11th.Oct.18 Tsarang – Lo Manthang
I did not go with the group today because our guide thought that the 4200m pass with 1000m ascent would have been too much for me. I first visited the monastery again with them. It looked different in the early morning light and really is very scenic next to the huge gorge (only a small tributary of the Kali Gandaki) and the deserted but more or less intact castle. With so little rain buildings disintegrate very slowly.
After the others had left on their trek I joined a Sherpa and the driver in the jeep. We first crossed another less precipitous gorge with good views back to the castle and Ghompa on the other side. We then drove on over a lower pass 3960m where we had the first views of Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang. It lies at the centre of a broad relatively flat valley which gives it its name. Our lodge lay just outside the city walls which are still intact.
In the afternoon the Sherpa would be walking towards the pass down which the others would be coming in order to bring them a large flask of tea. I could go with him and our timing was perfect. We all met by a large cairn with prayer flags at 4025m at 15:00. We would have been a little earlier but we encountered a heard of yaks on the way. They were the first ones I had seen and I of course took a lot of photos. This Sherpa seemed to be interested in the photography and took pictures of me with the yaks even making use of the zoom lens! The others had enjoyed their walk as had I. It was the first time that I felt that we were really well away from the road.
We would be in Lo Manthang for 3 nights giving plenty of time to see all the sights of the town and the surrounding area. The lodge was, apart from the WiFi, much the same as the previous ones. Wash basins were in short supply (one for the entire place) and toilets were rather primitive. There was also always one shower which cost something and was difficult to use. The food was mostly good in the lodges consisting of various rice or nudel dishes often being vegetarian. Alcohol including beer was banned at high altitude by our guide.