Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Trekking in Nepal – Day 4 – Shikha to Tadupani

Day 4 – Shikha to Tadupani

The morning is bright and clear and there is a view of Khilghari Peak out my window.  This is a great day of hiking – we are on ups, downs, and flats, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  We cross swaying suspension bridges over chasms where the river runs white over huge rocks far below. (This had been one of my fears – that I would have an attack of vertigo in the middle of one of these bridges and freeze in panic.  Happily, these crossings turned out to be thrilling, not terrifying – though both DM and DB confessed to being afraid to look down.)

 The fields are golden with the buckwheat harvest.  Every home is trimmed with drying corn cobs hung from the eaves by the hundreds.  Sun means hot – we are stripped down to single layers of clothing as we descend  to rain forest levels again,  some but the brilliance of the flowers and the mountains makes it ok.

Due to our slow descent, we arrive at Tadupani quite late for lunch (3PM).  Hunger does not bring out the best in me!  Once fed, we are free to enjoy “the Palm Springs of Nepal.”  Tadupani literally means “hot water” and at the riverside just below our little cabin are the hot pools – one VERY hot, one deliciously warm, plus a shower with free-flowing warm water where one can wash one’s hair.  The pools are full of trekkers, and surrounded outside the fence by Nepali gawkers – young men staring at the Western women in their revealing swim suits.

The guesthouse at Tadupani comprises a number of little cabins surrounded by a tropical garden.  Our  cabin is a duplex with a shared shower in a separate room behind and a big bunch of green bananas nodding from a banana tree at the front door.  DB locks the entry and is enjoying the shower as DM and I explore the hot spring, but discovers to her embarrassment that the cabin door cannot be unlocked from outside, she must sprint buck-naked from the shower to re-admit DM and I, and meanwhile the other half of the duplex which she had thought was empty is now occupied by two young Frenchmen. They are sitting on the steps smoking as we go up to the lodge for  dinner, and greet us with bland smiles.

The dining room and patio are full of Germans and Americans and Dutch and Israelis and Koreans all swigging beer and swapping stories – in some ways tea-house trekking in Nepal is  a giant mobile summer camp for grown-ups.

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