Day 4: Junbesi to Nunthala
Pikey Peak, Nepal
Ascent: 950 m
descent: 1410 m
Distance: 19 km
Elevation at Destination: 2220 m
I haven't fallen over on the trail yet, but I did manage to fall out of bed. We were given the narrowest of double beds to sleep in, and during the night I must have rolled over the wrong way because I woke up as I face-planted the floor. A bleeding gum and a rapid heart rate were the end result of the experience.
The difference in temperature today was clearly noticeable. It was nowhere near as cold now that we were at a significantly lower elevation, which we very much appreciated. What we did not appreciate was the pain in our quads. The extreme amount of descent yesterday, especially when we had to jump down the larger boulders with our packs on, had destroyed the muscles in our thighs. It was going to be a painful couple of days of hiking.
This morning started with a long, slow climb through a forest, which meant I wasn’t given the views back towards Junbesi that I was hoping for. It also meant there was no warm-up for our weary legs. Emerging from the trees, a panoramic view along the valley was waiting for us. Colourful houses were placed sporadically on the slopes, but the hills were mostly covered in dry grass with clumps of white wildflowers. The snow-capped mountains had returned, including sightings of Mt Everest, and the weather was fantastic. It looked like it was going to be a great day.
That was until we missed a turn-off. We had been walking downhill for a while until we eventually hit a river, and we could see the trail continuing on the other side. The only problem was there was no bridge over the water, just a series of rocks we had to leap across. Some were stable, some were not. We did well for about 90% of the rocks, but in the end our shoes went in and our feet got wet. Not long after this, we ended up at a construction sight that was definitely not passable. Checking our GPS location, we discovered that we were well and truly off the main path. Back we went, over the river where our shoes became drenched again, then up the hill to the clear sign pointing the right way. This time we were given a bridge to cross the water.
From the river, a set of steep stairs carried us up to Ringmu, where we found plenty of other hikers eating lunch out in the sun. This seemed like a good idea to us, so we joined them and chatted to a few others about their journeys so far.