Fly to: Kathmandu, Nepal
Internal Transfer: 2 flights to Nepalgunj 1hr & Simikot 50mins
Visa required: Yes if British plus a remote access trek permit
Time Zone:+5hrs45mins GMT
Day 7, 16/06/10: Humla & Limi Valley
Happy Birthday me! I awoke this morning feeling much better, last night I'd mixed some re-hydration powders and this seemed to be doing the trick. With my head cleared I was now able to appreciate the scenery I'd missed yesterday. Beautifully cultivated green terraces lined the valley walls & spectacular rock pinnacles rose up vertically from the gorge below.
Assisting us out here is possibly the world's cutest little mule, grey in colour and quite rotund this little mule has the most incredible flatulence problem. Apparently on a previous outing a tourist had bet $20 that the mule (known locally as short nose) wouldn't be able to fart for 10mins. The muleteer armed with a feed mix of lentils, dahl and chang simply fed the animal, stood back and 10mins later he was $20 richer.
As we continued on our route up the valley we came across a nomad tribe living at the foot of a pine forest. The children here were sick suffering from gastric problems as well as some sort of fungal infection covering their faces. It would seem that as a white woman travelling in this region one automatically assumes the role of medicine woman or healer; which is fine in the few instances where I could actually offer advice & assistance but those instances were too few and far between and on numerous occasions we were confronted with conditions far beyond our medical capabilities.
Today was sheer agony, the route seemed to go continuously up and down, my pace was excruciatingly slow and at times I think I may have even been going backwards. It's amazing how much extra effort is required from a small hike in altitude. By the time we had reached tonight's camp spot the weather had changed. We were camping at the foot of a huge and eerily jagged dark mountain, here an icy chill filled the air. The wind howled down the valley, mist plummeted down the rocks and the rain lashed at us, I was just glad they pitched the toilet tent first as I was now desperate.
Still not feeling 100% I stayed tucked up in my tent as the rain lashed down outside, it's hard to believe but in the space of two days I've been the hottest I've ever been & now I'd say I'm pretty damn cold. With that thought there was a knock on the tent and crouched in the doorway, holding the birthday cake they'd made was Chhewang and Procras. It was such a lovely gesture and to have a birthday cake out here in the middle of the hidden Himalayas was something truly special - it also tasted flippin good! Chhewang also gave me a painting by his cousin of Mt Kailash; a truly wonderful memento of my birthday & something I will cherish dearly.