bob and Kurt from Florida should you ever stumble upon this blog). Lunch is very good - chapati and plain omlette with tea- it is to become my standard lunch fare for the rest of the trek. We sit in the sun. Beautiful.

The colour of the water here is intense- glacial blue - like nothing I have seen before. Lots of river stones and a "beach" that we walk across after lunch. Spot a few stilts (migratory birds) which appear as tiny specks on my photos. We are then joined by 3 school kids- Muna, Lisha and Alit, they ask for nothing but conversation. We walk to their house with them then they are gone. The rest of the afternoon walk is generally small inclines with a few bigger ones (Dhana's shortcuts). On the approach to Dharapani I ingest a dung fly
Leaving JagatLeaving JagatLeaving Jagat

The mules
-YUCK, I hope that it doesn't strike me down with the vomits! The mule guys behind us think it is pretty hilarious watching me try to gag it up (especially after I wash my hands with alcohol gel first). We reach Dharapani (1960m) late afternoon and end up at the New Tibet Guest House at the far end of town. I have a cold bowl of water wash before Dhana announces that he has just had a fantastically hot shower- hmmmm, I tell Dhana that I am happy for him. Mary gets in on Dhana's act and also scores a hot shower. Our room is great, we have the river roaring behind us, great view, good clean squat toilet.

There are a few other trekkers staying here including a Danish threesome (one of whom is very sweet and very homesick- I offer motherly words of wisdom and think about my boys- how would they be?). Later over dinner at the communal table we meet Stephane, a 28 year old French guy with a big appetite on the first leg of his 2 year round world trip, and a German couple from Bavaria- Danni and Michael. We have a long,
Leaving JagatLeaving JagatLeaving Jagat

more mules
friendly discussion. Stephane becomes our financial advisor (he has just quit his job as a financial analyst from the banking sector) and we talk rocks and natural phenomena with Danni and Michael (both in the geology business). Our common love is travel, it is an easy evening. It feels very good this trekking stuff! (and still no sign of the dung fly).


Additional photos below
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Leaving JagatLeaving Jagat
Leaving Jagat

Muddy, manurey
En route to Tal ManangEn route to Tal Manang
En route to Tal Manang

A bit of uphill
En route to Tal ManangEn route to Tal Manang
En route to Tal Manang

Bridge offering


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