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Day 7 Yamphudin - Chittre

I am up by 5.40 a.m.and manage to get packed away in time for breakfast. Setting my alarm those few minutes earlier before 'bed tea' arrives certainly helps in getting organised without rushing. I was convinced that I had heard it raining during the night but on exiting the tent I was relieved to find that it was dry.

After a fairly gentle start to the day's walk we then began a rapid ascent, climbing over eight hundred metres. It was still early in the day but now quite warm. Passing over a ridge, it was then down again to reach the valley floor and river reaching our campsite by noon; a clearing in the wood. Hadn't been in camp long before the sun had again disappeared behind the steep hills and cloud came swirling in. This appears to be a regular feature of the weather in the afternoons so far and here in the woods it does nothing to add to the atmosphere.

I decided to take the chance of getting some washing done as it has been so warm and tacky over the last few days, the steep ascents and descents of the hills meant I had been sweating a lot. Armed with my 'dhobi' I wandered down to the river. I had wondered about bathing, but one look at the swirling currents and a feel of the water temperature, I rapidly changed my mind. I was only using a small face flannel as a towel and this wouldn't get me dry quickly in the cool air and, without the aid of the sun to warm me afterwards, it was a non starter. One thing I have learnt whilst trekking, is that once the core body temperature drops, it is hard to get warm again.

I used the plastic bag trick to do the washing which meant filling a carrier bag (like those from the supermarket) with water from the river and then adding the detergent to it. This way it means the water in the river gets less pollution and it saves wasting the washing liquid. Rex had given me the tip of putting stones in the socks and throwing them into a bit of the river where they would bash against other rocks. However,one look at the fast flow convinced me I may have to retrieve them from Kathmandu so I decided not to try it.

Returning to the camp I saw that another group had arrived and pitched camp along side us; this was fast turning into tent city. I was quite alarmed as I had expected this to be a quiet trek due to the remoter location. I got talking to a neighbour, a Canadian woman, and discovered that they are on there way back to Suketar, They are doing the same route as us but in reverse. That at least meant we weren't going to be a large party for the rest of our trip. Eager to see what awaited us I enquired about the rest of the journey. I discovered that they had enjoyed some good weather on the Pang Pema side, and I wondered if it would hold for us. I hear that a few weeks earlier a storm had hit the Bay of Bengal causing a cyclone in Marisa in India. When this happened it also resulted in a heavy snow fall in the Himalayas. I hope that nothing like that happens on this trek.

I also learn that the woman's husband had developed heart problems due to the high altitude at Pang Pema and had to be evacuated by helicopter, which by all accounts is incredible expensive, that's why it is essential to have the right sort of insurance cover. This brought home to me that this trek was no ordinary walk in the park. It was a strange feeling realising that on one hand you were remote and a long way from civilisation but, if the wheel came off, you could get rescued, even out here.

After dinner a few of us played cards again. I am getting the hang of gin rummy now and we learnt another game called 'donkey', it all adds to the repertoire. Some of the trekking crew, Dawar, Janni, and Tenzi joined in the game and we all had a good laugh. Language doesn't seem to be a barrier in explaining the rules of the game, the trek crew really seem to pick it up quickly.


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