Monday 18th December 2017.
A colourful mani wall and gateway chorten (stupa) marked the end of Chame. By now Terry and I were getting used the routine of early wake up call (with tea from the porters), pack kit away, leave bag outside of the room, eat a breakfast consisting of porridge, chipati/Tibetan bread and egg with some more tea (lemon tea = yum!) then set off for a day’s walking…
I like this picture – it shows nature finding a way to survive on impossible logic. How steep must those sides be for the roots to fix themselves into the cracks?
It is an odd feeling to find a valley of apple orchards after spending the last few days walking through forests. There is a beautiful building (and factory) near orchards in Brathang (2919m) but it was out of season and the trees were bare.
We stopped off to try the local produce at the tea house in the form of apple tea (delicious I might add).
After Brathang you encounter a massive geological feature from the riverbank known as the Paungda Danda wall or Swarga Dwar (“Heaven’s Gate”). So called Heaven’s Gate as surrounding villagers believe that when a person passes on, they must climb the wall (1,500m in height) to reach heaven, hence – Heaven’s Gate.
Dhukure Pokhari is a great town to stop for lunch. We were now used to the large quantities served at lunch (beats just a sandwich any day!) and today I had vegetable fried potatoes with egg; this was becoming a firm favourite of mine. Delicious.
At the start of the trek today I was marvelling at how nature finds a way and in the afternoon I switched my thoughts to how man finds a way… cut out of the cliff wall was a road big enough for a car to drive along to its destination- reminded me of one of the quote’s my mother used to say when I was floundering in my confidence as a child… “where there is a will, they is a way”. The Nepalese this trip have constantly shown how resourceful they are in their approach to any problem – they will find a way!
A most welcoming sign at the village. At this point I made sure other group members saw and didn’t walk on past- 3060m high! Woo!
I was elated. This might not have been the highest I’ve ever been (we visited the Jungfraujoch in Saddle, Switzerland at 3,466m elevation in 2014) but it was on foot without mechanical help. “Up, up, up”
The extra steps to reach Upper Pisang were worth it. Not only did you get the mountain views but the view over Lower Pisang as well.
Before we headed to our guest house for the night we visited the Tibetan Buddhist monastery overlooking the valley. A sign inside informed us that since 1999, the people of Pisang have been building this new monastery to replace the old one that was in disrepair. The villagers rely on donations and used local labour to build it (some volunteered 54 days of their time to help).
From Upper Pisang you had a wonderful of Pisang Peak (6091m/19,983ft) and Annapurna II (7937m/26,039ft). We sat a while to take in the scenery.
It was a relief to turn up to the guesthouse, Hotel Manang Marshuangdi, after the day of gaining height. It was only 14.5km/9 miles but felt a lot longer! Dinner, wash, sleep was the evening’s activity… (the mattresses were comfy!!)