by site editor Rick McCharles
Early morning in Arkhet, Nepal I awoke to see buses loading to head both downhill & uphill.
Perhaps Manaslu would turn out to be “ruined” by road building, the knock against nearby Annapurna Circuit.
I took perverse pleasure in seeing both buses above Arkhet broken down.
My guess is that there will NEVER be a road up the Budhi Gandaki river. The gorges are too steep.
This is a land of suspension bridges.
Those bridges are superb. They should last 100 years.
The cultural highlight of the Manaslu Circuit for me was not the charming Buddhist mountain culture, but rather the astonishing home made swings and Ferris wheels we came across.
No doubt these fall apart dangerously all the time. That didn’t stop us from giving it a go. 🙂
The trails became cliffside canyon walks.
It’s going to be some time before anyone blasts a road in here.
The culture and economy has not yet been much disrupted by trekking tourism. If hikers stopped coming, not much would change.
Work is done by man, not machine.
There are no baby strollers.
Children seem to be largely unsupervised, except for older siblings.
We took lunch at Lapubesi 884m. The guesthouse owner said he had 20 children, 10 boys, 10 girls.
Betsy carried an audio recorder, collecting soundscapes for a friend back home.
En route we stopped in to watch a woman cooking up Raksi … “a traditional distilled alcoholic beverage in Nepal and Tibet”.
I refused to try it having been poisoned in the past by homemade Sri Lankan Arrack.
I made note of the cooking technology. This was pretty standard. Wood was used as fuel in almost every circumstance, even in those kitchens that had a fuel stove.
I was worried about deforestation, but — so far — there seems to be enough dead-fall to support the number of locals and hikers.
Nepal has a wealth of clean, flowing water. Yet a nurse told us that Nepal leads the world in diarrhea, much of it caused by tainted water. On Manaslu, happily, there seemed to be no shortage of standing water pipes.
Tired by the end of the day, I delayed our group by running into a farm to get photos of beautiful flowers. And terrifying huge web spiders.
We slept in Maccha Khola 930m.
see high resolution photos from this day on flickr