Tamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part II)
This is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Langtang National Park. My first post can be found at the following link Tamang Heritage Trail (I).
Tamang Heritage Trail, the fourth day of the trek
We stayed in Nagthali Ghyang. Thick clouds covered the mountains across the valley in front of us, but it was sunny above our heads. I wanted to stay there for another day and hoped to see the view of the Langtang Range. Suddenly, Rishi had another trek planned in two days, and I was supposed to end my trek in a hurry. However, because I was paying him (in Kathmandu, he had told me something else, though), he decided to stay with me. Otherwise, he would be in trouble if I appeared without him at the intermediate and final checkpoints.
For breakfast, I had Tibetan bread with yak cheese and scrambled eggs. I drank my milk coffee and started to study the movement of the clouds, which stubbornly covered the mountain-view in front of me. The Americans went down, trying to reach Briddhim village the same day. The Frenchmen were hesitating, though. They would climb Taruche peak, over 3700 meters high, but it was too foggy for that, and, eventually, they descended, too. When it started to rain, I went upstairs for a nap and recovered myself after three days of trekking. At noon, I sunbathed in the courtyard of the guesthouse, drank lemon tea, but I still didn’t get a glimpse of the Langtang Range. The clouds constantly rose from the valley and gathered around the high mountain peaks. All I could see was a bit of Langtang peak for a few minutes.
In the evening, the sky was clear, had many stars and I had new hopes. I could see the Milky Way and even falling stars, but the mountain was still covered with thick clouds. While having dinner, Rishi told me his family’s story.
He had two brothers and two sisters and he was the middle one. His father was twenty-five when he married his mother, who was only six. Both of them had been born in the Brahmin caste and on a night with a full moon – that’s why it had been very hard for his father’s family to find a good match for their son. His mother had stayed with her family until she was thirteen and she had her first child at nineteen. Rishi said that the dogmas for marriage in Nepal weren’t so strict anymore, people were more educated, but his family was still looking for a wife for him, from the same caste as them.
Tamang Heritage Trail, the fifth day of the trek
Short description: We went down from Nagthali Ghyang to Thuman village. After that, we continued down to the Bhotekoshni Nadi Valley, where we crossed a suspension bridge and then climbed to Lingling village. We stayed overnight at Briddhim village.
In the morning, the thick clouds persisted over the mountains at 3500 meters altitude, although there was a clear blue sky not far away, toward the South (toward Kathmandu). I decided to leave Nagthali Ghyang without seeing the panorama of the Langtang Range, though. We went down to Thuman village along a narrow footpath that soon turned into a paved route with stone steps. We heard and saw monkeys with white heads and long tails moving in the trees. A Frenchman going up asked me if I saw the panoramic view at Nagthali Ghyang and if the hot springs still were in Tatopani.
We passed a water mill that spun a big prayer wheel and we reached Thuman village (2338m altitude), where the police checked my passport and my trekking permits. In the village, the houses had wooden shutters with colorful Tibetan decorations and the local children waved and smiled at tourists.
From Thuman village, we descended to a group of chortens where the footpath split. The local people told Rishi that the earthquake had damaged the path to Briddhim village and that only the way to Syabru Besi was practicable (that meant I had to shorten my trek with one day). I tested the damaged trail, it was possible to pass, and I concluded that it wasn’t dangerous. I studied the map as well and decided to try the way down to the Bhotekoshni Nadi Valley. Behind me, Rishi kept asking me all the way down: “This is the Tamang Heritage Trail?” I couldn’t help but laugh. “I will guide you Rishi in your own country.”
We reached the Bhotekoshni Nadi River Valley next to a suspension bridge, which was broken and unstable at one edge. Rishi crossed it resolutely. I followed him slowly and holding a cable in my hand, while the torrent was whirling far below me, at a reasonable height. I finally crossed the bridge to the other side of the river and released my tension with a deep breath.
From that place, we went up to Lingling village (1737m altitude), where we stopped for lunch. A little girl came to me, looked through my notebook, and then at my photo camera. I took a photo with her and then she looked again at my camera. I held the strap of my camera to be sure she wouldn’t drop it down. She gently pushed away my hand off the strap as she would have known what she was doing. She pressed a button, the flash popped up, and she was scared for a bit. Nevertheless, she pretended to take pictures and whispered something as a triggered camera would sound. After she left, I had fried potatoes with eggs for lunch, although the fries were just stewed in a pan and actually, the eggs were an omelet with parsley.
Later, we climbed other steep stone steps to the end of Lingling village. After crossing a pass covered by prayer flags, we abruptly descended to a valley with many waterfalls. From there, we crossed the water and quickly hiked to Briddhim village (2229m altitude).
At dusk, we checked-in at Pema Guesthouse, where we met again the Americans, Matt and Heather, who had been relaxing there for one day. The owner of the guesthouse told us that the 2015 earthquake destroyed most of the village and that people had lived in tents for a while. The room where I slept was located in a recently built house, with decent rooms and a shared bathroom (without any shower, though). The food was cooked in an oven made of stone, plaster and clay. This way, the apple pie and the lasagna I had for dinner had a special taste and flavor.
Tamang Heritage Trail, the sixth day of the trek
Short description: We descended from Briddhim village to Bhotekoshni Nadi Valley. After that, we went parallel with the valley down to Wangal hamlet and further down to the small town of Syabru Besi.
In the morning, I explored Briddhim village. There, water mills spun prayer wheels clockwise and women made woolen bags on looms. The school had collapsed during the earthquake and a man speaking good English (perhaps the teacher of the school) lived in a military tent next to it.
While going up to the monastery, I heard a beautiful Tibetan music coming out from the courtyard of Lhasa Homestay. I entered the courtyard and sat next to a Tibetan woman. Her daughter, Karmo, offered me a Nepali tea and said it was her pleasure when I told her I had no money with me. Her father was a lama and he was building the monastery nearby. She worked at a shop in Kathmandu and came home to help her mother during the touristic season.
After turning back to the guesthouse where we stayed, we started to descend toward Syabru Besi. Along the way, we saw monkeys in the trees and even a spotted deer. The downhill to the Bhotekoshi Nadi Valley followed an exposed mountain path, barely visible within the tall grass. Sometimes, we had to cross steep valleys with enormous stones brought by torrents.
We continued descending parallel with the Bhotekoshi Nadi River Valley and reached Wangal hamlet (1639m altitude). There, most of the houses had collapsed and we met three boys that sold marijuana sticks (5000 Rp /50 $ one stick).
Further, the footpath brought us to the last suspension bridge of the trek, where the well-known Langtang Valley starts. In Syabru Besi, we stayed again at Yala Peak Guesthouse and, in the evening, the trekkers staying there invited me to play cards with them. This way, I heard that the whole Langtang Valley knew the story about my backpack that had flown off the bus. I tried to arrange my stay in Kathmandu, talked to Hari on the phone, and it was possible to stay with his family the next day if he would arrive in time from Pokhara.
The bus trip back from Syabru Besi to Kathmandu was as epic as when we had come there. The bus left earlier than planned (which is quite strange for Nepal) and, on our way to Dunche, I could finally see the panoramic view of the Langtang Range. We went back along the same road, dotted with police checkpoints, and they controlled even inside my luggage. Along the bus trip, I took a nap and then we had a lunch break. After that, we continued further through the dust and bumps of the road, and the bus trip lasted another nine hours.
When we arrived in Kathmandu, a goat was getting off the roof of the bus, the so-called ‘tourist bus.’ I retrieved my luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, checked the expenses Rishi gave me on a piece of paper and asked him how much money he wanted for his time and work. “As we discussed on FB,” he answered. “We didn’t discuss this Rishi. On FB, you told me only the average price for a guide. We didn’t agree on it. In Kathmandu, when I asked how much you want, you said I shouldn’t pay you.” “That’s our culture … to refuse … blah blah blah.” Bullshit.
I gave him some money I put aside beforehand, the maximum I considered appropriate for his services and experience. “But I helped you …” he tried to emotionally manipulate me. “Money means nothing for you …” (me, the millionaire!). I got angry. I knew the prices well. “If you help someone, you do it unconditionally. Friendship is not about asking for money.” He stood silent and didn’t dare to say something else.
Hari didn’t know when he would turn back to Kathmandu, so I decided to book a room in Patan. I quickly ate a terrible soup at the hotel’s restaurant, went out to find a taxi, and negotiated the price for a ride to Patan. When I arrived at Durbar Guest House, they didn’t have rooms as shown on the internet (although I had already paid with my MasterCard). I talked to the owner of the guesthouse on the phone and, eventually, he put me in the family room. Later, we became friends. His name was Om, he had a big tikka on his forehead, and a bright face. I liked Om and his guesthouse and decided to extend my stay in Patan.
Tamang Heritage Trail (II) is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Langtang National Park (find the version in Romanian at ‘Tamang heritage Trail, Parcul National Langtang, Nepal’). My first post can be found at the following link Tamang Heritage Trail (part I). And here are all my Travel Diaries from Nepal (x12).
Have you done a trek or you’re planning to do one in the Himalayas? Leave a comment below this post and tell me what you like about trekking or what you expect to find in the Himalayas.
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