Day 146: We've reached Hilsa

Posted on 21 Jul 2017

We write from our springboard camp having just returned from Hilsa - Yeehaa!!

Returning to our usual chronological format however, we left our camp at Dharapuri, still somewhat under the weather with unresolved gastric issues and plodded steadily up the path along the valley side. We were met later by a pair of stunning waterfalls just adjacent to the footpath followed by an interesting section of diverted path around an area of rockfall. Later on we stopped by a lodge for lunch where depleted appetites meant little of the food prepared for us was eaten. At this point it was becoming clear that the antibiotics we had been taking to fight the "bug" weren't making much impression. Ian was swapped onto an anti protozoal (anti parasitic??) drug and within a couple of hours was seeing an improvement (and being less of a grumpy old man) so that evening Matt changed to the same medication and started to convert some of his more orally aromatic symptoms to where such emissions should originate. We camped that night by a lovely clear river with less interrupted sleep patterns.

Next morning we followed the track through pine forest parallel to the river and eventually passed through a couple of small villages with increasing Tibetan influence then bumped into two Nepali TV guys filming on the trail. Shortly afterwards we stopped for lunch by the river, later crossing it on a somewhat rickety suspension bridge then passed by a village called Muchu then dropping down to our nights campsite just past a local traders warehousing area where goods were transferred from vehicle to pony trains. The site was by a local house and Matt and I had a can of Lhasa whilst awaiting our ponies and their loads. That night the local dog population were on annoyingly fine vocal form testing even the patience of a dog lover. Why they seem to sleep all day then come alive at night is still a mystery to me.

Next morning we climbed away from our site, reaching a section of track which we followed until mid afternoon arriving at our current location. That night we shared the spot with several herds of goats and (in the early morning) their excessively vocal herders as they "upped sticks" and moved on with their nomadic existence.

After breakfast, the big day had finally arrived, we were heading out to Hilsa via the Nara-La pass (a mere 500m or so climb) then a 800m descent down dirt road to the border metropolis we anticipated. When we first caught sight of the place it was clear our expectations were misplaced, but it was still and far more importantly the end point of our Himalayan odyssey and we could almost taste the celebratory can of Lhasa beer we would shortly consume. Once down in the village we were told of a landslide that had wiped out a number of dwellings and families, it just shows again how tenuous life can be out here. We had a walk across the river bridge that is effectively the Tibet/Nepal border and witnessed the huge white elephant that is the Chinese border post/immigration buildings complete with hydro electric power plant, and all this for a minor border crossing point not even a highway on the Nepali side.

We had a lunch of noodle soup with the hospitality of a local family in their house and relaxed a little while before returning to our camp.

It still hasn't really sunk in with us that we reached Hilsa and within a week or so we will be back in our home country. 

Ian, Matt, Bikash TL 

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