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6 Mayfred Avenue
Hope Valley, SA, 5090
Australia

The official website of adventurer and author of It Takes Two To Tandem, Louise George. Louise currently resides in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. The two regularly travel and undertake many adventures together, including riding travelling 880 miles through the United Kingdom, from John O’Groats to Lands End.

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Filtering by Tag: Nepal

Nepal - Manaslu Circuit - Day 6 - Namrung to Lho

Louise George

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With the enormous porridge bowl filled to a centre peak higher than the brim, it’s too much this morning. Nev is well today but I'm feeling a little queasy.  The apple slices looked appetizing but with the flavour of onion evident, I was easily deterred from eating breakfast.  I was reminded of the numerous times I had seen washing of stainless steel bowls, mugs and pressure cookers outdoors, probably in cold water and the less than hygienic lifestyle was sitting heavy in my belly this morning.

I had time before our departure to walk back through Namrung village. I was interested in checking out the ‘resort’.  We’ve taken 5 days to get to this point but the Nubri Four Seasons resort offers 4 day packages to tourists that includes a helicopter return flight from Kathmandu, meals, a few hours of walking on two of the days, foot massages and hot showers! I walk past a woman sitting outdoors in the meagre warmth, weaving yak hairinto a colourful scarf.  The light and temperature is probably far superior outdoors, to what she would have experienced in her stone house.

Our trek started around 7:30, mostly on a track that is more hard packed earth and only some stairs. We cautiously crossed five snowy avalanches. There were still some steep climbs that I felt I was struggling with, and I tried the nasal breathing that KK advised was the best for oxygen intake but breathing in and out of my nose just initiated snot forming, so I kept stopping to blow.  My body seemed to be overheating on the climbs so I put my poor performance down to not feeling too well. We made good time to Lho, arriving at 11:42, so a trek of only 4 hours 25 minutes with a morning tea break. The early arrival gave us time to wash our clothes, have a hot shower (200 rupee) including a hair wash.  The afternoon was sunny but a cold breeze cut to the bone. The room was like a wind tunnel.   Nev , Jo and Greg climbed up to a Buddhist monastery.  It was high on the hillside and I decided to stay back to rest. When we arrived there was a community meeting of locals underway.  There were many people sitting outside with a spectacular view over the valley and the mountains beyond.  Their discussions continued to around 5:30 by which time it was bitterly cold. There were lots of raised voices at one point, and everyone standing and yelling, and a bit of argy bargy. I can't believe how cold it is! I have fleece pants covering my legs and my body is layered with merino chamisole, tshirt and sweater, a down jacket and head topped with a hat. At least it has been sunny and warm while trekking. KK tells us there is bad news about the pass, because of recent snow.  Evidently Samarkand to Samdo is 2 feet deep with snow. Time will tell. Rained heavily in the night, woke 10:15 thinking it must be around 4am as disparate to go to toilet, had to go out in pelting rain. Fresh snow down quite low. Villages have little children greeting “Namaste chocolate”, “Namaste balloon” with palm outstretched we have nothing for them. Most have running noses and cheeks skin thick and red as in wind burn.

Our trek started around 7:30, mostly on a track that is more hard packed earth and only some stairs. We cautiously crossed five snowy avalanches. There were still some steep climbs that I felt I was struggling with, and I tried the nasal breathing that KK advised was the best for oxygen intake but breathing in and out of my nose just initiated snot forming, so I kept stopping to blow.  My body seemed to be overheating on the climbs so I put my poor performance down to not feeling too well. We made good time to Lho, arriving at 11:42, so a trek of only 4 hours 25 minutes with a morning tea break. The early arrival gave us time to wash our clothes, have a hot shower (200 rupee) including a hair wash.  The afternoon was sunny but a cold breeze cut to the bone. The room was like a wind tunnel. 

Nev , Jo and Greg climbed up to a Buddhist monastery.  It was high on the hillside and I decided to stay back to rest. When we arrived there was a community meeting of locals underway.  There were many people sitting outside with a spectacular view over the valley and the mountains beyond.  Their discussions continued to around 5:30 by which time it was bitterly cold. There were lots of raised voices at one point, and everyone standing and yelling, and a bit of argy bargy. I can't believe how cold it is! I have fleece pants covering my legs and my body is layered with merino chamisole, tshirt and sweater, a down jacket and head topped with a hat. At least it has been sunny and warm while trekking. KK tells us there is bad news about the pass, because of recent snow.  Evidently Samarkand to Samdo is 2 feet deep with snow. Time will tell. Rained heavily in the night, woke 10:15 thinking it must be around 4am as disparate to go to toilet, had to go out in pelting rain. Fresh snow down quite low. Villages have little children greeting “Namaste chocolate”, “Namaste balloon” with palm outstretched we have nothing for them. Most have running noses and cheeks skin thick and red as in wind burn.

Nepal - Manaslu Circuit - Day 5 - Deng to Namrung (2900m) 5-6 hours

Louise George

Yesterday afternoon, at the time of ordering breakfast, we anticipated we would be hungry next morning, and had ordered a 'big breakfast' at a very reasonable 500 rupee.  Nev has woken feeling unwell with an unsettled stomach (nauseous and gassy).  I'm not feeling hungry and we each make a feeble attempt to eat the enormous amount of food on our plates: Tibetan bread, scrambled eggs and fried potato, served with black tea.  I hate being wasteful but we leave most of the meals untouched.

We leave at 7:30 a.m. as we know we've got a long day ahead including 800 m of climbing.  There was some pleasant, almost flat walking along a valley before lunch, but also some steep climbs and drops.  The mountains are becoming visible and the higher altitude is only achieved by climbing makeshift steps and lots of rock climbing. It took 4&1/4 hours to Prok, just beyond Ghap. 

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Nev has continued to feel unwell and doesn't order lunch.  My vegetable omelette is eaten outdoors, surrounded by stunning mountains and the river roaring below.

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Nev's only focus is 'to get there' and all day he has walked at a pace I've found difficult to keep up with. After lunch it took us only 2&1/2 hours to reach Namrung.  This was largely climbing 680m switch-backing and rock-climbing through beautiful forest.  Some trees have been felled and sawn into planks ready for carrying to building sites.  New buildings are evident in every village.  There are small numbers of houses smattered on the river side route we are traveling, but large groups of buildings are clustered high on the opposite hillside beyond the river.  Today KK pointed out the Himalayan Blue Sheep, a bit of misnomer as they are not sheep, nor are they blue.  The brown, goat-like looking animals, are well camouflaged in the landscape.

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On entering Namrung we walked passed a very new resort.  Here, just around the corner, there is only one room left.  The rooms here are external buildings but we have been allocated the only vacancy.  It is very close to the tea-house and it's been allocated to us so that Nev can go and lie down.  It’s a clean room and tea house.  Jo and Greg have been accommodated in another area, and will join us for dinner.  I headed to the shower room to freshen up.  The highest the temperature displayed was 14C on the gauge, so I braved it, until the temperature suddenly dropped to 11 degrees, at which point the tap was quickly turned to off!

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Nepal - Manaslu Circuit - Day 4 - Jagat to Deng (also known as Dhang or Dyang)

Louise George

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The initial plan was for separate days: Jagat to Philim (1700m) 3 hours, then Philim to Deng (2095m) 5 hours, however we have decided to double them.  Ahead of us we have possibly 8 hours of trekking, (fortunately only gaining 550 metres), as we combine the recommended distance for 2 days.  With the likelihood that we will receive afternoon rain it is better to leave earlier, so today signals the first of ongoing 7:30 a.m. departures.

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Crossing by a rickety wooden bridge, then leads us along the sandy riverbed beside the Bhalu Khola.  Later we are climbing the ups and downs of the cliff face.  Groups of locals have been walking towards us as they head south to work in fields, or on new houses being built in the area.  I am reminded how fortunate we are to be walking here for sheer pleasure, rather than because our livelihood depends on being fit and strong.

The morning becomes a blur of a constantly changing trail, that includes lots of punchy climbs up, and short sharp downs, that are often rock hopping; although these are interspersed with some neatly stepped sections.  There are long, steel swing bridges, and a couple of shorter wooden ones.  Walking becomes easy as the trail travels through a broad valley where crops of millet and corn are stretching in the spring warmth.  We expected the morning to take 4-5 hours so are delighted to arrive for lunch at Ekle Bhatti (another check-point) after 3.5 hours.

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We had all looked enviously at Greg's Vegetable Curry meal last night, so to speed up our lunch break we all ordered Vegetable Curry, only to be served a disappointing meal of rice and soupy mustard greens.  The porters were tucking into their usual Dahl Baht breakfast, and in comparison to our lunch, it looked delicious.  We laugh at our bad luck, as it's been typical that someone has ordered, a never before tried selection, from the menu at the evening meal that looks delicious, so we follow it up at lunch (another time, another village) and the lunch time version has always been inferior!

The local inhabitants are Gurung people, an ethnic group that migrated from Tibet in the 6th century.  Many locals come toward us carrying cane baskets of fire wood, split the best size to be ready for burning, most likely to fuel the kitchen stove.  The loads look heavy and I'm surprised to see how young some of the children are, with full baskets.  We are carrying a pathetically light load in comparison, and wear strong boots to protect our feet on the rough track.  Most of these people wear the light plastic sandals, that fit with a plastic strap across the top of the foot, but provide no support; we would consider 'beach worthy'.  Some people are barefoot!

The afternoon trek takes us through forests of bamboo and pine, with the occasional red rhododendrons adding splashes of colour.  We pass the trail to the Tsum Valley that goes off to the right.  As almost everyone hikes the Manaslu Circuit in the same direction as us; anti-clockwise (otherwise the approach to Larkya La is too steep and there is nowhere to acclimatise), from now on we shouldn't have trekkers coming towards us.

Light drizzle began at 1:30 but it didn't stay for long.  We are still following the local people carrying the plastic chairs, wooden boards and corrugated iron.

It's quite cool by the time we reach Deng.  Our daily ritual, on arriving at our accommodation is to freshen up.  This afternoon I decide not to brave a cold shower.  Thank goodness for 'wet-wipes'!  We then meet KK in the dining room at 5 p.m. to study the menu, order the evening meal, establish a time for dinner, (every night this is "as soon as it is ready") followed by ordering breakfast and agreeing on the next morning's breakfast and departure times.  Then we read the trekking notes for tomorrow, and chat until dinner is served.  As soon as our meal is finished, we take ourselves off for an early night.

As there is no ceiling, our room tonight, has a view from the bed, of the underside of the corrugated iron roof.  Paper thin wood-panel walls, only extend to the height of a ceiling; had there been one.  We have adequate privacy without sound-proofing, as we are almost deafened by the rain that was pelting down at the time of our arrival; and continues.  Later we’re exposed to our neighbour's unhealthy-sounding fits of coughing and throat clearing.  The only toilet is downstairs.  Reaching the toilet involves being exposed to the rain while descending the stairs, and then ducking under the verandah.  It's not a clean 'out-house' and I vow I will 'hold-on' until morning.

KK tells us that as it is raining heavily tonight, there will be no rain tomorrow.  If KK's forecast is accurate, that is good immediate news, however it will unfortunately mean that the rain we are receiving will be manifesting as snow up on the pass!