Note, I am writing this post on March 10 USA time, March 11 in Nepal. I have WiFi at my tea house tonight, but is way to slow to do anything but check email. I will post this when I get a good internet connection (Might be Kathmandu).
Today I awoke feeling miserable. My nose was running – a full blown cold. The weather added to the misery, clouds floated amongst the surround peaks, and valley below me. A light drizzle was falling as I got my self ready for another day of walking.
On the map, todays hike looked like an easy day with no serious climbing. My goal for the day was Paiya, really a series of stone buildings scattered along the trail which contours high on the east slopes of the Dudh Kosi River. I have learned that the trekking map I am using is not very accurate. Today we climbed and climbed and climbed. Instead of contouring we were climbing up and around east-west ridges between the tributaries entering the Dudha Kosi from the east. Every time we would come around one of these ridges, I thought we would level out, but instead I would see the trail climbing high onto the next ridge. In the end, we gained over 1000 m in elevation, only to give back 300-400 m as we descended into a tributary valley where Paiya lies.
As we rounded the last ridge, Paiya appeared across a tributary valley. It looked quite close, maybe 20 minutes walk. My guide said 2 hours! I soon found out why. The descending trail was on a very wet, north-facing cliff face, and carved into the gneissic rocks, in places making a C-shaped notch. The path was a jumble of angular rocks imbedded in mud formed from the rain and donkey piss. Mostly piss. I had to easy my way down stepping from angular stone to slippery angular stone. One misstep and the best I could hope for was a face plant into donkey poo. If I went over the edge, the vegetation might slope me down a bit, but the rocks a 1000 ft below would stop me. In places the trail was only about 2 feet wide. The rain kept my camera in my pack the entire day, I think I took one picture.
We are now sitting around the wood burning stove at the Bee Hive lodge. We were treated to locally grown, fresh pop corn, the best I have ever tasted. Looking forward to my dinner of Sherpa stew.