Since being in the mountain region, we have yet to have a clear view of the Himilayas. Our sunrise in Sarangkot was impressive, but the winter clouds hang low and hide the mountains from view most days.
This morning Shorty woke us up at 630am to show us the view from our guesthouse.
Finally- a stunning view of Annapurna South and Fishtail. After breakfast we set off towards the Jhansu hot springs. The trekking has been up and down- to get to the hot springs took us roughly 3 hours from Ghandruk. We had a lovely travel companion with us until Jhansu- Red. One of the healthiest looking dogs we have seen, and she followed us the entire morning. Stopping when we were taking water breaks, or waiting around the bend for us as we stared in awe at the view.
Once we reached the village, we had to hike down about 15 minutes to the river bank to the hot springs. It was sunny and quiet and with the sound of the river in the background, the three of us could have fallen asleep on the edge of the pool. There is no cost to access the hot springs, however there is a donation box, as there is a kind old gentleman who ensures the change areas and the pools are clean. If you are trekking in this area be sure to stop at the hot springs for an hour or so. It has been the highlight of our trek so far.
The hike out of there was the least relaxing part of it all... I think I counted 171 stairs on the last part of the way up.
The second leg of the hike after lunch was on the other side of the valley from Ghandruk. The topography changed drastically (as Shorty told us it would). The terraces were gone and were replaced with waterfalls, lush forest and the river at the lowest points. We crossed he longest suspension bridge as well (side note: they call this the "new" bridge, however we later found out it is only called the new bridge because they just put up new prayer flags...) Only 2 people may cross at a time, and we're told before hand if the donkey's come that we have to let them go first. Half way across the bridge B and I pondered exactly where we might go if in fact a pack of donkey's were to come jingling down the ridge....
The remainder of the trek after was uphill to Landruk. Not overly difficult, as it seems any time the past two days you are ready to call it a day, there is a flat or less of an incline where you an catch your breath and actually enjoy the view. It is quite the rewarding feeling to look across the valley and realize where you have hiked from during the day- especially knowing how many times you descended to the riverside and back up again. We finished today at about 1550m.
Upon arriving in Landruk we are given our room at the Himilayas Guest House, and it's a triple. The room is really only a concrete box, and also contains our first bathroom with a traditional (read: squatting) toilet in it, no big deal! We enjoyed several pots of chai while chatting to a lovely Aussie couple on the terrace with a view of Annapurna South. Not a terrible way to end a day of hiking. And the good news is that it doesn't seem quite so cold tonight... But Shorty gave us two blankets each- just in case. I will still admit that I am loving the leg warmers tonight!
Now we are all curled up, the girls reading and me typing away. It's starting to feel a bit like tradition to do this at the end of a great day.
To more reading and writing,
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