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    • Day 16

      Day 16: Jubing to Puiya

      April 5 in Nepal ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

      If yesterday was the downhill day, then today was definitely the uphill one, with 1,500+ m of steep ascents up through Kharikhola, Bupsa and Kari La.

      Before all that scrambling though, just leaving for the morning as usual became something of a struggle. And not for any of the normal reasons: as we'd left our window open while packing up our things, a monstrous winged beast kamikazed its way into our room like some buzzing Chinook locking onto its target. We both took one look at this thing and noped our way out of that situation, fleeing our room without hesitation, deserting our belongings and hiding behind the door from the wrong side. This insect, which we later discovered to be called a mammoth wasp (literal species name), was MASSIVE, with a chunky black torso and a buzz like an industrial lawn mower. Once we'd waited out the 'death hornet' as we'd called it, to leave back out through the window from which it came, we were able to make our way, but quickly came across another oddity in nature, witnessing streams of caterpillars following one another everywhere and all over the forest, apparently going off on little adventures to pupate into butterflies together.

      On the more human side of the climb however, our progress was slow in the heat, and we worked our way laboriously up to Bupsa for some lunch. Here, Thomas was particularly feeling some struggles on the ascent, but we took the time to unwind over some mango juice and spaghetti while a small Nepalese toddler took an eager interest in us. The way up from Bupsa to Kari La proved much friendlier despite the elevation gain, especially with the wider, more gentle paths which are used for jeeps up until Thamdanda. Between Kari La and Puiya, we witnessed whole herds of horses (or maybe mules given their donkey likenesses?) hauling supplies and gas bottles up the mountainside, and then the end of the road (/dirt track) where colossal landslides had taken place, trapping some vehicles and straight up destroying others. This evening, we've styled out our exhaustion by going head to head playing cards, where of course I won, (but Thomas might tell you differently.)
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    • Day 28

      Days 27-29: Pangboche to Paiya

      April 17 in Nepal ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

      Day 27: Pangboche to Namche
      A fairly dull and drab day as we continued to retrace our steps and I continued to not feel great. Up until this point, we'd been approached by several yaks, all of which had moved majestically around us when passing, allowing us to admire them as the beautiful beasts they are. Today was different; on three separate occasions we had to practically run, dodge or manhandle oncoming yaks to avoid being impaled on their bullish horns. Maybe we just caught the entire species of yak on a bad day, but when they don't want to move for you, you either damn well move for them, or choose to be turned into hiker jam. Once we'd returned jam-free to the local centre of Namche, we chose to stay at the same teahouse as we had originally, copping an ensuite room where we were both able to wash for the first time since we'd last been able to in Namche (and god, that felt great).

      Day 28: Namche to Chaurikharka
      I enjoyed this day. We woke up bright and early and gave our legs a well versed workout by heading back up to the Tenzing Norgay statue and lookout. Previously, the distant view to Everest had been blocked by clouds, but a beautiful morning meant we could enjoy the view in its splendour. The clear weather remained all day, and we made good progress on our descent, minus the part where I was attacked by a cow (no, seriously). Wandering along the path in my direction as hundreds of animals had done daily, this cow clearly decided it just did not like the look of me (who can blame it), and swerved its head steadily but menacingly towards me, its horn catching my arm. Still, other than causing confusion, no damage had really been done and we continued onto Chaurikharka. At our teahouse here, we were back to much quieter surroundings and the owner's 5-year-old energetic son, Kaji, was overjoyed to play catch with us using what seemed to be a tuft of yak fur as a ball (it was as wholesome as he was sweet, bless him.)

      Day 29: Chaurikharka to Salleri
      In the morning, the teahouse owner presented both of us with a white scarf, called a khata in Buddhism. The khata is a symbol of purity, honour and respect, and is given as a gesture of safe passage, for which we were flattered to receive. The day's walking itself was pretty miserable in my books though: again, feeling dodgy, retracing familiar scenery, faced with monumental climbs, and slowed by the constant flow of abused horses (and their everpresent dung). To continue the theme of animal attack, one horse even squared up to me too. Thereafter, we even found ourselves doing some vertical bushwhacking through steep, overgrown vegetation to find our way to the top of the Chutok La pass. Once at the top, we overheard the ominous crashing of landslides while stopping for lunch. It wasn't until over the other side that we found out what the crashing really was: landslides, yes; but man-made landslides from the hurling of colossal boulders over the cliffside. The idea here was to extend the reach of the jeep road, with heavy machinery drilling away into the cliffs, offering any debris up to the determination of gravity, much to the misfortune of anyone below. Despite the questionable construction health and safety policy, we passed the diggers and wearily ambled into Paiya. And thus, our 300 km trek was complete! It had taken 27,000 metres of elevation change and almost zero underwear changes, but we had done it. We didn't have long to mull over the situation though, as we were immediately coaxed into a jeep ride to Salleri... (See next)
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    • Day 135

      Up, up, up

      November 26, 2016 in Nepal ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

      What a fantastic day! I'm completely beat from some of the steepest trails I've ever been on. Always hiking right on the edge of the mountain, the views were incredible. I'm now in villages that are solely accessible by foot or helicopter. And many porters and mules crossed out path again.

      Most beautiful moment of the day: I made jokes with three extremely shy Nepali kids and ended up sharing my breakfast with them, opening up and laughing together :)

      Here's a 360° view of a tea house kitchen where we shared lunch with a local family unfortunately they moved so you can't really see them but you get a sense for the inside of the local houses
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    • Day 9

      27 Avril : Bupsa to Chourikharka

      April 27, 2018 in Nepal ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      Nous partons à 8h15. Nous montons pendant 1h30 560m de dénivelé.
      Sur le chemin nous sommes à l'arrêt pendant 30 minutes. Le sentier n'est pas bien large, nous devons laisser passer les processions d'ânes sous peine de finir dans le fond. C'est donc à 10h30 que nous arrivons en haut de la vallée.

      Nous marchons pendant 1h10 à travers la vallée pour rejoindre le côté opposé. Cette partie est globalement plate avec des parties montantes et descendantes.
      Les paysages sont plus jolis que la veille, nous avons une belle vue sur toute la vallée même si nous marchons encore pas mal dans les crottes d'âne.

      Nous mangeons au village de Puya, devinez quoi, du dhal bat.
      Après cela nous descendons pendant 2h plus ou moins progressivement sur 6km, 600m de dénivelé. Mon genou gauche me pince un peu malgré la genouillère et le baume du tigre. Heureusement la descente se termine et nous commençons la remontée pour 400m.

      Au final nous aurons marcher 16km et 6h30.

      Nous arrivons à 18h au lodge à Chourikarka bien fatigués. La journée a été longue. Heureusement le lodge est propre et neuf. Les lits sont confortables et les plats délicieux. Nous prenons un thé au citron pour nous réchauffer en arrivant. Le ciel se dégage de temps en temps entre deux averses et orages. Il laisse apparaître de beaux sommets enneigés à travers la fenêtre du salon du lodge.

      Après quelques étirements nous passons à table vers 19h30 : frites en apéro pour tout le monde et soupe de nouille aux œufs et légumes pour moi. Ça réchauffe bien. Aurélie mange un riz frit et Hugo un dhal bat.
      Nous nous couvrons vers 21h, demain c'est reparti pour la même.
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