Monday 22 November
A Walk to Nagarkot
Itinerary: DAY 22 Depart
A 5:30am wake up call ensured we were downstairs by 5:45 to say goodbye to Mark, Mary and Lindy, who are flying home today.
After breakfast, the remaining three of us loaded our day sacs into the bus for the hour's journey to Dhulikhal. Traffic was fairly quiet leaving at 7am on the slightly misty morning. Finally, suburban sights were replaced by terracing, farm buildings, and haystacks.
We are accompanied by Mahesh, and would have had difficulty route finding if on our own. Climbing a track at first, this soon dwindled to a narrow path, contouring between terraced fields. As we rose, the mist and the noise of the road were left behind. Bird song, and the ring of Mahesh's phone replaced the toots. Pretty pink flowers filled some fields, and the sun shone.
After one ridge we dropped into a small village, where a line of school children stood in blue uniforms with their teacher. Their faces lit up, and they didn't cry out for "One pen" or "School pen".
Hay was drying in trees and there were stacks of corn outside houses. Women seemed to be happy working in the fields.
Another pine covered hilltop was crested and a steep and potentially slippery descent was negotiated before a stop on a broad ridge at about 1700 metres.
The Radisson lunch box provided a snack in the hot sun. Then, more climbing through pine trees with a brown autumnal hue, sometimes quite steeply, to reach a dirt road at the top, just over 2000 metres. Not only did this provide more level walking, but lovely views to the Himalayan mountains to the north.
The only traffic was tractors loaded with sacks of potatoes. Some distance later, after this shady section, was an open col, with a shack one side and around ten men from the Nepalese army lounging on the grass, rifles in hand. Three goats sat around, one happily eating a chain of marigold heads. They made short work of our banana skins too. Seated on benches, we ate lunch, while lemon tea was prepared inside the shack. Children stared and three lads turned up carrying a piece of heavy machinery.
More climbing after lunch, through green woods, to a viewpoint. By now, clouds had completely obscured any snowy mountains so we just watched the antics of others climbing to the lookout tower. A glimpse of Everest can be seen from here on a clear day.
It was metalled
road from here on, past army barracks and checkpoints, to the
Here was the first rain of the trip, a short but sharp shower. Having finished walking around 2:30pm, we enjoyed beers in the dining room until 4 ish, chatting with Mahesh. Then, hot showers and a chance to catch up with the diary, along with a short doze under the duvet.
There were only another six or so people in the chilly restaurant, but we had a very nice dinner of soup and curries. Mahesh joined us for a beer, but ate his dinner somewhere else. We had offered to buy his dinner, but the etiquette seems to dictate that he eats differently and has a different type of room - probably of a 'dorm' type.
We introduced Mahesh to Uno and played a few rounds with him under Martin's watchful eye. He came second! He also told us about his wife, 'by an 'arrangement' and children - twins aged four and a half, and a two year-old. Whilst we played, hot water bottles were put in our beds, as there's no heating, and we headed for bed soon after 8:30pm.