Three fried eggs, a bunch of chopped sausages, two grilled tomatoes and a slice of aloo somethingy was washed down with two cups of coffee then two slices of toast and I was good to go. I have no idea what Sue charged her batteries with but it was probably fruit, cereals and jam on toast. We shall see which fill-up will get us to the end of todays trek.
We met the rest of the group outside the hotel after first having our suitcases safely stowed away some where. There was some discussion as whether Joyce would travel by taxi or walk. She had both knees replaced e few months ago and didn’t think she could do it. In the end she opted to join us. I lent her my walking pole as an aid.
It was cloudy and rain was in the air.
After a short minibus ride we set off purposely along a dusty cart track towards the mountain in front of us. Thankfully his wasn’t as high as those to the left and right.After a km or so Josie and I both agreed that this was boring and we had expected to be on something more challenging. Half a km later we got our wish. The track turned into a trail and proceeded to become evermore vertical. At times I had to give Sue and her shorter legs a helping hand scaling the larger rocky steps. The mountain trail we were following had few buildings along its route but the higher we got the poorer the inhabitants appeared. We had frequent stops for extended rests as it soon became apparent that the rest of the group had not prepared for such an exertion, but to their credit no one complained other than to say that this was not an easy trek as described in the information sheet.
The higher we climbed, the better the views became and Lake Fewa below, gradually diminished in size. It began to spot with rain and the vista started to become obscured by clouds. The rain and the clouds came and went with the will of the mountain gods. During the clear times we sometimes spied Griffin Vultures and Kites circling overhead, but as we climbed higher we saw them wheeling and diving from above.
We came across a little hut perched on a promontory. Sue and I were at the front with our guide and the rest of our party were somewhere below and out of sight. For fun we hid in the hut shutting the door. It began to rain heavily as the first few arrived. Unsure, they stared at the hut but it was quite some while before the first one ventured to open the door and discover our presence. The silly things grown-ups get up to when there are no children about. The rain stopped, we had amused the gods.
Ever higher, we passed through a little farmstead and I struck up a relationship with the farm dog. He followed dutifully by my side for the next couple of kilometres. Show a dog a bit of affection and they reward you with shed loads of loyalty. We crossed a dirt track where our guide phoned for some one from the lodge we were staying in that night to come and pick Joyce up on a moped, as she was suffering. We waited until he appeared and whisk her away. We carried on, though by now our goal was in sight.
Determined, I was the first of the trekkers to reach the lodge, followed by the guide then Sue. So I guess that makes it official: fried eggs beat fruit when it comes to charging your battery. I had lost my faithful friend at a farmstead some time before, but he tracked me down and bounced into my presence just before I arrived at our destination, we were both glad to renew our relationship, though one or two of our group considered him to be a manky dog. Some people just cannot see the inner soul.
As the last of us arrived the rain came down and the Lodge become immersed in thick chilling cloud. What would have been great views all around became a grey blanket.
Lady luck was with us again, it was up to us to allocate our rooms and without seeing it we chose number 5, which turned out to be the best one in the hotel (according t the guide). We have the only heater and both a bath and a shower and a TV! Luxuries compared to the rest, we decided to keep quiet about our good fortune, to prevent any retribution. Ssssssssshhhh.
After settling into our room we visited the hotel restaurant for something to eat. Eventually the rest of the party joined us and with the rain pouring outside we sat down and waited (at length) for the drinks and food to arrive. By the time we had finished our meal the rain had stopped.
Returning to our room Sue and I kitted up for an exploratory walk. We set off through the tiny village chatting and gazing at the scenery below. The road was just a dirt track but work was going on to improve the surface, the reason became clear around 2 km from the lodge where a huge new hotel was being built by the Japanese. We had to wonder why so big and why there, the view was good but not of the lake or even of the Annapurna range, they over looked a meandering river just visible far below. Strange are the Japanese.
Walking back to the lodge we came across my loyal friend who had tracked me down again. He was so pleased to see me and I him. He received an extended ear fondling for his tracking skills. We lost him again when we stopped to shelter from the rain and chat to some other members of our group.
Returning to our room we put the heater on full blast and sat in front of it toasting our toes, not feeling the slightest bit guilty.
Later, we had our evening meal downstairs in the restaurant and chatted with some trekkers from the USA and Denmark.