Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Trekking in Nepal – Day 10 – Mulktinath to Jomsom

The last day of the trek is a 5 hour hike from Mulktinath to Jomsom, partly across a rocky river bed along the bus road going into the sun and a cold wind. DB took the jeep again, as she has had a lot of trouble coping with the altitude.

DM and I were apprehensive about the dusty, rocky riverbed section of the trail, remembering how un-happy the trekkers on that path had looked when we had passed them in the jeep two days before.  However, our guides led up to the high path away from the road going from Mulktinath toward Jomsom, which cut out a lot of the riverbed section.

The first  section of the road retraced our path back toward Kagbeni, but then it branched up over the shoulder of the hill so we looked at Kagbeni far down in the basin of the valley with snowy peaks rising in all directions.  In the distant downhill we could see the small nameless town where we would have our tea break.  We passed a herd of domesticated mountain goats, built low to the ground with long shaggy coats of black, tan, or a splotched blend of both.  Each had one horn painted blue to show the ownership.  They munched eagerly on thorny gray scrub bushes which I would be ashamed to put in the recycling, much less use to sustain life.

At tea break, we talked with an Australian and a couple from the UK who had just come down from the high pass at Thorung La (5540 M).  The lady said “I just looked at Sindu’s feet and followed where they went.”  I congratulated her, but thought privately “Don’t forget to look up – it’s why you’re here!”

From this comfortable spot we continued down to the riverbed, the road barely discernible and the wind picking up as promised.  But the traffic was light – one tractor, two jeeps, two scooters, a half-dozen trekkers.  The wind was cool, the sun was welcome.  My new hat, pulled down tightly over my hood, blew off only once; the shoelace cord I had contrived to secure it was so inextricably tangled in my camera lanyard that no harm was done.

The hill trail cut half the distance between Jomsom and Kagbeni – we arrived in Jomsom in good spirits, but with the fog closing in.  On the good side, fog in Pokhara had prevented flights into Jomsom, so the premier guest house was able to find room for us despite having been fully booked when we checked on our way to Mulktinath.  On the downside, the hardest stretch of the day was getting from the near side of town – the jeep park – to the far side of town where this hotel was located.  (Strange but true – no matter which direction you are going, your hotel is always on the far side of town.) My feet protested each step on the cobbled street, which seemed to stretch on forever.  We finally made it to the Majesty Hotel, complete with chandelier in the three-story atrium lobby (see earlier post).  The service was slow, the internet connection was down, the ATM did not work, but all was excused: double blankets on the bed!  Attached bathroom!  And HOT SHOWER!

This was supposed to be the last day on the trail, but… men make plans so the gods can laugh.

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