130 Photos - Dec 3, 2012
Photo: Rice fields near the start at Arughat (590m) in the Budhi Gandaki (River)Photo: Working life starts young.  For those lucky enough to go to school there are still long hours of choresPhoto: This is Gorka province - home of the Gurka regiments  (and fine beer)Photo: Hot work on easy sidle tracks in the lower reaches of the Budhi GandakiPhoto: As the gorge narrows the track follows small ledges, sometimes with steep blasted sections between themPhoto: Winter (dry season) bridges over side creeks save climbs to suspension bridgesPhoto: Monsoon rockfall damage to bridges.  Holes in the decking and cut main cablesPhoto: Our porter with personal gear for 2 and 6 days food for 4Photo: Mules (sterile cross between donkeys and horses) are common at lower altlitude.Photo: A windfall tree has been pitsawnPhoto: Making Rakshi (barley based whiskey)Photo: The winter (dry season) shortcut is not suitable for pack animalsPhoto: Lots of these lizards - 10-15cm longPhoto: A wide part of the valley before the gorges.Photo: Long sections of the trail are blasted out of the rock. With no guard rails and big dropsstand to the wall for mule and yak trainsPhoto: First glimpses of mountains.  On a good day the mountains are impressive from Kathmandu, but it is usually a couple of days into the trek before you clear the smogPhoto: Photo: Lokpa 8 beds - 40 guests.  Many os and ms.Photo: Shringi HimalPhoto: Excellent trail to Chhokung, with cystal clear airPhoto: Ploughing with ox in the lower Tsum (Rainjam).Photo: Washing clothes and faces is never a priority in the Tsum.Photo: Early morning above RainjamPhoto: Our kitchen in RainjamPhoto: Grinding wheat or Barley in Rainjam with a water powered millPhoto: The mill and old mill stonesPhoto: GaneshPhoto: The trail climbs steply above Rainjam and gradually opens upPhoto: Smow capped peaks on all sides as we climb to ChhokungPhoto: Entrance to ChhokungPhoto: Chhokung -more homestay than hotelPhoto: From tea-house in ChhokungPhoto: Photo: Yak dung is iportant fuel (it doesn't smell that much on the fire and the warmth is appreciated)Photo: Ganesh HimalPhoto: Looking down the Tsum from NakyuPhoto: 1 in 5 children in the valley die before they are 5.Photo: Kaani (Chorten gate) on trailPhoto: Cantilever bridge on upper Syar KholaPhoto: Upper Tsum looking North - Otago's Maniatoto at 3,400m?Photo: Photo: Yak cros breed plowing at Nile 3,400mPhoto: Nile homestayPhoto: Nile village looking Southto GaneshPhoto: Mu GompaPhoto: Mu Gompa 3,700mPhoto: Above Mu GompaPhoto: Looking down the upper TsumPhoto: Ganesh Himal from near LamagaonPhoto: These cantilever bridges are being replaced quickly with suspension bridgesPhoto: Yak herders cave on way to gumba LangdangPhoto: Forest on track to Gumba LangdangPhoto: Photo: After a few bridges they are hands free crossingsPhoto: Photo: The harder rock of this region means the relief on the carvings is shallow - but detail greaterPhoto: Cantilever bridge in good conditionPhoto: Langur monkeys - part of one of about 5 troops we sawPhoto: Bridge upgrade program - many briges built 2011-12, more part builPhoto: Above average Tea House room on Manaslu CircuitPhoto: Harvesting wheatPhoto: The Budhi Gandaki enters a gorge.  The occassional villages are set on small ledges like this, but mostly the track is in forest with the thundering river far below.Photo: Photo: Barley harvest - the heads are stripped off between parallel sticks.Photo: Photo: WinnowingPhoto: Barley straw is vital yak fodder for winterPhoto: Photo: 4 months work in really bad lightPhoto: Manaslu Peak behind Lho GhombaPhoto: Manaslu dominates view from Lho to SamagaonPhoto: Yak length hair - but horns may indicate Nak (female)Photo: Lho.  Route to Punggen Glacier is through slash in foreground foothills. Manaslu behindPhoto: Punggen Valley - the most worthwhile side tripPhoto: Manaslu from Punggen ValleyPhoto: Photo: Punggen Glacier drains the N face of ManasluPhoto: Terminal lake on PunggenPhoto: SamagaonPhoto: Autumn is firewood collection seasonPhoto: Yak train in SamaPhoto: Photo: Manaslu and Manaslu Glacier from SamagaonPhoto: Photo: Manaslu IcefallPhoto: Looking SE from Manaslu Base CampPhoto: On the way to Manaslu Base camp.  Manaslu Icefall in foregroundPhoto: Base Camp ManasluPhoto: Looking down the Budhi Gandaki from Manaslu BC trailPhoto: Photo: SamdoPhoto: Photo: Photo: Syachi Glacier and Manaslu NorthPhoto: TharPhoto: Dharamsala army tentsPhoto: Dharamsala before the next 25 tents went upPhoto: Photo: In the event of severe AMS or (in this case) severe stomach failure - a horse can be hired.  Riding confidence a big bonus.Photo: Lakya La - a moraine ramblePhoto: Looking N from Lakya LaPhoto: Looking back down the moraine from Lakya LaPhoto: Frozen semi lake near Lakya LaPhoto: The pass has two high points with flags - about 500m apart on the morainePhoto: Fine but cold at Lakya La 5,100mPhoto: The view over the pass - so many more mountainsPhoto: The three glaciers in three valleysPhoto: At last the descent eases to only steepPhoto: Bimtang and PhungiPhoto: Bhimdang GlacierPhoto: Photo: Our 4th or 5th troup of LangursPhoto: The bush below Bimtang was too pretty to run throughPhoto: Trail from Bimtang to SutiPhoto: Photo: Photo: Mule trains on road.  This was once the Annapurna CircuitPhoto: The new road to Manang - Incredible use of dynamitePhoto: But no budget for bridges or drains - imagine the monsoonPhoto: The new porters lacked much staminaPhoto: Probarb, Soman Aster - our very capable portersPhoto: The main highway through JagatPhoto: Good AdvicePhoto: Not a good way to travelPhoto: Rice harvestPhoto: Harvest near BahundandiPhoto: Threshing rice - really hard workPhoto: End of Manaslu/Start of AnnapurnaPhoto: Swing for Daisan festivalPhoto: The end of 23 amazing days