The head of my bed is level with the sill of a plexi glass window. A crack in the window is held together with a strip of pealing yellowing tape. I wake as night fades to the greyness of dawn. Raising my head inches from the pillow, no further movement required, no disturbance of the warm air cocooning me within my sleeping bag, I watch dawn spread orange across the eastern peaks. Dawn’s grey becomes daylight, the cloudless sky deepening into pale than darker blue. A new day begins as the sun heaves itself above the distant ridges. The lodge stirs with sounds of trekkers, porters and guides preparing for another day on the trail.
We trek from Tadapani (2680 m) to Chommrong (2170 m) but as is usual in Nepal, downward trekking, also means upward trekking. Today much of the downing is on steep stone steps. When a trail is moderately steep by our Vancouver Island standards it’s called “Nepali Gradual.” This means people such as ourselves – sea level creatures – can probably gasp out a brief conversation while ascending. “Nepali Flat” means the trail undulates and we can stride along without huffing and puffing and carry on a conversation at the same time. “Nepali Steep” generally means flights of steps sometimes steep enough to give a person with vertigo pause. There are lots of those. There is very little Nepali flat.
The day remains sunny and as we loose altitude it becomes intensely hot. We walk along a cliff side above a rushing river. Insects serenade us from the dense bamboo vegetation on either side of the path.
We pick our way carefully past several cows snoozing on the narrow path. A couple of horses refuse to move aside so Claire uses her pack whistle to move them along. This proves effective as long as she keeps blasting away on the whistle. Finally they find a patch of grass to the side of the trail and move off so we can move along.
Once in Chummrong Brenda and I waste no time dragging a couple of chairs into the last of the sun on the roof top of our hotel to enjoy a beer. The sun dips behind a high ridge, we pull on leggings and down vests and descend to the comparative warmth of the dining room for chatter then dinner.