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ACT Day 03 - Tal to Danakyu

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The Valley


It was drizzling incessantly that morning, so we attempted to wait it out by taking our time over breakfast (which was Tibetan bread with honey, NPR260/2). By 09:00, the rain had yet to let up, and we knew that we could not really wait any longer. We began by walking up the 'alley' that was basically the entire hamlet of Tal (elevation : 1700m) and noticed then that most of the guesthouses that flanked us advertised attached bathrooms, which was quite a luxury in this region. The mist had descended and had completely engulfed the hamlet, and once again left everything blanketed in a whiteout. Even the Tal waterfall could only be heard. Before we left the hamlet altogether, we decided to stop by one of the stores that sold sundries, and stocked up on a box of water treatment tablets (sodium dichloroisocyanurate) and 10 plasters, which cost NPR350 and NPR50 respectively.

hobbit-like dwelling

A hobbit-like dwelling on the outskirts of Tal

The alleyway continued on out of the village and past large cornfields (Zea mays) before merging back with the path. The path followed the edges of the cliff and along very slippery hewn rocks and through bamboo (Tribe: Bambuseae) forests. The heavy mist would lift on occasion and would reveal the silhouettes of bamboo shoots that made up the dense forests that covered the slopes on the other side of the river too. The mist was so heavy that it seemed that now that my sense of sight had been suppressed, my hearing was compensating: the violent sounds of the river next to us seemed incredibly loud.

rushing river to Danakyu

The views of the valley in the distance fixated my gaze: the slopes on either side fell sheer, their soft carpet of plants hiding the hard rocks underneath, and the low mist obscured everything above; both drawing my eyes down and over to the churning water below. The combination was somewhat entrancing, and brought about an air of mystery. The thistle-lined (Cousinia sp.) trail continued to zig-zag up the slopes and the sounds of the mighty river began to fade. We walked right passed a waterfall, the water of which helped to blend the excrement of various ruminants with the mud beneath our feet. From there on, every few hundred metres we saw a waterfall plunging into the river below.

bamboo on the way to Danakyu

Tunnels of bamboo (Tribe: Bambuseae)

Next (Day 3) : Tal to Danakyu (Part 2)

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Butterflies


The trail eventually began to drop back down to the level of the river, and the roar of the mighty Marsyangdi grew louder and louder the closer we got. We came upon the 'garden' village of Karte (elevation : 1850m) not too long after (at the 7.3km mark), and made our way past numerous flowers that fringed the walkway that went straight through the village. Butterflies were ubiquitous here, surely attracted by the presence of all the flowers, with types that ranged from swallowtails (Family: Papilionidae) such as the common windmill, to gossamer-wings (Family: Lycaenidae) such as the plain hedge blue. I kept a lookout for some Lycaenid larvae as I walked, as some species have been found to be protected by ants whilst they feed, and in return provide the ants with honeydew that is produced from glands in their skin.

butterflies

Common windmill (Byasa polyeuctes)

butterflies

A plain hedge blue (Celastrina lavendularis) perched on a flower; a congregation of snails (Class: Gastropoda)

Not too long after, we crossed the roiling river over a suspension bridge that was built right next to the old one. The old bridge was dilapidated and beyond repair: the suspension cables were still strung across the river, but the deck itself had almost completely disappeared. The long town of Dharapani (elevation : 1880m) lay right after the bridge. The town was split into several sections, with each part separated by fields. Just when we thought we had reached the end of the town, another section revealed itself. The first ACAP/TIMS checkpoint that we came across the entire trek was located here. We stopped there for a while to get the permits checked, and then proceeded to walk straight out of town. We then found a nice clearing and began to cook lunch.

Dharapani old bridge

The old dilapidated bridge

We continued on after our one-hour-long lunchbreak and reached a church called 'Golden Gate Church'. The church was right next to the turnoff for the 40-minute walk to Odar , and the viewpoints of 'Namrucho' and 'Chorten Pro'. When we saw the turnoff, we realised that we had missed the bridge that leads to Bimtang, which happens to also be in the same direction as that of the Manaslu Circuit. Instead of continuing on to the Manaslu Circuit however, we would have turned left directly after the suspension bridge and towards the Nyngma Gompa instead. This route was the recommended NATT route, but by then we had gone too far to turn back.

scenery around Dharapani

Next (Day 3) : Tal to Danakyu (Part 3)

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Annapurna Hotel


We reached the town of Bagarchap (elevation : 2160m) not too long after. We continued right through Bagarchap, but along the road after the town (15.5 km mark), we spotted another red & white marker that followed a right branch off of the main road. We followed the NATT route which brought us to a rope bridge, but the locals that were also heading in that direction told us that the path led to Timang (elevation : 2650m). We had passed a few other trekkers on the road earlier on, so were eager to stop at Danakyu (elevation : 2250m) instead of Timang. That way there would be more room to negotiate with the owners of the guesthouses as well as no 'chatter' from other trekkers. So we climbed back up to the building above the trail, which was a settlement that was apparently called Quiche, and continued following the road to Danakyu.

shrines

We reached Danakyu shortly after, and found the guesthouse that was called 'Annapurna Hotel' to be perfect. The hosts went out of their way to make sure that we were happy: there was no room charge once again, and there was free hot water, electricity and excellent dhal bhat (NPR470) that also included doubled up papad and some scrambled eggs. No one else was around, so that night was the fourth night where we had the entire place to ourselves!

prayer flags

Suunto Movescount Stats

04a

04b

The full page of the recorded trek can be found on my Movescount Page.

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device and would like to use the move
as a route, please click on the following link for the route:

Check the route in

Expenditure

End of Day 3 Expenditure (NPR)*

Accommodation: 0

Medication: 400

Permits: 0

Food: 600

Transport: 0

TOTAL (NPR)


* Excluding the cost of the flights to and from Nepal

Total

: 785

: 435

: 8700

: 2910

: 460

: 13290 

Next (Day 4) : Danakyu to Thanchok

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