Day 142: a bit of gastro and a lot of rain

Posted on 17 Jul 2017

We left Piplan via a long climb up through a few small settlements with a brief break at the top next to a house where a man was in the process of loading an old muzzle loading rifle - bizarre! We then contoured  round a couple of ridges, which were much further away an they first appeared and eventually commenced our climb to what was to be our campsite for the night. There was a little lack of clarity as to where the campsite was located, but it turned out to be on the top of the third ridge, this resulted in a total of 1700m ascent in the day, made several times more difficult/unpleasant by the untimely commencement of heavy rain which lasted all the way to the campsite. Fortunately it stopped in time to pitch the tents and organise dinner for the evening. The next morning was a damp start following a track through the woods which contoured around several ridges gradually losing altitude until we crossed the river on  suspension bridge then commenced the climb through an overgrown footpath to a campsite located just above a local residence and adjacent to a stream.

The next morning we commenced our 1,000m climb (again) through the woods then into the open from where we could see the pass (another 500m ascent still) and plodded up to the high point at around 4,000m altitude (spotting a large eagle/vulture perched on a small outcrop near us) and followed the path along the ridge the down through woodland to our campsite for the night. This spot was again notable for it's need of a little grounds maintenance with 1m high dock weeds that needed trampling to make pitches for the tents. The site did however redeem itself with some sunshine for most of the afternoon. We did however have an unexpected visitor to the mess tent in the form of a large brown/black pig snuffling around which we later found originated from the nearby dwelling and had a couple of piglets (how long is it since we've had bacon???) Leaving the camp in the morning we passed the piggies in their sty and followed a path gradually descending along the valley side through a few small settlements eventually arriving at a bridge over the river after crossing which we had our usual al-fresco lunch the lead-in to which was Matt and Ian trying to reduce the local fly population in the most gratuitous manner possible. After lunch the temperature and humidity rose and we faced another 1,000m ascent up a track to the town of Simikot with its airstrip. We followed our ponies to our home for the night which was a pleasant homestay in a local house with beds for the night (a very nice novelty!). We were to say goodbye to our ponies and their leader who had done a sterling job of load carrying along the past two stages.

The following morning it was raining heavily and our start was delayed until late morning when the rain had subsided. We climbed he track out of the town stopping  to watch aircraft landing and departing (this would be us soon!) and then commenced a 700m descent towards the river and followed the path along the valley. Unfortunately by this time Ian and Matt plus some of the crew were having "gastric issues" which have subsequently been seen to be somewhat resistant to the normal antibiotics. This has resulted in an unplanned "rest day" at a pleasant campsite at Dharapuri where we await a resolution to these issues.

Just four more  days until our arrival at Hilsa on the far western border with Tibet.

Ian, Matt, Bikash (TL)

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