October 9, 2014 - Trek to Kagbeni

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Thorang Pass
October 9 - Trek 10 km to Kagbeni (2800 meters)

I must have left my immune system back on the mountainside as this morning my throat is raw.  I fit right in with my hacking and spitting.  Of course it could have been assisted by the beer last night now that my four days of abstinence is over.   That includes coffee as well and, amazingly, they have Illy coffeeshops everywhere.  On the long hike down to Kagbeni we pass many pilgrims on their way to Muktinath; it's a dusty uphill trudge.  The richer take  jeeps and the richest helicopters.  We finally caught a glimpse of Annapurna 1, the 8000 meter peak of the range, sitting impossibly high above trail.  We're now in the Kali Gandaki gorge, the deepest in the world what with being between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.  We stopped at the Buddhist Monastery in Jharkot  which also houses the Shree Jharkot Traditional Medical Center and School.  I toured the facility and spoke at length with its program director.  The school was started as a way to preserve Tibetan medicine which is at risk of falling into oblivion, especially the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.  About 20 underprivileged children take free schooling there comprised of the usual curriculum which is supplemented by instruction on Tibetan medicine from a trained practitioner.  Promising older students are sent to Kathmandu for additional training to become practitioners themselves.  Chhongniri met with the resident practitioner, or "amchi", for his cold, which is really more about allergies.  His visit cost the equivalent of $3.50 for the checkup and a two week prescription.  We are now in the Mustang region which is very austere compared to the lush valley to the east of Annapurna that we ascended a week ago. The only vegetation is in the river bottom where the trees are beginning to turn yellow. In the afternoon fierce winds howl up the valley creating huge plumes of dust.  I'm hiding out in the hotel dining room feeling sorry for my friends who decided to trek here later in the day.

Thorang pass


Thorang Peak


muktinath Temple