Day 5: May 28, 2014 (Wednesday) Jagat->Lokpa
We got up early to find a beautiful, clear day! It started off with some Manaslu bread (the same thing as Tibetan bread, just renamed due to the area we are in), a fried egg, and honey. The bread was hard as a rock and we couldn’t cut it with a knife and could barely bite it. Regardless, we somehow ate it and washed it down with some ginger tea.
It is so hard to explain what we saw on the trek today and even pictures don’t do it justice. Basically, imagine the most gorgeous landscape scene you have ever seen in a movie, then multiply that by 50. That is Nepal. I couldn’t say much other than, “WOW!” as we walked along the trail toward Tsum (pronounced “soom”) Valley. We walked from village to village, and at any given time, we could spin in a circle and see an amazing river, rice paddies, rocky cliffs, massive snow covered peaks, corn fields, stone buildings, donkeys, cows, smiling children, suspension bridges, and fields of wild marijuana. Why go anywhere else in the world for good scenery? Well, I guess because it took us 4 days to walk here…
We passed people making rice wine, weaving wool, making flour over the river, and beating wheat. It was amazing to see how life exists this far from what we consider civilization. We stopped for some tea and coffee in Phillim and continued on for another two hours for lunch. Our lunch spot was in Elke Bhati and we actually had the best dal bhat yet! All others are forgettable now.
The remaining two hours were very challenging. The exposure rivaled Angel’s landing in Utah and the incline reminded us of Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado. We gained a total of about 1,000 vertical meters today, most of which seemed to be in the final part. The views continued to wow us and we got to a place where we will return in a few days after we complete the Tsum Valley loop. We turned right to enter into Tsum Valley and we will turn the opposite way in a few days to continue to the Manaslu Circuit.
Tsum Valley began with a steep incline, covered in pine needles. The smell reminded us of Colorado. The narrow path ran along the side of a mountain through forests and jungles with orange raspberries and rhododendron trees with bright red flowers. We passed several large lizards and watched some monkeys playing in the trees next to us. Everything was so overwhelmingly gorgeous that we almost forgot our feet hurt! We arrived in Lokpa, our home for the night, at 3:30pm. We are now at over 7,000 feet elevation. We were taken to a room with 4 beds and 50-100 flies that looked like it hadn’t been used in 10 years. I asked to see another room and we are now cozily snuggled in a room with dimensions of about 5 feet by 8 feet. It just fits two tiny twin beds and our bags. It is much nicer and cleaner than the first room, though. About an hour after we got here, it started to POUR down rain! We were glad to already be here when that happened.
Tsum Valley has only been open for trekking for about 4 years, so the lodges are very basic. The toilet is outside (and filthy) and a shower consists of a bucket of water or a cold trickle of water in a small building down the hill. We washed our arms and faces and legs off and used our handy dandy wipes to do the rest. It’s just like being back in a campervan in New Zealand! Except without the Tim Tams.
We met another tourist from Scotland (Ewin), staying in the room next door, and talked to him all evening. He just finished Tsum Valley and is headed to the Manaslu Circuit tomorrow. He’s about 5 days ahead of us. It’s hard to believe we have 16 more days of walking!
The stars are out tonight and look absolutely amazing! After more dal baht (Tek and Krishna’s motto: “Dal bhat power, 24 hour. Pizza power, 3 hour!”), we are heading to bed.
Side note: The roof of our lodge is held on with a few large stones attached to a wire, connected to the roof…