Day 15: Kalopani to Tatopani (altitude 1190m)
I woke up with achey legs this morning after yesterday’s long hike, but feeling good and ready for another long day today. We had breakfast (pancakes with honey) and set off. We spent pretty much the whole day on side trails today, and didn’t really see the road at all, which was great. We detoured through some really nice little villages and managed to give out a lot more of our pens to the little kids, who always asked for sweets and always looked a bit disappointed with pens!
We were walking through really lush forests of pine and bamboo for a while, and we came across a big family of monkeys, a few large parent ones and lots of little baby monkeys. We tried to take pictures and videos of them but they were too quick. I’m not sure what type of monkeys they were, they had grey/white fur and little black faces, with long tails, and the babies were tiny, like the size of a kitten. There were white butterflies everywhere too, big flocks (is it a flock of butterflies?!) of them and every time we turned a corner or came into a clearing they all took off, it was quite an impressive sight!
A downside to being on deserted side trails was that there weren’t any restaurants or lodges along the way, so we didn’t find anywhere for lunch, instead we stopped at little tea stalls every few hours and had hot sweet tea and cookies, which kept us going just fine. Around lunchtime it started to cloud over and pretty soon it started to drizzle. We heard thunder and lightning, and luckily came to a small village just as it started to really come down. We sat under a porch of a little house while the man who lived there made us some tea, and we waited there until the storm passed.
The rest of the afternoon there were a few showers, but we got to Tatopani around 4:30pm, mostly dry, and found a really good hotel for a great price. Simon ate here last time he was here and he said the food is really good. We got a room out in the garden at the back, there are lots of small huts in a semi-landscaped garden, right next to the river. It’s a big room, with three beds and an ensuite, and there are fruit trees all around us, for 100 rupees per night each (70p!)
We were glad to stop, after walking over 40km in two days my feet were beginning to hurt, and it will be good to have a rest day tomorrow and let my legs/feet/shoulders recover! We had a good dinner, both ate quite a lot to make up for no lunch, and had a beer, which was nice, but expensive, and then went to the shop to get some snacks and a more detailed map for our last bit of trekking. Most people stop here or in the next town and get a jeep or bus back to Pokhara, but were going to walk as far as we can, so needed a good map that shows all the smaller trails. We found one, and it looks like we can walk back to within about 3 or 4 km of Pokhara itself before we hit the highway and will have to get a bus for the last little bit. Should be a good adventure though, don’t think we’ll see many hikers for those last few days…
I’m back in the room now, eating biscuits and writing this while listening to the sound of the river rapids outside. It’s a different river that were following now as were headed back down south, but it looks and sounds exactly the same as the one we followed from the beginning up to the pass. It’s quite a relaxing sound, and After two long days hiking I have the feeling I’m going to sleep well tonight!