AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 2,650m Climb: Descent: 130m Time: 6hr Daily Cost: 4,380 rupees ($45/£27) We left Marpha on the road, but after about 10 minutes we crossed a bridge onto the other side of the river. From here we skirted the edge of a pine forest. Sometimes the path would be down in the riverbed, then we’d go up the hillside a little into the forest, then back down by the river. The riverbed around here is probably half a mile wide and the loose stone riverbed is famous for ammonites. As we walked across the riverbed we hunted for ammonites but with little luck. Then, just as I was about to give up I found a decent sized ammonite. Yay! On the east bank of the river there were no lodges, so we’d have to cross the river to eat. There were only a few channels of water in the riverbed so it wasn’t difficult to cross, but it was quite painful. Walking across those stones was very damaging to our shoes and really hurting our feet. A bridge spanned the widest section of the river. It was the most rickety wooden bridge we’ve ever crossed, held up only by counter weights (rocks) on each side. It took us 20 minutes to cross the river valley! On the other side was a small village. Totally deserted! Just like the start of the trek. I guess this is for the same reason, many people start their trek in Chame and they finish their trek in Jomsom. We went into one of the lodges and ordered food. I had sweet and sour and Annemarie has egg fried rice. The food was OK but we could’ve done without the flies. After lunch we decided not to cross the river again. It was just slow and painful. So we decided to walk down the road to the next bridge over the river. After been on the road for about 20 minutes we reached a section where the road followed the riverbank into a huge detour as the river merged with another river valley. The path went straight across the valley. Typical. Just can’t stay out of the riverbed! We had to find the stepping stones (just large stones) for good crossing points over the streams. After crossing the valley we decided it was best to stay on the road as Kalopani was on this side of the river. Lete was on the other side but we’d read that Kalopani had the better lodges. It was another hour before we reached Kalopani. It looked like it was going to rain. This would be the first...

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Altitude: 2,800m Climb: Descent: 220m Time: 6hr Daily Cost: 3,600 rupees ($37/£22) We left Kagbeni at our usual time of 8:15am. Then we took the path out of the village following the Kali Gandaki valley south towards Jomsom. The gorge is huge and the river at the centre is tiny. I guess in the wet season this river valley is filled and the river will be a mighty sight. After a while the path joined onto the road and we walked along the dusty road. A few Jeeps were travelling along, those going down were mainly filled with locals, those coming north were filled with tourists. The road skirted the edge of the valley all the way to Jomsom. We skipped through Jomsom quickly as there wasn’t anything worth seeing. Jomsom is a hub for the area. It has an airport, lots of Jeeps, buses and lodges. Surrounding Jomsom, like many other towns in the valley, are apple orchids. Planted by volunteers, these are organic apples and used for apple juice and cider. We climbed up and out of Jomsom towards the large village of Thini. There was nothing there and we continued to a lake, which was actually tiny and nothing special to look at. A little further uphill was a Gompa. Annemarie was tired so I climbed up to the Gompa alone. After paying the 100 rupees entrance fee went in for a look around. As I entered this totally silent building I was surprised to see a western guy sitting on the floor reading a book. I reached for the camera but was quickly told no photos were allowed. The paintings were very vivid colours on all three walls. The front wall was an altar with Buddha statues. Outside the keeper of the Gompa offered me a cup of tea. We sat in silence and drank the tea. After a while Annemarie came looking for me because I’d been gone slightly longer than expected. After the Gompa Harry was starving and we were pretty hungry, so we decided to get to Marpha as quickly as possible. The path takes a long route, down past Marpha (which is on the other side of the Kali Gandaki river) up and over some hills, then after about 90 minutes comes to a bridge which crosses the river to the road to come back up to Marpha. Harry knew an alternative. We walked around the front of the hill, which the Gompa was perched on and crossed a small wooden bridge. We then walked for 20 minutes along the road. By now the wind was extremely strong and it was...

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