Day 9 - Upper Chomrong (2300m) to Ghandruk (1940m)
Trip Start Sep 28, 2006
15Trip End Oct 15, 2006
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Where I stayed
Snow Land Lodge
It is an easy day, so it is after 9am before we get started. We begin by retracing our path from Day 4, heading up the Kimrong Khola valley and skirting around the top of the huge landslide. Then we turn off this path and head downwards, very steeply, descending about 600m until we arrive at the bottom of the valley.
We pass numerous small farms on the way. They have no electricity, no mechanisation. Apart from a few trekkers wandering past, it is doubtful if much has changed here in the last 100 years
We stop by the river and Jagan suggests that we can go for a swim. (Well more of a paddle really!) The river is very fast flowing - but surprisingly it is not that cold. (It is much warmer than the North Sea anyway!)
We stay for lunch and order pasta with tuna. 'No no' says Jagan. 'Just order plain pasta. We have tuna.' Amazingly he produces two tins of tuna from the porter's packs! I can't believe that these guys have carried tins of tuna all the way to Annapurna Base Camp - and most of the way back again! I wonder what else they have got in there.
After lunch we climb up the opposite side of the valley, through the steeply forested slopes towards Komrong. It starts to rain and for a couple of minutes we take shelter in a tea house.
The rain soon stops - but it has brought out the leeches. Jagan stops and points out a small threadlike leech, moving across the path in a sort of concertina fashion. The leech stops for a moment, then lifts its head like a mini cobra
Suddenly we realise that a leech has climbed onto Enid's boot. And there are lots of other leeches wiggling about all around us. It seems like a good time to get going again!
When we stop at Komrong a train of donkeys comes past. Several have tell-tale blood spots on their legs, and one has a leech which is still attached. It is about the size of my little finger.
From Komrong it is a steady descent to Ghandruk. It is a very picturesque town - much larger than the other villages that we have passed through on this trek. The buildings are almost identical in style, each with painted wooden shutters at the windows.
I had thought that we were staying in Ghandruk, so I am surprised when we start to climb up out of the town. We head up some stone steps - which are very slippery after the rain - climbing higher and higher above Ghandruk. Suddenly we emerge into a little shangri-la. There is a large lawn with flowerbeds and a few very traditional looking buildings. For a moment I think that we have stumbled into Hobbiton, and I half expect to see a hobbit appear from one of the buildings. The houses have certainly been built with hobbits in mind - the doorways are only about 1.5m high. (That's 4 foot 6 in old money.)
In fact, this is Snow Land Lodge. This place not only has electricity - it even has a TV! (And our porters and assitant guide - Chandra, Lila and Krishna - spend the whole evening glued to it!)