Day 3 May 3
New Bridge 1340m to Upper Sinuwa 2360m.
Our bowl of muesli and hot milk was ready for us at 0600 and the rain had just about stopped. A serious thunderstorm had been raging since 0400. Lea and I set off alone along the easy to follow trail to Jhinudanda and the hot springs. A new bridge is being constructed high acroos a valley. Apparently a bungi jump will be established there. We had to go down and then back up to get to Jhinu.
It took us an hour to get to Jhinu then 20 minutes to get down to the hot springs.
They are kept nice and clean and strictly supervised. We pain our 100RPH to the supervisor and he was very strict about our clothing and showering.
After showering we had a pool to ourselves and relaxed in the 38 degree water for half an hour.
Refreshed we slowly climbed back up to Jhinu for a nice pot of tea before the others arrived.
The next leg was a punishing climb up the stone stairway for 1.5 hours to Chhomrong.
It was still early when we arrived and rain was forecast for the afternoon so we had a quick early lunch and pushed on in the drizzle. More upward stairs, Lea and I were out in front and took a wrong turn. We were following the old route to a washed out bridge. We had to turn around and retrace our steps up hill and find the path to the new bridge. Chhomrong was very pretty and a fairly major town with German Bakery a few shops and beautiful dry stone walls.
The carved window frames were very well done as well.
Back on track we found the right bridge and soon caught up to the others.
More stairs to Sinuwa but we made it by 1500 very tired. The Hilltop Hotel was very busy as the trails converge here to head up the valley to ABC. We had stunning views down the valley and up towards the mountains. The rooms are getting a bit poorer as we get higher and the same menu of food is getting more expensive and poorer quality.
Upper Sinuwa 2360m. to Deurali 3200m.
Not a great night with paper thin walls and someones phone beeping notifications all night. Very cold also. Not far along the trail we caught a glimpse of a monkey or lemur of some sort. It had a thick grey coat and long tail. Very shy and disappeared before we could get a good photo. Beautiful forrest again with old rhododendron trees covered with moss and flowers. Red petals lined the trail in places.
We walked through the village of Bamboo, quite obviously named for the prolific growth of large stands of Bamboo. It was another 90 minutes to our lunch stop at Himalaya. The morning gave us views of the mountains through the forrest and sunny patches.
By the end of lunch it was raining and not at all pleasant. The clouds were in and mist hung in the tree tops. Another monkey was spotted and he watched us as carefully as we watched him. Two hours of walking in the rain gaining altitude all the time.
One of our porters Origen takes a break under the shelter of a cave.
Punaru had a bit more command of English and a great sense of humour.
Our final approach to Deurali was across the base of spectacular waterfalls in flood.
Snow was present on the mountains close by and the temperature had dropped another level. Our guesthouse was full so we shared a room with Pema. A large group from the UK had booked in and it created a busy warm atmosphere as long as the door was kept closed.
Showers are 200RPH and it was Lea’s turn for one tonight. The rain continued so clothes were hung everywhere to dry. Had to use our sleeping bags tonight for the first time as all the blankets were needed by the porters and guides.
Deurali 3200m. to Machhapuchhre Base Camp 3700m.
A poor nights sleep for Lea as her sleeping bag was disappointedly inadequate and she was cold despite wearing all the clothes she could find. The large UK group filtered through the dining room first. A short day today so no rush. The sun came out together with the mountains around 0800 as we set off.
The forrest was left behind and the scenery became more grasslands, bare shrubs and trees. Many waterfalls with frozen piles of ice under them. The Modi Khola was flowing strongly down the valley, around large boulders while the trail wound forever upward.
It was small steps, deep breaths. I had taken half a Diamox as I could feel a very slight headache but Lea was fine. We arrived before lunchtime but had garlic soup on Nima’s recommendation to help acclimatise.
Lea soon made friends with some locals. We later found out that these dogs are a problem as they are destroying the native pheasants once prolific in the area.
Wild flowers were also still abundant.
After lunch we climbed the ridge behind the Guesthouse as a further acclimatisation walk but the clouds came down and visibility dropped.
We are now in the sacred zone where meat is no longer on the menu. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals albeit significantly more expensive. After another game of cribbage with Sue we retired early looking forward to the walk to ABC in the morning. Lea had a better night as we swapped sleeping bags.