Thankfully it still isn’t too cold at night. I’m only using my trail bag and a liner still and that’s really toasty. I think I slept well but I’m not sure. I could have been lying awake half the night or it could have been for just 5 minutes. I did however have the worst wind ever. The type of wind you can feel and hear being produced in your stomach then bubbling through your whole system before being noisily released, and it happened every 10 minutes or so. Altitude problems.
Breakfast at 7am. French toast with red sauce. Lovely. We ended up not leaving until around 8am, as with all these countries timing is not their specialty. They say we leave at 7:30 we end up leaving at 8. That’s just the way it is. A lot of people get very stressed about it. I think the trail has taught me to go with the flow more because it really doesn’t bother me. We will still get there in plenty of time whether we leave ‘on time’ or half an hour later.
It was a pretty cold to start with this morning. A biting wind that really whipped around the back of the neck. We were in the shadow of the mountains but we were walking towards the sun and the sun was gradually creeping towards us. We were all looking forward to getting out of the shade to warm up. Around 5 seconds after reaching the sun it was time to stop and strip off all the layers.
The walking is really easy today. We are following the river up the valley so the ascent is very gradual and the pace slow so it was a very pleasant mornings walk. The path had been a little washed out in places!
I told stories of the trail, people were most interested in how people got their trail names – mostly why Growler was called Growler because of their very different meaning in the UK and USA. After telling the story about Cool Breeze and how he lost the buttons on his shirt my mate Martin decided to do his own version! I think Plonker is a more suitable name for him.
We passed the time by making up Limericks, this is one of my favourites:
There once was a young man called Martin, he spent all of his days fartin, he thought it was sin, to keep the farts in, but after a while his arse started smartin!
A quick stop at a tea house for some lemon and very gingery tea and an easy walk up the river to the next stop.
At the next tea house we got hot chocolate and noodle soup and we were joined by the Europeans.
We visited the monastery before carrying on up the trail. We made it to the next village – Thaknag – where we were to stay for the night by 1:40pm. Easy day, but we have gained 700m putting us at around 4300m.
The tea house charge for things. The charge over the price you would pay in England for Pringles and Mars bars and Sprite, but unlike England someone has carried them on their head for about 3 days to get them here so you expect to pay more. And, you are providing these people with a living. If you want it you have to pay for it. They also charge for hot water and to charge electronic items. Someone in my group objected to paying 500npr (around £3.20) to charge their camera that they probably paid around £500 for. To me it just does not make sense. You would be happy to pay more than that for a coffee from Starbucks yet you won’t pay for electricity in a place where it is a premium commodity?
We got more lemon tea and went for a wander around the village. There isn’t a lot here so our wander didn’t last long! A few people washed (alien concept to me, we aren’t even that dirty!). A few people went to sleep, some of us sat around a read our books and ate Pringles and farted a lot.
We were getting colder and colder, so rather than paying to have the fire lit, we busted out our down jackets and extra layers. We sat around for ages just trying to keep warm until dinner time at 6pm. My dinner was a whole bag of potatoes topped with a fried egg and cheese. So many potatoes!!
We spent a lot of time talking about how cold it is, one of the group has three temperature gauges with him, they all say different things but we think it may be around 5°C. Brr. Early to bed just so we could get in our sleeping bags.