#1 The sunrise in Nagarkot on day 4 was a considerably more cloudy but still atmospheric affair;
#2 Here is the view from our breakfast spot over the misty hills that we are about to set out over;
#3 A cloudier start to the day meant we were able to successfully power on (not so many photo opps!?). Up to and over the highest point of the day at around 2140m then steeply down into the next valley; an incredibly fertile ground for potatoes judging by the bumper crops for example seen here. This was also where we saw some of the most intriguing miniature wildlife but more on that in a later post…
#4 Four hours into the planned eight hour hike we were, to be honest, somewhat exhausted from feeling constantly lost (let alone the hiking!?). Though in fact during the entire 5 days of hiking we actually managed to find our way correctly it was a constant effort. Many, many locals were on the paths walking to visit relatives – a key part of the Dashain festivities. However, asking locals where we were or whether we were going in the right direction, even with my partner in crime Clare speaking excellent Nepali, did nothing to ease the constant confusion.
So, with all footpath signs having disappeared and villages on the ground not seeming to correlate to those on my map, I could only work from the relative locations of major geographic items on the map and take whichever path seemed least wrong. We forged on… and were befriended on the path by this gentleman Shree Ram Ji on the outskirts of his village Tusal and he insisted we drop in for just 5 minutes…;
#5 As this was still during the height of the festival, Shree Ram Ji (a university librarian in Kathmandu) and his family were all back in their family’s village to celebrate. They invited us to rest in their shade and fed us delicious fresh fruit, yogurt and beaten rice. They also proceeded to provide every conceivable form of contact information so that we had absolutely no excuse not to keep in touch and come back next holiday!
#6 After almost an hour of incredible hospitality we slowly got ready to move on our way – having been reassured we were in fact in the right place on our route we still had a good four hours of walking to go to our final destination. However, as we came to leave the family demanded a photo session – I think two random, foreign hikers turning up in your village during Dashain was as much of a novelty for them as it was for us. Walking away we felt refreshed both in body and soul – what a delightful, unexpected interlude. My cheeks were aching from so much smiling!
#7 Finally, after a total of nine hours pounding the trails we entered the town of Dhulikhel and thanks to the Lonely Planet recommendation (key pages photographed onto my phone for minimal packing, maximum tour guide duties) lucked out in finding this view from our rooftop at the Shiva Guest House – a perfect end to a great but thoroughly exhausting day;