A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coming down the mountain

The next morning was crystal clear and the sunrise was spectacular, bathing the peaks in golden light. Everyone standing, mouths agape, in hushed reverence.

We walked a short distance past the volleyball court (who knew it was a thriving winter sport?) to a prayer flag strewn chorten to give our thanks before our departure.

The view on the way down was breathtaking, Fishtail looking high and mighty, a king lording over his village flock.

We were flying down the mountain, twice as fast as it took to climb up. As we continued descending and descending, I almost couldn’t believe how many stairs, hills, and steep trails we had climbed. Ron’s knees couldn’t believe it either, and he wasn’t a happy camper.

Washing clothes has been an adventure on this trek, especially as we have only two sets of clothes and they are inevitably stanky after a day of hiking. We would wash items in the sink but they would never dry overnight in the cold air, so almost everyday there were items pinned to the outside of my pack so I would have a fresh shirt or underwear the next day.

Our wool socks never seemed to dry thoroughly and my Mom (a veteran Himalayan trekker) advised many times to avoid wet feet at all costs. Well, I tried my best but I found myself in a pair of slightly damp socks in my oversized boots on the longest day of downhill. Needless to say, I got six blisters in identical positions on both feet, with several more days of trekking ahead. Not good.

We stopped in Bamboo for the night and were lucky to get one of the last rooms at the last guesthouses in town. I went for a hot shower in the disgusting toilet/shower combo and came out with the willies and not exactly feeling clean. Where’s the Purell?

Then the inexplicable happened. Can you guess? The same &*%#! girls showed up and checked in to the room next to us!! At this point I realized that god was punishing us for something we had done. There was no other reasonable explanation for the ridiculousness of forcing us next to these hyenas for a third night. I repented: God, I’m sorry for whatever I have done. Please, no more. I can’t take it.

We resorted to some rum and tea to ease the pain. Played cards with Krishna, even though he always wins! And watched the owners feed their fiesty goats. One of them, I would assume the billy goat of the bunch, would even waltz with you for some extra cabbage.

The next morning I bandaged my battered feet with medical tape, bandaids, and moleskin until they were unrecognizable lumps. My right knee was busted now like Ron’s (probably from over favoritism) and we both sported a super-cool knee brace.

Another casualty was Ron’s right index toe that was repeatedly jammed into the toe of his boot. It turned black, threatening to fall off. And yes, I have to avoid those jagged toenails underneath the covers on a nightly basis.

The neverending stone staircase from Sinuwa down to the river was painful on our tender parts. Ron dubbed it the Stairway to Hell, as we both tried to interject some humor into our constant complaining. But there was no consoling me on the way back up to Chomrong, even with the paradise vista of lush grass and waterfalls. It was as bad, if not worse, than I imagined it would be. Almost as nasty as the 3120 stairs up to Ulleri.

Donkey trains would pass us every now and then bringing supplies to the remote villages of the region. The bells around there neck jangling softly in the distance before you actually saw them bounding down the steps. We would quickly step aside, for this is their road and they knew it.

Exhausted and all busted up we collapsed in Jhinu, famous for their hot springs, at what else but the Hot Springs Cottage. They were still under construction of the second floor, but I could care less, eyeing the shower and then the wooden picnic table to rest my weary bones. Maybe indefinitely. Once I sat down, there was little that was going to move me again. Newtons law of inertia at full effect.


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