Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 16

Tuesday 16 November
Marpha to Lete
Itinerary: DAY 16 Lete (2,438m) Continue along the right bank to Tukuche (2,591m) and just after Larjung (2,560m) cross the river again. Leaving behind the flat roofed compact houses of the upper Kali Gandaki we soon emerge between the peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. We then continue towards the green and fertile fields of the valley further south. Our camp at Lete is close to pine and fir forest back dropped by the towering peaks of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak and Annapurna I. (5 - 6 hours walk).

[Diarist: Sue]
The apple cider appeared to have induced good sleep for everyone. Although the night felt much warmer, there was still frost on the tent flysheet. There was much porter clamour - usually camp is more spread out and we don't hear much of this. 

Breakfast upstairs in the 'greenhouse room' where apple rings are drying on the other side of the room. Porridge, and egg with fresh rolls.


The apple cider village at Marpha

The morning is still cool enough for the girls to be wearing down jackets, as we set off through Marpha's shady streets. It is a long while before the sun penetrates this deep valley. Just outside Marpha, autumn colours in the orchards of fruit trees and the distillery just behind. Today, with the bends in the river, the views change often. Excellent views of Dhaulagiri and Tukuche Peak.

The path from Marpha, with Tukuche Peak

In Tukuche village, an enclosed courtyard, with an ornately carved window, provided a sunny, sheltered spot for lemon tea. Moving on, the path uses the river bed, which is rocky and dusty but rather like walking on a wide beach.

The path to Lete, with Tukuche ridge

A few clouds build up around mid-morning and continue to thicken during the day. The willow trees in their autumn hue dominate the entrance to the villages of Kobang and Larjuing. There are tunnel like constructions between the stone houses here, as protection against the strong winds.

Trees at Khanti

In Larjung, we stop for an early lunch, again inside. Another nice lunch of puris, mashed potato cakes, coleslaw and fried luncheon meat, with fresh pineapple.

Trees in Kobang

As a change, there was a good chunk of today's walk for after lunch. As usual, the wind had risen, but not much dust blew around. After crossing more river bed, the trail passes through pines on the bank. Around here was a rapid switch from arid conditions to one of plants returning, particularly marked after crossing a suspension bridge where the path to Dhaulagiri icefall turned off. 

In the small village of Koketani, we waited whilst the kitchen crew came past. A man was saddling up a white pony and checking its shoes with a hammer. A lady was sweeping up the dust and flagstones clear of horse muck. Several dogs prowled around, in addition to chickens and three mules. 

The path was undulating after this and for a good ten minutes, a lammergeier flew around above. Occasionally the cloud breaks to give tantalizing views of Dhaulagiri high above.

Crossing a log bridge, with Nilgiri behind

Sanjeev and Mahesh cross the log bridge

Kitchen on the move

Soon, to Kalopani and then to Lete, where the houses are now more Nepalese. Children play, women go about their washing around the taps, and we seem to have lost the crowds of trekkers seen in the morning. Marigolds are now back, and make gardens here pretty. 

Just outside Lete, a steep descent to our campsite, an unlikely spot above a thundering river, arriving around 3:45 pm. 

Lete camp, and the view ahead

We relaxed in our tents until hot washing water arrived at 4:30, then tea at 5 pm, inside the dining room. As is fairly common, there are posters of Switzerland on the walls. We chat, read, write postcards, or play Scrabble (Martin and Lindy) until usual 6:30 dinner. Chicken soup with added garlic and poppadoms is followed by goat, spaghetti, spinach, aubergine and pizza. Then a surprise pudding of Indian sweets. Lindy's apricot brandy was shared around. Uno was after-dinner entertainment, which got very loud! The folk song we have become familiar with was playing ad-infinitum next door. 

At 9 pm, time for bed under a cloudy sky. 

Start: 2710 metres
Ascent: 75 metres
Descent: -395 metres
Finish: 2390 metres
Time: 8 hours
Stops: 2.75 hours
Walking time: 5.25 hours 

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