AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 2,710m Climb: 600m Time: 4hr Daily Cost: 3,800 rupees ($39/£23) We left Chame on the road via the Kani, spinning the prayer wheels as we past for good luck. This time they seemed to work as we had perfect weather and great views all day. The road took us through a nice forest for an hour or so. We had great views of mountains around us and the river below us was crystal clear. The scenery had changed and was now looking great. We really enjoyed walking this section. We came to a section where the road seemed to have been blasted out of the rock face. To the left was a sheer drop down to the river far below us, but more terrifyingly was the sheer cliff face on the right which rose far far above our heads. The cliff face wasn’t exactly solid and was crumbling in places, so falling rocks were a serious hazard here. We walked through at a good pace, constantly watching above our heads for any rocks coming our way. After crossing a bridge and climbing a short but steep slope we could see the impressive sight of Paungda Danda. This is a huge curved slab of rock rising more than 1,500m above the river. The locals call it the Gateway to Heaven and believe the spirits of the dead must climb this wall after leaving their bodies. We continued walking through the forest, enjoying the views of the mountains which were now much clearer and the forest that was so green. It reminded us of our trip to Scotland, well aside from the 5 and 6 thousand metre peaks surrounding us. At this point, we had crossed the 3,000m threshold and suddenly everything looks a little better. The air feels fresher, the mountains are clearer as the haze finally disappears and the forest scents can be clearly smelt. We finally reached the settlement of Dhukur Pokhari and considered stopping here for a late tea break or maybe even an early lunch. But Annemarie convinced us that Pisang wasn’t too much further do we might as well continue to there and have lunch plus we felt really good and not at all tired. We followed the trail out of the group of lodges and the trees started to thin out. After a passing near a lake we crossed a rickety looking bridge and slowly climbed around the hillside towards Upper Pisang. Here the ground was dry and dusty and the trees had thinned out and were much smaller. The view down into the valley was getting better all the time. We rounded...

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Altitude: 2,210m Climb: 500m Time: 3hr 30m + 30min tea break Daily Cost: 3,360 rupees ($35/£20.50) Reading our Lonely Planet trekking guide there weren’t any decent lodges and stopovers between Chame and Upper Pisang. So that would result in either a long day of about 8 hours or a short day followed by a shortish day. We weren’t in any rush so we decided we’d stop in Chame after about half a day of walking. Plus Harry, our porter also agreed. Before leaving Danaque we turned the prayer wheels for good luck and good weather. The weather stayed rather cloudy that day so I’m not sure we turned them properly! Harry took us up a short cut as the road was just switchbacks here. The shortcut was incredibly muddy and steep but we made it up without any slips. Harry, carrying about 20kg, went up with ease, as if he had no weight on his back. We walked along the road for a few minutes and over a ford with stepping stones for trekkers. Then it was a long steep uphill walk through the woods on the path. The path levelled out to a steady but gradual incline and we walked for a while through the woods until we reached another steep uphill section. Not long afterwards we reached the village of Timang, described in the Lonely Planet as a ‘scruffy settlement’. It looked OK to us and had a pretty well stocked shop. It has been 3 years since the Lonely Planet team had visited. The village now consisted of many lodges for tourists but once again seemed devoid of any actual tourists. From Timang we were back on the road. The road was pretty much deserted and cut through the forest, making it a pleasant walk. Remember that the road is little more than a wide dirt track, more like a supersized footpath than a road. We stopped for a tea break and met another British couple, who had been away from the UK for about 2 years. They were from Rawdon, which is about 5 minutes from where we had lived for the past 5 years. They claimed to have given up on the traditional lifestyle and did want to live in a materialistic world. An interesting chat as we had rather different views on things, but it’s always interesting to hear a different opinion even if we don’t agree with it. We then followed a footpath which depressingly went steeply downhill, over a suspension bridge then steeply back up the other side. Although we are used to seeing this setup it’s still a depressing sight...

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