by site editor Rick McCharles
At 5:15am we rendezvoused at Touch Paradise in Thamel, Kathmandu.
One of the main advantages in having a guide is finding transport to and from the trailhead. I’m not sure that on our own we would have found the right bus stand, the right bus. In the dark.
All the buses were packed as many were traveling during the holiday. And some were traveling for the upcoming national election. Seems many Nepali can vote only in their home village.
Mike and I were on the back seat bench, the bumpiest ride of all. I wished we’d paid $150 or so for a private vehicle.
It was a long, dusty and bumpy 8hrs to Arughat Bazar, the very worst part of the Manaslu Circuit trek as far as I’m concerned.
Hikers on the bus could not be happier to disembark and start walking the 2hrs up to Arkhet Bazar.
Jeeps do run up to Arkhet, but everyone I saw starting that day preferred to walk.
The scenery already pretty.
Children on this trail are cute, but pests. They still nag nearly every hiker for “pens”, “rupee” or “candy”.
Mike was patient with them, offering to take and show them photos of themselves.
Rice is perhaps the most important crop at this elevation. Farms look prosperous.
This low on the mountain the “road” was busy. We shared the trail with many pack animals.
Arriving on the same bus were Brion and Betsy from Colorado, enjoying their belated Honeymoon.
Also, Ivan and Tasha from Alaska. They fish. And adventure.
That photo was taken atop the Larkye Pass, 9 days hence. The 6 of us and our 3 guides spent a lot of time together en route. 🙂
There were motor vehicles too, but not many.
We stayed at the Mountain View Hotel in Arket. At this altitude (608m) it’s still warm in November. I didn’t bother unpacking my sleeping bag.
That was a mistake.
I’m fairly certain that it was in a $3 room where I acquired these bites. Bedbugs, I assume.
Don’t trust the provided bedding. After that night I used my own sleeping bag and silk liner exclusively, sometimes wrapping dodgy pillows in a plastic bag.
Before dark I had time to wander the small town, checking the very basic school.
That’s 2065 in the lunisolar Hindu calendar used in Nepal.
It was obvious to me that the quality of schools in the Indian Himalaya are far superior than in these mountains.
We were asleep early after surviving that bus ride.
see high resolution photos from this day on flickr