Warmth of a Sherpa Kitchen

Monday, 3 Feb, 2020

Chisapani (2160m) - Kutumsang (2470m)

We knew it was going to be a long walking day and were at breakfast for 7:30 as requested. The beds were rock hard so it was easier than usual to get up. Simon and I had put blankets under our sleeping bags but they made only minimal difference. We had not been able to work out how to turn the light off directly outside our room so when I woke in the middle of the night, it seemed bright enough for morning.

It was hazy again so we could see the shapes of the surrounding hills but not the details. The route was a mix of road and rugged track short cuts. Rather than school buses, we saw groups of students walking together to school, all in uniform and they would greet us with a "namaste" as they passed.

We climbed a steep hill and I stopped to take of some of my layers. Soon I had a group of three children watching me curiously, with Mum keeping a close eye nearby.

The track wound its way up terraced hillsides and the sky cleared though it remained hazy. We stopped for morning tea and some delicious butter cookies. The climb continued till we reached Chipling and a sign showing 5 hours to our destination of Kutumsang. Of more concern, was that our next destination of Sermathang was marked as 37 hours. I hope that there is a shortcut!

We debated about whether to stop for lunch at Chipling as it was not yet 11:30. However, Puncha didn't know if there would be anywhere open in the next village so we found a place for lunch. A group of young guys appeared on their motorbikes - we weren't sure whether they had come to eat lunch or to help cook it.

Fortified, we continued uphill then along a mix of roads and tracks before reaching the next village for a quick drink and muesli bar. Seems there was a guesthouse open as we are able to use their toilet. As we waited a bus passed us - making me wonder whether there may be an easier way to do this walk!

More uphill and we finally reached the top and started downhill to Kutumsang. By this time it had become quite cold as the sun had dropped. We arrived at Gosaikunda Hotel which had been newly built after the earthquake. The beds felt super comfortable and best of all, the hot shower was actually hot, even needing cold water to moderate the temperature - a first for our time in Nepal.

The dining area was separate to the sleeping quarters and we left our shoes outside to enter the kitchen space with its wood fired stove. We gathered on mats in the floor to enjoy a hot lemon and a warm fire before ordering dinner, which was prepared in front of us.