Trek – Part Two

Gillian Holdsworth’s Trans-Nepal Trek Diary

3rd – 8th September

Monday, 3rd September

Walked along the Humla Kanali all day – crossing over a huge suspension bridge to the south side of the river, overgrown with nettles and ganga.

We bought fish which we cooked that evening at our riverside camp below Ulapani. The local people shared walnuts with us. Olli had a lesson in how to make a chillum from some passing villagers!

Tuesday, 4th September

Woke up to pouring rain. Olli had left his boots outside the tent which was unfortunate! We continued down the Humla Kanali in rain through forests of stinging nettles – they sting much worse when wet! Sisnu-Pani (wet stinging nettles) is a Nepalese word used for punishment!

We crossed the river to the north bank and continued as it curved south to the Mini river. We then headed east to the village of Pitlang –a dirty, muddy village with no water. Porters complaining that their loads are too heavy and threatening industrial action!

The weather cleared up during the day and we saw hoopoes with their golden crests. In Nepal they are known as lama chura because their crests resemble that of a Buddhist lama.

Wednesday, 5th September

One of the cooks was sick overnight – thought to be the water. However, we acquired another porter and started climbing after crossing the Take river.

Stopped for lunch on a ridge – Dharma-deurali where I managed to contact home by satellite ‘phone. I was surrounded by scores of school children who were fascinated by this person talking into a black plastic box!

Continued uphill to the village of Rimi – a short day’s walk because of our sick cook.

Thursday, 6th September

Poured with rain all night – we left by 6.30 to cross the Chankali Lekhjl (3,616 metres) and climbed up for six hours in cool, cloudy weather – fortunately there was no rain. The scenery was spectacular! The forest is apparently good hunting ground for wild deer and pheasants. After crossing the pass we dropped 800 metres to the village of Baun – a filthy village – knee deep in mud and human waste – a depressing campsite!

Friday, 7th September

Rained during the night but our first sunny day! Left at 7 a.m. and crossed the Mugu Kanali in a rope sling. 15 rupees per person. The bridge was taken out some years ago at the start of the conflict.

After lunch in Ghangadi, the district centre of Mugu, we climbed up to Rara Lake at 3,012 metres. This is Nepal’s largest lake – a stunning vivid blue, surrounded by pine forests.

We picked mushrooms in the forest which we ate for supper – delicious!

We caught two cows raiding the vegetable gardens at sunset which resulted in a sudden flurry of activity while they were extricated! And for those who sponsored me by blisters, I have had just one so far and two sore toes from walking in wet socks all day! Compeed plasters worked well. The other walkers were all right!

Saturday, 8th September

Fantastic sunny morning! A good drying day which we desperately need. The camp looks like a Chinese laundry with tents, sleeping bags and washing drying! Took an early morning dip in the lake – surprisingly warm! My Sat. ‘phone is on re-charge with its special solar panel. The careful camouflage of the sat. ‘phone (not allowed to carry them in Nepal until recently) in a camera pack failed totally – at least half a dozen people have spotted it as a ‘phone and not a camera!

There is a military camp along the lake with a couple of boats which may constitute the Nepalese Navy – including a pedallo painted in suitable military camouflage! Visited the Shiva temple after lunch and met a 64 year old Sadhu who had just returned from Mount Kailas and has lived here for 24 years. We asked him if Lake Rara was more beautiful than Lake Mansorova and he thought Lake Rara was more beautiful because of the surrounding forest. When asked if we could take his photograph he declined, he said photographs can be destroyed but memories can’t.