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December 31 Melamchi Bazaar - Kakani.
January 1 Kakani - Gangul.
January 2 Gangul - Melamchigaon
January 3 Melamchigaon - Tadepati pass (about 3700 km above sea level) - Mangengot
January 4 Mangengot (3300) - Takune Banyang (1800)
January 5 Takune B. - Sanduridal
Briefly about the spent finances. Rooms in loggias cost from 200 to 300 rupees, showers 300-400 rupees, tea: 60-80 rupees per cup, a portion of soup or momo or pizza for 200-400 rupees. Chocolates "Mars and Snickers", which went very well on the track for 100-120 rupees.
We were taken to Melamchi Bazaar by taxi, for which we paid the day before at a travel agency. We overpaid a lot, a trip there by car costs no more than 30-40 dollars. Melamchi is a fairly large village - there you can buy all the necessary things for the track, except for equipment.
After a not terrible suspension bridge, at first a not very pleasant "cutoff" path begins, it is very hot. On this day, we walked for 5 hours, and reached the village of Kakani already at dusk, around 18.00. By the way, at 18.00 pitch darkness was already setting in, slightly diluted by the light of distant stars. Fortunately, the sky was clear in the evening, and in the morning it was almost always overcast. And it cleared up only by 10.00 or 12.00. When it cleared up, the heat set in, relieved by a cool breeze. So we went in a good mood, and in more or less comfortable conditions.
In Kakani there are a couple of guesthouses, not bad, with hot showers and everything necessary for travelers to eat and relax.
From Kakani, along a stunningly beautiful forest path, a thin black dog is walking with us. We treat him with candies "Korovka", on vacation in some kind of tee-shop we buy him boiled eggs. Which the dog eats with great pleasure, slowly savoring. God help him to be fed by the next tourists. I really hope so, that dog is a very pretty smart creature. January 1, we went until 15.30 pm. In Gangul, from the path you immediately find yourself in the "Dolma Loggia", named after the hostess. Dolma, a middle-aged, pleasant lady, persuaded us to stay with her. She is hosted by: the youngest daughter and son. We dine in their kitchen. We watch how they cook the momos we ordered with potatoes. Dolma's son, somehow ambiguously glances at me, but keeps within the bounds of decency. The daughter is a sweet, smiling girl, like her mother. They cook very tasty and fast, they talk a lot about their life in the mountains. They don't complain about life. It was nice to talk with happy, good people. May God give them prosperity and health.
By the way, the shower in the loggia of Dolma was in the form of a bucket of hot water, which you mix with cold water and pour it over yourself. This type of shower is quite common in different loggias, on different routes.
The next day it turned out that we had not stopped at Dolma Lodge for nothing. After a long night's rest, we walked for 3 hours to the next nearest loggias. That is, yesterday we would have had to travel in the dark. What is not good at all in the mountains, yes, even in a small group. In one of the loggias, we ate scrambled eggs with Tibetan bread for lunch, sharing with two black shaggy dogs. We reached Melamchigaon in the evening. A good place to spend the night before starting on the pass to Melmchigaon. We stayed at the excellent Lama Loggia. The shower was also a bucket of hot water. Dal-bat, ordered by us, was cooked in the kitchen in front of us. Additives of soup, rice and vegetables were given as much as needed. It was very tasty, and it's nice to feel surrounded by care and kindness. In the morning we were escorted to the river, showing the path, the head of the family who sheltered us, with their funny shaggy dog.
After the village of Melamchigaon, there is not a long descent to the river, which must be crossed along a flimsy wooden suspension bridge, thank the Gods, it is not long. We went through it chanting mantras, I even cried a little from fear.
After this bridge, a long climb begins - a kilometer. On the way up we met two lone trekkers with guides. Closer to the pass, blooming, small, pink daisies were seen.
At the very pass, the vegetation is represented by low thujas, and some kind of thorny shrubs. The harbinger of the pass was a bright beer, which we noticed wandering among the thujas. There is a cafe on the pass, where we had a delicious lunch. In addition to people who maintain a loggia and a cafe, hens and cockerels constantly live on the pass. Who with their singing encouraged us to climb forward and up.
The sudden change in altitude made my head hurt. There was a slight tingle. When we started to descend, in the area where the neck connects to the head, it was as if someone was thumping with a hammer.
While we were descending from the pass, someone was making a strange, fearless roar in the forest. We thought it was pandas. After all, red pandas live in those places. With each thrown ten meters, the state of health improved. Truly, the best treatment for mountain climbers is an immediate drop in altitude. If you are stubborn, irreversible processes in the body can happen. An altitude of more than 3000 m is already very dangerous in terms of altitude sickness.
We reached the first loggia we came across after the pass in Mangengot. The Lama Loggia is run by young guys, probably a husband and wife. In addition to the four of us (two hosts and two guests), there was no one else that day. Because of the height, the state of health was not very good. Ordered fried potatoes with vegetables. It was fried in some kind of fat, a huge portion, it was delicious. But I only ate half and ate too much. My constant companion and friend could not eat at all, due to poor health.
At night, everything creaked and crackled in this huge empty loggia, lost somewhere in the Himalayan forests.
In the morning we started from this not too cozy haven to go down to civilization. The road traversed the slopes for a long time, there were many loggias. So if you have at least a little strength after the pass, you can choose a place to spend the night, and not stop at the first one that comes across.
After an hour or two of walking, began a long difficult descent to Kutumsang, rewarded with beautiful views. In Kutumsang, in a good Himalayan restaurant, we ordered a tyuna pizza, took off our harness and boots, and rested for an hour, wandering barefoot on the grass, lying on benches under rhododendrons, which, unfortunately, do not bloom in winter. Then they moved on, although the body was already terribly tired, and refused to leave the cozy rest.
On this day, one and a half kilometers of altitude were dropped. I didn't think I could do this without much preparation. In the end, the legs gave way, and refused to move at least somehow. When we reached Takune Banyang at dusk, or rather dragged ourselves to Thakune Banyang, I was happy. And immediately the forces appeared to go to the shower.
In the Takunenskaya loggia, I didn’t remember its name, there was no dining room adapted for tourists. And we ate food right in a huge, by Nepalese standards, kitchen. Here, food was cooked in front of us, on three gas and one wood-burning stove. We ordered boiled momo, soup, and apple pancakes, that is, pancakes. In addition to us, there were also a couple of Dutch trekkers with their guides and Sherpas in this loggia, who also ordered a lot of all sorts of dishes.
In the kitchen, besides us, the Dutch expedition, and four cooks (including an old granny in a sari and with an earring in her nose), there were also several children, a fat puppy about 5 months old, painfully biting, and a large calm dog sleeping by the door. The little dog played not only with us, but also molested with his toys an adult dog, or hens with beer. The chickens raised a cry, and the big dog began to bite the baby painfully, in general, a terrible screech rose.
In the morning of the next day we left our funny hospitable loggia, confident to be in Kathmandu by the evening. We still had a good 7-8 hours of not weak ascents and descents to Sandurinjal. Flavored with beautiful views of the snowy peaks of five to six thousand meters. And even Annapurn, from some observation decks. The path after Chisapani turned out to be unexpectedly beautiful and well-groomed, almost like in the Alps. After one o'clock in the afternoon, crowds of local tourists poured down from below. Judging by their appearance and knowledge of the English language, they were wealthy Nepalese. Those who have chosen with their families and friends to breathe the mountain air and admire the beautiful nature.
The closer to Sandurinjal, the more local tourists became. They behaved quite decently, no one was drunk, only a few smoked.
In Sandurinjal, we went straight to the bus station, sat down in the local bass, where we were warned to watch our backpacks, otherwise they might steal it. And somewhere in an hour, 100 rupees, and 20 kilometers, we reached the bass stand in Kathmandu. Where they took a taxi to Thamel, in which they settled in my favorite Sun Rice cottage. Such a nice, and not very easy Helambu track we got. We ran what LP recommends in 7-8 days, in 5. Although, for the body, it would be more pleasant in 8 days. The best time for this track, for my taste, is spring. Because boundless rhododendron forests, orchids and other beauty will bloom. Because it will be warm to spend the night in the loggias. Yes, there will be much more trekkers in spring than in winter, but this seemingly inconvenience can be easily put up with. Since "random" inadequate people get into the mountains extremely rarely and not for long.
The Helambu Track had one of the most memorable New Year's Eve celebrations of my life. Silence, which happens only in places far from civilization. Bright stars smoothly turning into the illuminated windows of distant houses on the slopes of the hills - the foothills of the Main Himalayan Range. In such natural scenery, on the night of December 31 to January 1, my friend and I drank whiskey with Mirinda and rum, tea with spices and chocolate, ate pancakes as a birthday cake, in the company of two Nepalese. And chatted in bad English about life. The Nepalese turned out to be educated, intelligent, unobtrusive interlocutors. Those who came to celebrate the European New Year in the mountains on motorcycles. To the maximum height at which transport can be reached here. We are good too. Instead of drinking champagne under the tree, eating olive oil, they locked themselves in the Nepalese mountain darkness. Look at the stars, listen to the silence, and communicate with foreign brothers in romanticism. The hostess of the guesthouse also periodically joined our conversations. We learned a lot of new, interesting things about life in Nepal firsthand. Later, when everyone had gone to rest, I was able to enjoy the starry sky and the silence of the Himalayas all alone. This is true luxury for me. One of the best New Years Eve ever.
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