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, with some 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 : 1700 m) 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.

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, which would bring the words of Alfred Russel Wallace to mind:

"Their strength, lightness, smoothness, straightness, roundness, and hollowness,--the facility and regularity with which they can be split,--their different sizes, the varied distance of their joints, the ease with which they can be cut, and with which holes can be made in them,--their hardness outside, their freedom from any taste or smell, their great abundance, and the facility with which they are propagated,--all make them fitted for a hundred different purposes, to serve which other materials would require much labour and preparation. They are at once the most wonderful and the most beautiful production of the tropics..."

Alfred Russel Wallace

The mist was so heavy that it seemed that now that my sense of sight had been suppressed, my hearing was compensating, as the violent sounds of the river next to us seemed incredibly loud. The views of the valley in the distance also 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 (Cirsium verutum) trail continued to zig-zag up the slopes and the sounds of the mighty river began to fade. We walked right past 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 was a waterfall that plunged into the river below.

Tunnels of bamboo (Tribe : Bambuseae)

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

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