We trek from Chommrong (2170 m) to Landruk (1640 m)
Lots more steep down stairs today!
Downs are harder on our old knees than ups, but easier on the lungs. It’s a trade off.
Claire has shown us a funny looking duck-walk for going down stairs that eases the thumping to knee joints. This requires a bit of coordination, and a side to side motion but once mastered it is very effective.
The big excitement of the day is the crossing of a spectacular new suspension bridge. A year under construction, it has been open for less than three months. It spans 287 metres and at its highest point is about 200 metres above the river below. One end is into a cliff face and a set of new steps has been carved into the cliff to enable access. This bridge cust off about 45 minutes of steep downward walking to the old bridge site and an equally steep ascent on the other side. As wonderful as this is for us tired trekkers it’s a tremendous boon for the heavily laden porters who often labour under 100 kg loads carried on their backs.
Our porters are not so laden. They each carry less than 25 kgs.
Now to a tale of three bridges. Another bridge crossing cuts off and additional half hour off the route. The bridge at New Bridge has been replaced by a newer bridge. The previous bridge was an improvement on the older bridge that existed before New Bridge became a place on the map. The original new bridge which replaced old bridge is now in disrepair – it’s wooded boards broken and falling into the river below. The newest bridge at New Bridge is the modern steel construction and ends abruptly at a set of steep stairs climbing up to intersect with the old path. Having crossed the sketchy old new bridge previously, the new bridge is a very pleasant surprise. Confused?
Tendi had hoped we’d get to Landruk by lunch time, which is when Binod is due to arrive, but this is not to be. We stop instead for lunch just after crossing the newest new bridge. Although we order the same thing and the simplest item on the menu, lunch didn’t materialize until we’ve been there for over an hour. Landruk is still an hour and a half away. As soon as I’ve eaten Tendi sends me packing along the trail as quickly as possible to meet up with Binod. Lakpa and Nima soon catch up and we scurry along. At one point there is a very dubious old suspension bridge. I cross with caution, the other two wisely go around. We arrive in Landruk in just over an hour. I’m puffing like an old steam engine. Even Nima and Lakpa are sweating! I brief Binod and he promises to take good care of our trip mate until her family arrives in a couple of days.
That night as we climb the outside stairs to our rooms, we look across the valley to the steep slopes beyond and the tiny lights from villages and farms on the other side light up the black like stars.