Day 5 Dhaulagiri Circuit - Dobang

Yet another good night's sleep with the noise of the nearby river, at times sounding like a jet engine at full throttle, proving surprisingly soporific.  The only confusion was bird song at about 2 in the morning which had me thinking that the dawn had come.  Apparently there was a big storm in the night which I missed.
Fabulous path hacked out of the cliff by the Nepalese Army
The trek today was long and tough.  Because the first day was shorter than originally planned we had to put in a long one to get back on schedule, and today was that day.

We left at about 7.45am and after a climb reached a high contour path which we followed for most of the morning.  It was great walking.  We had been warned that the path could be narrow and exposed but the Nepalese army has done some work on it and it is now very safe.
Dodgy composition
It was a tight steep valley with huge waterfalls crashing down on either side every mile or so. Tenzing, No 2 Sherpa, told us to watch out for the white monkeys which are apparently common around here, but today they decided to keep themselves to themselves.  Ahead of us when the clouds broke we were treated to yet more views of the Dhaulagiri massif.
Path with running water

After lunch in a small village we found ourselves walking along the bottom of the valley in "the jungle".  Occasional sightings of leeches kept everybody vigalent and although from a botanist's point of view we were walking through some kind of paradise most of us were jungled out by the middle of the afternoon.
Through the Jungle - Tenzing on the right taking a break
At around 4 o'clock there was a short sharp shower and the jungle was now wet as well as sticky.

At 5.30pm we arrived at the campsite which was still being put together.  A few minutes later it was dark and not all the porters had arrived - some people had bags and some didn't  - it then started to rain and hard.  The late arrival of the bags was a bit of an inconvenience but everyone was more concerned about the porters.  They were out in forest, in the dark, carrying huge loads, wearing flip flops and without lights.  They arrived in dribs and drabs over the next 45 minutes. Some of the porters for the Swiss party were hours late.

Although we had arrived too late to fully appreciate it, it was another beautiful campsite.  We got the last moments of a sunset on Dhaulagiri 1, although it was the east face of Dhaulagiri 4 that dominated the views from the campsite.  As the clouds cleared and the moon rose the mountain became almost luminescent.

My body has just about agreed a compromise with the dietary regime.  It always takes a bit of time and the combination of a long haul flight, long bus journey and strange food usually prompts some of sort of uncomfortable gastric response.  Most people express surprise at how good the food is but I suspect that's because their expectations are so low.  It's good when you think that it's being carried up the mountain on porter's backs, cooked on a couple of paraffin stoves and prepared by cooks whose personal preference is limited to dahl bhat.  On all other measures it's pretty awful.  My problem is that I had three weeks of the same stuff in August when I was in Kashmir (Nepalese cook - same food) so I had had enough even before I arrived.  It's just so bland, with carbohydrates layered on carbohydrates.  Pasta and potatoes or potatoes and rice - spiced up with tomato sauce or fried spam - is enough to force a shutdown of the best digestive system.

By the way there are a lot of Dhaulagiri's, six to be precise, so if you look up point at a big white mountain and call it Dhaulagiri there is a good chance that you called right.  Dhaulagiri apparently means "white mountain" so I guess we should be grateful they stopped at six.

No comments:

Post a Comment