Today we trekked from Lho Village to Sama Gaon. It was a short day of about 3.5 hours and an opportunity to acclimatize. We gained 340 m of elevation, starting at 3180 m and stopping at 3520 m for the night.
Our day began with the Hotel Dhundup rooster starting his wake-up call at 4:50 am. After a warm breakfast, we got ready to leave for our day and saw our first yaks of the trek. Locals were already hard at work when we left at 7:40 am. Women in the village were heading for the fields to fill their bamboo baskets with ripened wheat – many of them bring their small children as well. We had a great view of Mt Manaslu for most of the day, its double peak covered in snow. Along our way, we came across a large herd of approximately 100 yaks, many of them cooling off in a steep stream. I found them to be beautiful animals, strong and not afraid of people.
We soon reached Shyala village; an area with lots of construction of new lodges and schools. We saw very few locals as they were busy harvesting in the fields, however about a dozen children greeted us with smiles and announcing Namaste, as usual they were looking for handouts. I noticed that the villages now have more barns for animals which now are mostly yaks and horses. No more goats but still some chickens around.
Sama Gaon is in a valley surrounded by the most majestic mountains, some covered with snow and others showing rocky peaks. A helicopter was noticed entering the village and soon leaving again. The warm early afternoon sun was a great opportunity for many of us to do some washing. We then headed off to explore the oldest monastery in the area. Some of the buildings were close to 500 years old. The Buddhas were in the process of being epainted…what an amazing job to have I thought! The monastery is still being used by monks who live in the surrounding stone homes. We then continued walking to the base of Lake Birendra, a beautiful moraine at the base of Mt Manaslu. We were greeted with beautiful blue water and old glaciers above. The sun soon slipped behind the mountains and it turned cold quickly and we returned to our home for the night in Sama Gaon.
Overall, this has been an unbelievably amazing journey so far for me. The views are so spectacular every day and in every direction – it often is difficult to put into words how I feel when I see the beauty around me. The local people are wonderfully friendly as are all the other trekkers we meet. Our ACC team is doing very well and we never seem to run out of things to chat about. We are looking forward to each day with excitement and love chatting about our days over warm tea and meals.
Diane van Bergen