How does porridge with a couple of spoons of jam sound? Mary and Dhana are not impressed. Tasted good- I was craving some sugar and something resembling fruit. Washed it down with a few cups of tea- we have graduated to ordering thermos pots of tea now- cheaper and you drink more fluids. Everyone seems to have gotten off earlier than us again today. We cut through a field leaving the village are in the shade for about 20 minutes, noticably colder each morning now- wool base layer, tshirt, fleece and "Survivor" buff (did I mention I love Survivor?). As soon as we hit the sun the fleece goes. We are rewarded by views of Manaslu, the views today are epically good, lots of snow capped mountain peaks.
We climb through pine forests, lots of twittery birds. We pass beautiful foliage- fragrant pepper plants in flower and alpine like tuber flowers. There are also blossoming trees that look like cherry but I am a horticultural heathen so I have no clue what they are really. We get views of Annapurna II and at one point we have mountains on all three sides. The Marsyangdi River accompanies us for much of
the way. We do a steep uphill climb heading for lunch - Nepali omlette chapati wraps and tea. Mary is feeling a bit under the weather throughout the morning but perks up after lunch (she declares it her worst day). our lunch stop is pretty cool- a very big sun room with amazing views and tins of succulents lining the windows. We end up outside in the sun though. The mountains are reflected in the windows.
After lunch the trekking is pretty easy, lots of flat with gentle inclines and only a couple of steep ups. The mules are still with us and the path is very muddy. We cross several small streams and balance on muddy rocks. We meet several recurrent trekkers - Andre', the lone German running out of money, a couple from Quebec that we take some photos for, and The Bavarians who introduce us to their new "best friend"- an Austrian called Marcos. We cross paths constantly through the day. The small village of Thanchok is passed through. We come across 2 little boys running uphill and sliding down on flattened plastic bottles, they are having a great time. I am really enjoying the ebb
and flow of each day.
As we head into the home strait we see a lot more horses and riders galloping by, beautiful saddle blankets and haystacks built entirely of pine needles. Chame (2710m) is in sight. We check in at the checkpoint, this is the most people we have seen yet. Whilst waiting there a bunch of little kids appear with baskets slung across their foreheads- they have been carrying wood. They reappear with empty baskets a short while later and somehow the little boys seem to have conned the little girls into carrying theirs too (Hmmm). There are another bunch of kids playing cricket in the dusty street.
We spy the stone wall welcoming us to Chame, it is 3.30pm. Chame is noticably bigger than Dharapani, there are shops with mountain clothes, Nepali scarves, hats, horse riding stuff, ropes, food, drinks and gloves, etc. We arrive at the New Hotel Karma and Restaurant, we and The Bavarians are the only guests. A3 is our room for the night- corner room, another great view of the river. Surprisingly there is also a western toilet
Having unpacked we decide to go for a walk to the hot
springs that we have heard about. They are through the town, across the river and down the hill. We come to another beautiful long prayer wheel wall and I have a compulsion now to spin every prayer wheel in sight. I have decided upon my mantra and say it over and over in my head. I love the gleam of the metal where hundreds of thousands of people have spun them before me. Santos and Dhana come with us, neither have been to the springs before. There are a couple of established guest houses and 2 new guest houses being built down there. We round the corner, climb a ladder and bump into Stephane. He has had a wash and is looking very clean.
The hot springs are actually small rock pools with REALLY hot water. They smell sulphuric, there is a little algae in some of them but they look very clean. A few minutes later our boots are off and our toes are being dipped. It is a beautiful spot, the river is rushing by, there are the most amazing rock formations around us and big striped boulders partially submerged in the water. It is so enjoyable
A little way out of Dharapani
We cross paths with The Barvarians- Dani, Michael and Kushang Sherpa
sitting there that my trek pants legs are screaming to be unzipped, my lower legs want that hot water too (which was just lovely until the legs fell into the water). I trek back to the teahouse with bare legs- feels weird.
Back at the hotel we unpack and repack (again), we are very conscious that our bags are still too bulky for Santos. I have decided that the western toilet is very out of place, even odder is the fact that it is at half the height of a standard one so it requires a half squat as opposed to a full squat (Nepali loo) or no squat (western). It is really cold tonight. Early dinner with The Bavarians - vege fried rice. The teahouse owner brings us a charcoal brazier to warm us up while we are eating. We put it under the table until we smell pine smoke and the table starts to get hot. Early night, 8.30pm.
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