7th.Oct.18 Jomsom – Kagbeni
The flight to Jomsom was at 6.00 so we were up at 4.30 and took a packed breakfast to the airport. The chance of seeing the mountains would be much better on this flight since we would be a lot closer to them. Then we would finally start the trek with a half-day walk to the village of Kagbeni.
The plane was an hour late, waiting for the mist to clear in Jomsom, as is quite normal. While we were waiting we could view the sunrise on Annapurna as I did on the previous trip in the Spring. The flight itself was as expected spectacular. I was able to sit right behind the pilot and could see through the front screen as well as to the side. Other people also could walk up to the front to take photos. We were right between and close to Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and could also see up the Kahli Gandaki towards Mustang where we would be walking.
Jomsom still looks very primitive although it has had road access for several years. As we set off herds of sheep and goats kept coming in the opposite direction. However the off-roader traffic of is a bit disturbing, but I expected it. Not all the others did and were not impressed. On the road we met a genuine young Sadhu who was happy to talk to our guide in Hindi and have his photo taken. He was returning from the major pilgrimage centre of Muktinath which we would visit at the end of our holiday. The landscape on either side of the Kali Gandaki is mountainous stony desert similar to that in Tibet. There was only one small inhabited place, Ekle Bhatti, on the route before we reached Kagbeni at midday. It was beautifully sunny weather but around 10am each day a wind gets up and it then feels cold.
After lunch in our lodge we walked around the village and visited the local monastery where a ceremony was in progress. The monks were making music with horns, cymbals and huge conch shells and it was unusually allowed to take photos of them. It was the last day of a festival period and there were lots of local visitors staying in the village. For them Muktinath is the main attraction.