Wednesday, 22 Jan, 2020
Sherpagong (2600m) - Riverside (2800m)
Given that Georgia had been so unwell, we arranged for breakfast at 8am with a plan to walk for 2 hours to Lama Hotel.
However, after sleeping the best part of 18 hours, Georgia was feeling much better so we looked at options to extend our walk a little further. Puncha wasn't sure what would be open but I was keen to at least make it as far as Riverside which was halfway to New Langtang and would mean two days of four-hour walking days.
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and it was around 9am by the time we left. We rated Namaste Guest House as the best yet for food, with Jonno declaring that it had the best dahl bat. Given that he has been eating it almost daily (either for lunch or dinner depending on when we finished our walk), that was high praise indeed. Our porter Gopal was also a big fan of dahl bat, eating it twice daily, Given the load he is carrying, dahl bat power is clearly very effective.
It was the most glorious day, with clear blue skies and the track was fairly easy walking. Jonno went on ahead and when we reached Rimche, he was nowhere to be seen. We stopped for a quick break and noted the path down to Thulo Syabru, which we will be taking on our return. It is also the path to Syabru Bensi which is the typical starting point for the Langtang trek.
It was only another 30 minutes onto Lama Hotel where Jonno was waiting for us. We stopped for a morning coffee and marsala tea and tried a packet of coconut biscuits, which tasted surprisingly fresh given that their use by date was April 2019. Despite that, we enjoyed them enough to buy a second packet to take with us.
We were now on a main donkey trail as there are no roads through the Langtang valley. This is quite a contrast to the Tamang Heritage trail we had just completed as there was road access to most villages. The prices were also considerably higher for food and drinks than we had seen for the first part of our trip.
Simon and Georgia had tried cold brew teabags to improve the taste of the water which we treated with chlorine based drops to kill off any bacteria and viruses. At our next rest stop, they declared a big improvement in the taste of the water. Good thing we brought close to 100 tea bags with us - banking on using at least four per day. We regularly ordered medium/big pots of hot water to make tea and coffee but also liked the hot lemon and ginger, lemon and honey drinks, again ordered by the pot. Our one attempt to order Everest beer had not been a success, tasting old and stale. Maybe we will have better luck on this more touristed route.
We were walking alongside a roaring river and had to move out of the way of any passing donkeys. Once they came so close that I was lucky not to be trodden on as I scrambled up the bank near the path. Whilst we had become quite used to the donkeys, we were very surprised when a big, black beast came careening down the path. It took a few seconds to realise that it was a yak and it seemed unaccompanied and out of control. We moved quickly out of its way and I was disappointed not to move fast enough to get a photo - but we were transfixed by this strange sight.
We started to catch glimpses of Langtang Lirung, and at a height of 7227 metres it soon dominated our view.
Before long, we reached Riverside, a very basic lodge set on the banks of the river and found our rooms for the night. Whilst waiting for lunch we did some more washing, hoping to dry our pants and hiking shirts in the warm sunshine. The washing spot was under a stream of running water. Coming from Sydney it seemed so wasteful not to be able to turn it off. There is certainly no shortage of water in this part of Nepal.
It was a beautiful place by the river and we all found a spot to enjoy the sunshine. However, as soon as the sun dropped behind the mountains it became very cold and we soon took up residence in the little dining room. With the fire burning, it wasn't long before the room was really warm and then so hot, that I opened the window behind me. No doubt our clothes will be dry before heading to bed.
For a change we ordered a range of dishes to share for dinner. We tried the mixed vegetable momo, tuna pizza, the local potato bread and some chips. The potato bread was quite bland but the rest of the food was most enjoyable.