9th.Oct.18 Chaile – Syangmochen
There were great views at dawn of the surrounding mountains and the Kali Gandaki gorge from the roof of the lodge. It was no longer possible to walk along the gorge and was therefore necessary to climb up out of the valley. The original track out of the gorge up onto a higher route had been destroyed by the new road construction but our guide had devised an alternative route which first involved crossing a large foot suspension bridge to the attractive village of Ghaykar. As well as having small fields of beans, potatoes, millet, etc. it was surrounded by plantations of a tree which looks like a poplar. This maybe just because they are continually cut for firewood and animal feed. The leaves are a bright yellow in the autumn and contrasted with the deep blue sky and otherwise mostly grey/brown landscape. In some places there were juniper trees and thorn bushes including berberis with red berries but not red leaves. There was also a rose with small white flowers and red hips.
As we gradually gained height Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri came clearly into view. The new route crossed 2 small ravines (70m deep) before rejoining the original route at Samar, where we did not stop but pressed on to Bhena for lunch. We had already crossed 2 passes of 3660m and 3830m and I was somewhat behind the others by this time. I had my own personal Sherpa escorting me all the time. Our own jeep was also effectively escorting us although usually not in evidence, so I elected to be driven the short remaining distance to the next pass at just 4000m, where I stayed for some time. It was I think the best viewpoint of the entire holiday. Many new mountain peaks came into view and the familiar ones gained a new aspect from this more Northerly position. From there it was not so far to walk down to Syangmochen at 3800m for our next overnight stay. Sleeping at this height can be difficult but I had no problem after the fantastic but strenuous trekking day.