Reflections and images from my travels

Langtang Trek- Part 3

November 22, 2011 was the third massive trekking day in a row. Our goal was to get to Laurebina, 3910 m which would put us on the Gosainkund trek. Over the previous 18 hours we had a cumulative elevation gain of 3100 m. Unbelievable! It is amazing where your two feet can take you. However, my cough was worsening and I realized with the massive elevation gain that I would just have to slow down my pace in order to prevent any progression to pneumonia. I would really have to pace myself in order to get through the remainder of this very long trek without incident. From Landslide we had a relatively steep climb back to Thulo and then a very steep climb, which was exhausting, up to a viewpoint on a ridge where a lovely tea shop was located. We stopped here for lunch. We then continued a more gradual climb through beautiful forest on the ridge until we reached Cholangpati, 3654 m. This was supposed to be our destination however we could see Laurebina just above us on a relatively steep slope. We proceeded up the additional 300 m and arrived at the first guesthouse which was quite large. I was quite tired and wanted to stay at this guesthouse but the guide stated it would be better to climb an additional 50 m to the next guesthouse. Despite my reservations I learned from Annapurna to trust him. The next guesthouse looked extremely small and in much worse shape then the guesthouse we had passed on. I wondered about his logic. However, after staying there I understood. He informed me that as a solo trekker large guesthouses do not provide good service. They seem to cater to larger groups. The smaller guesthouses were often empty run by small families and provided much more personal service and better food for the solo trekker. This proved to be the case. I absolutely loved the smaller guesthouses and they treated me royally. I must say I had a wonderful sleep but this was certainly also due to the exhaustion with the previous three days of trekking. I think my aging body was starting to feel the cumulative effects of five weeks of gruelling trekking.

November 23, 2011 was supposed to be a relatively short day and climb to Gosainkund, 4165 m. This would be a day to catch up on rest. However, on arriving at the small village the guide informed me that because I was a solo trekker they were going to charge double the regular room rate. I felt this was quite unfair. We decided to hike onwards to Phedi. So much for the short day. This area was extremely wild, remote and with very few trekkers. Excellent. It was very rocky and we passed several Kunds or small lakes which added to the beauty of the trek. There was also a holy man who lived in the rocks with a very basic shelter at one of the larger Kunds which a small Buddhist temple. He apparently had lived there for the last 18 months and was committed to living there for another three years! He apparently was waiting for Vishnu to arise from the lake and tell him his life’s purpose. Apparently smoking hash made the wait more tolerable. What an interesting individual! We passed through Laurebina Pass at 4610 m and also reached the highest point at a cairn at 4770 m. We took a few photographs at this point. The sky was clear but it was relatively cold and windy. This did not help my cough. We then had a very rocky descent to Phedi at 3780 m. That evening we witnessed an absolutely spectacular sunset which I was able to photograph. There was no other habitation in this area except for the occasional guesthouse. It was really wild. The guesthouse was relatively loud and busy but I was able to get a reasonable sleep.

November 24, 2011 our goal was to reach Thadepati Pass, 3690 m. It was a rocky descent with a stop at Ghopte, 3430 m for a water break. We continued to trek and just prior to our final ascent to Thadepati Pass as I was going to take a picture I realized that I had lost my detachable electronic viewfinder for my camera. I typically carry my camera on an external holster attached to my backpack which makes it easier to take photographs on the fly. I had no trouble throughout the entire 5 1/2 weeks. Unfortunately the electronic viewfinder does not have a lock mechanism when it fits into the hot shoe. We went back about 1 km to look for it but to no avail. We decided the chances of finding it were slim so proceeded on to our destination. We arrived at Thadepati Pass which provided a wonderful view on top of the ridge and we were able to look back on the backend of the white-capped Dorje Himal range which extends all the way to the Tibet border. Fantastic views. I also had the pleasure of meeting another Canadian couple at this guesthouse who just happened to be from Calgary! What are the chances? We had a very pleasant afternoon relaxing and chatting in the warm sun. This was very therapeutic and started to have a positive effect on my cough. That evening at dinner a Spanish trekker showed up at our guesthouse and asked if anyone had lost an electronic viewfinder?  Apparently he had found it on the trail shortly after Ghopte where we had stopped for a water break. What luck! I was thrilled I would not have to purchase this camera accessory again. I told our guide good luck had followed us from the prayers he had made at the Kund where the holy man was located which had a series of prayer wheels and Buddhist temple. Even though my guide was Hindu whenever he passed any Buddhist temples or prayer wheels he always rang the bells and spun the prayer wheels. Would our good luck continue?

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