Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nepal-Yak Kharka to High Point to Lower Pisang (Day 100)

It had been 100 days now since we had left Boulder and were living out of suitcases.  An amazing milestone for us to reach!  We got up early in the morning and were headed up the at 7:30 am in the shadows of the mountains.  We were excited to be out of the room and hiking but the days had kind of dragged on us and seeing the helicopter flying up canyon the day before had not inspired boldness. 


It was cold hiking up and I was feeling a little bit of a fever still but thought I could manage it.


Anja was moving slow behind me and I headed up trail into the sunlight to wait.


When Anja reached me, she was  dragging her trekking pole on the ground behind her and looked exhausted and cold.  We stopped and discussed continuing up.  We had 9.5 days until we flew out from Kathmandu.  We’d need a day to get back to Kathmandu and a day in Kathmandu to get our luggage and flyout then throw in one buffer day and that left us with 6.5 trail days.  I was calculating it would take us 4 days to hike out if we had to and maybe a day to get a bus to Besi Sahar so we had a 2.5 day window of freedom.  However, as we discussed it Anja just did not seem to get rested.  We thought maybe we can go on and finish this but it would just be miserable for Anja and I was becoming concerned she might have real altitude problems as we went higher.  We decided to turn around and see if we could catch a flight out of Manang to Pokhara.


At 8 am we snapped a picture of our high point on the trail before turning around.


It was great to be hiking down, it felt easy and fast for me but Anja was still moving a little slow.  Anja moving slow made me feel we’d made the right choice about going out as it must be altitude she was having a problem with.


Heading down we were excited talking about getting Tongba in Kathmandu, checking out Pokhara, and what the flight out might be like.




A view of the landslide section we gone across to get to Khangsar (take the new trail if you ever go).


At 11 am we reached Manang.  The walls of Manang were big and the path was gross as the paver stones were just covered with donkey poop.


Safe Drinking Water project in Manang.


Views up from Manang.


Manang main street.


In Manang we found out we needed to go back to Hume to find out about flights, another 2 hours down trail.


We stopped and got some apple pie in Barka.  People kept walking buy with rocks and we heard there might be a festival going on so we assumed it was related.


We got to Hume at 1 pm and found the ticket office.  It was Friday and they said the next flight was not until Monday and we might only maybe get on that.  Tuesday there would probably be a flight.  If you remember we had 6.5 trail days left, if we waited until Tuesday for a flight and didn’t get out we might be in trouble so we made the choice we’d hike all the way down and out.  Anja said if you had told her we’d be hiking all they way out she might have been so fast to chose to hike out.


I disagreed with Anja’s thoughts that we could have kept going as we were hiking at this point at considerable lower elevations and it was cold and windy.  It would have been a chilly night up at higher elevation camps.


We continued on and made Lower Pisang around 3:30 pm.  It had been a big 8 hour day and we were tired.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nepal-Yak Kharka (Day 98)

HUUUAHH!!!!  At about 1:30 am I threw up, luckily Anja got me the toilet paper bucket, although the used paper was dumped on the floor.  I was sick.  The next few hours would be a little scary for us as I hoped I was not starting into a Chron’s Disease episode.  If it was an episode I would start throwing up every 1-2 hours and by morning would be dehydrated and by the afternoon we would probably have to be calling for a helicopter.  Luckily, it looked like it was just food poisoning as I made it through the night without throwing up more.


Yak below our morning.


Anja went out and found us a new room in the hotel next door which appeared to have a much better kitchen and we laid up for the day.  By the afternoon the day had warmed up and the snow was melted.  I spent the all day in bed resting.


Don’t stay here!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nepal-Tilicho Lake Base Camp to Yak Kharka (Day 97)

We woke early and the weather looked stable enough to get out but certainly not promising to head up to the lake.  We packed up quick and hit the trail to get out of there.  Anja paid the bill and was appalled to find a 7,000 rupees bill or $50 per day.  Probably $40 of it was just for water.  Since we had not brought a water filter with us we were ordering lots of tea.  Definitely, I would highly recommend a top notch water filter for anyone going to Nepal.

Anja had told Brenna we would wait for them but fearing our weather window would close I was having none of it and set us off on the trail first from the hotel.


The trail was surprisingly easy to walk on as the snow had not melted any or been consolidated yet so it was soft and fluffy as we walked not hard and icy as I was fearing.


The weather was ok but looked like it could change at anytime.


We made it a ways from camp and the weather was turning in our favor with a little sunshine coming through so we stopped and waited for Brenna before the landslide section as that was where we all had been most worried about.


Yaks on a snowy trail.


The group caught up after about 30 minutes and we headed to the landslide together.


Everyone was happy to be headed downhill as the temperature warmed.


We waited for Brenna and Marcos to finish through the last of the landslide and bid them farewell and headed off down the trail.  I was thinking we’d head back to Khangsar and rest for the night as we liked that hotel.


Once we got to the shortcut location the weather was much nicer down there and it was so early we thought why hike an extra 2.5 hours so we went for it.


Looking up at base camp things still looked cold and poor.  We were happy to be out of there.


The short cut took us through an old abandoned town on the ridge top.


The views from the ridge top were amazing as we looked down on Yak pastures and up the valley we were now transitioning too.


We could see Khangsar below as we hiked across the field.


We just wondered through this pasture on no trail.



We climbed over a little rock wall and found this trail.


We gained the top of a ridge with views down to Manang.


There were funny trail markers like rocks with Yak painted on them or arrows on the trail.


From the the ridge we saw what I’m guessing were impalas below.  This was pretty much the only wildlife we had seen so far on the trek.


The trail down from the ridge was pretty grand.


We were again looking for a bridge over a river far below us as we knew the main trail was on the far side of the valley.


We found the bridge.


We were happy to gain the main trail and headed to Yak Kharka.


In Yak Kharka we got a nice room with attached toilet at around 2 pm.  It had been a 5 hour day and we settled in for the night and got dinner.  In the dinner hall the guesthouse guys were playing this odd shell, dice, and coin game.  The game was played you roll the dice, move your coin (or coins if they are stacked), across that many shells, if you land on an opponents coin stack with less coins they are knocked off the board and you roll again.  It had started snowing hard in the afternoon and we were happy to be relaxing indoor where it was not snowing indoors.

We went to bed making plans to head up the next day.  The snow, the adventurous trail, wildlife, and warmer weather it had been my favorite day so far.