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Nepalese Notebook: September 24th, 2014

September 24th, 2014
Bahundanda  1000m?
Short walk today from Chyamche; tropical weather, hot and humid, heavy sun.  The trail splits in two not far from Syange, where the right side of the river valley becomes wide enough for jeep travel; although upon our splitting from this, and taking the foot-path on the left, we found the road blocked and many vehicles waiting for access; further down a landslide had stalled most of the transport.  Our trail as well was hobbled by landslides from earlier in the season, with us having to wait or be waited on at certain crossings, as only a narrow path through the rubble was possible.  These parts, though not so much scary in themselves, did tend to leave an impression of the massive amount of earth that had slid down the slope, and even if the ground felt stable under foot, you could not help but feel the eerie silence that surrounded the crossing, and the relief, albeit small, as we stepped away from it. Earlier in the morning we stopped at a small…

Nepalese Notebook: September 15th, 2014

September 15th, 2014

Namrung 2680m.


We awoke with a view of the Syarang covered in snow, mountains that reach up to 6000m with Tibet just behind them.  Seeing these heights for the first time, our vision seems stunted, not yet ready to take in their massive presence, such that when we think to have found the summit of one of them, we must lift our eyes still further to see the actual spot.
We crossed over to the other side of the river this morning, and on our way down we found a pepper-tree that we ate berries from, having a lemony flavor but rather overbearing taste; they are supposedly a remedy against the altitude.  After our ascent on the other side, and passing through a couple Buddhist chortans with impressive rock carvings and paintings, our trail wound along the edges of dangerous cliffs.  Arriving at the end of those, we found a group of merchants with a tarp laid down on the ground and a mound of rice in the middle, each gathering what he needed to mix with his dhal; they showed signs of a difficult life.  After lunch, we passed by two wood-cutters who were sawing boards from the trunks of felled trees and bought a few of their wild apples.  Amongst the planted crops away from the villages are many field-watcher huts; these are used to scare away the birds and monkeys, someone living in them at the appropriate season, building fires and making noise whenever necessary--a sort of living scarecrow.  Strangely enough, these huts accord with the ancient customs of some Native American tribes.
Before arriving at Namrung, a large monkey ran around in the trees above us, causing a lot of racket.  The rain and cold set in soon after and everything seemed rather dreary, especially at the end of a long hike.  We were obliged to take a frigid shower as well, it being the last one available for the next week or so.

Douglas Thornton

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