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March 30th 2008
Published: March 30th 2008
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Day 4 - Ghandruk to Tadapani (2,590m)

We set of from our Tea House for a much shorter trek this morning heading for Tadapani. This trekking was very different from the previous day as we entered lush sub-tropical forests of mainly rhodedendrons dripping with moss and ferns. Having spent many a day hacking down and burning the smaller, invasive varieties that are taking over our British countryside it was nice to see them growing where they are meant to be! There were loads in blossom in a deep pinking red colour. We also saw tiny mauve primula, mahonia, ferns and mosses and daphne growing beneath the canopy of trees. Daphne used by the mountain people for either making paper or for use as rope. The outside of the stems are peeled back then the inside peeled away in strips which are then twisted. These are then twined together to make a kind of rope. Raj showed us how it's done and it was indeed very strong! Every so often we got a glimpse of the mountains through the trees. Snow capped peaks that we never tire of taking photos of! It is all so amazingly beautiful here.

Although the sun was out it was still quite cold in the forest due to the canopy blocking out the sun and everywhere moss dripped from the branches of the trees, with mini waterfalls trickling down rocks. There were so many birds about up in the trees but it was very hard to get a proper look at them. But when we had a break on an open area of sloped grass to admire the views I was able to get a better look at a few of them. I saw a bright blue little bird with black eye stripe that turned out to be a verditer flycatcher an also a Rufus Gorgeted Flycatcher. I have interesting chats with Raj during these breaks now that he realises I'm really interested in the wildlife and we sit comparing what Nepal has compared to the species we have at home. I've notice that many of the plants growing wild here are those we buy in garden centres back home to grow in our gardens. For example I picked out berberis and mahonia.

Someone had a lady bird land on them and I told Raj about the name we have for them in Norfolk (Bishy Baraby) and he now calls me Bishy Barnaby at every opportunity (better than lottery which is how he first remembered my name!). I'll be bringing up the rear, dawdling as I try to spot some bird or plant or something and I'll here 'Come on Bishy Barnaby!'.

Today is a steady climb upwards but is much more manageable than the previous day (a) because it is cool, (b) because the slope is gradual, (c) because there are a few downs then ups, (d) because we are going quite slowly and steadily and (e) because we only have a short trek to get us to the next Tea House.

The air up here is so fresh and pure. Everyone is loving this day's trek. There are orchid plants yet to identify, amazing drooping down ferns (don't recognise them from UK). At one point Raj had poor Irish Linda in hysterics pointing out wood pheckers (pheck is the f word where she's from!) Nepalis seem to have difficulty pronouncing 'p's so this hilarity was only compounded with the mention of spieces!!

Group photos abound and Raj insisted in one infront of rhodedendrons so the row of cameras was
Group photoGroup photoGroup photo

Back: Sharon, Linda A, Helen, Marc, Linda, Lottie, Michelle, Niamh, Krishna Front: Dusty, Sinead and Govinda
line up again. Every time he gets to Michelles camera it's 'Mmm nice camera'. Might need to keep a close eye on that Michelle! So after about an hour of fixed grins and 'ho ho ho' from Raj for each photo to get us smiling the cameras are retrieved and we are off again.

As it was a short trek we arrived early at our Tea House and the usual sussing out the showers and toilets began. One said HOT and COLD SHAWER, little were Michelle and Sinead to know how literal this was! They emerged after having had about 1 minute of tepid water (mid shampoo) followed by cold water, followed by NO water and ended up having to bend over to try and get under a knee high tap of very cold water to get the soap off their hair. We of course all found this hilarious.

Before coming to Nepal we had been given plenty of warnings and advise about high altitude sickness symptoms but no-one factored in High Altitude Hysterical Laughing! Fortunately this is the only symptom affecting our group but it is a pretty severe case! Over our evening meal in the best heated Tea House so far (charcoal fires under the table with blankets tucked around the sides to put over your knees) we laughed ourselves giddy to the wood fecker, faeces episode, Michelles lack of a raincoat and her fashioning a new one out of a clear flastic bag - likened to a condom and questions regarding it's reliability if she cut holes in it for her head and arms and definitions of Gorepani (horse water), tadipani (long water) and Yadayadayadpani (no fecking water whatsoever - hot or cold!). A case of you had to be there but we found it highly amusing.

That night was sooooo cold there was frost on the ground the next morning. We'd all gone to bed with all our clothes on, thermals, woolly hats, even gloves. So it was hard to drag ourselves out of bed at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise over the mountains. But it was another wow, breathtaking moment and we were so glad to see it. We all feel so privileged and overwhelmed to be here experiencing these amazing views.

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