Day 74: Meet our new team member - Curly the Tibetan Mastiff

Posted on 10 May 2017

Kharka Camp 2782m

Happy DinnerOn our departure from Bagam it appeared we had gained a "camp follower"...a slightly timid Tibetan Mastiff that was being fed a few scraps by our kitchen crew and consequently thought he'd found a meal ticket and good company to tag along with. After discussing a few potential names we settled on "Curly" due to the way he held his tail.

The day found us crossing wooded ridges shrouded with mist, dropping into a valley then climbing up to a Kharka that was to be our campsite for the night. The only snag was that there were a couple of Nepali families living on the Kharka and one had a much larger dog which didn't take kindly to another canine interloper and something of a dogfight/chase ensued, despite our best efforts to dissuade Curly's aggressor (much verbal encouragement and a single well placed missile), it concluded with poor old Curly having to beat a hasty retreat with his tail curled firmly between his legs. Fortunately, the other dog's owner appeared and took his dog back to their home, leaving Curly to perch himself on a high point of our camp and be out guard for the night.

About to leave Ambakharka - above Nyasim KholaWe had some rain and thunder overnight and awoke to more slightly distant rumbles but gratefully it remained dry. We had a short  days walk through a couple of villages and settled on a campsite on a spur of land with fantastic views up several valleys, but the photo opportunities were thwarted later by mist rolling in and covering the forested ridges.

This morning we rose early with a tough day ahead of us, descended down a wooded valley then commenced the first of two stiff climbs that would finish with us ascending more than 1350 m on our way to Panch Pokhari (where we merge with the Stage 4 group) to our overnight camp overlooking the valley we have just climbed out of, a tough day for everyone.

At these relatively low altitudes (<3,000m) we have to be on constant "leech alert" and in wetter areas you see the little parasites waving around off leaves and tree roots ready to hitch a ride on your boots as the first step to the blood supply in your calf muscle and the tenacious little beggars don't let go when they're latched onto boot leather without some significant physical persuasion or the chemical deterrent of choice (salt).

Ian, Martin, Matt & TL. Juddha Rai.

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