ABC Day 10 - Chomrong to Nayapul

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Final Descent

My pace was slow as I left Chomrong (elevation : 2170 m) that morning down the zig-zagging stairwell. I had begun to feel the first aches of the trip, as the rapid 2000 metres descent the day before had proved to be a bit of an ordeal for my knees. It was a gorgeous morning however--the skies were perfectly clear, the light of the early morning was still soft, and it was neither too hot nor too cold. Birds were twittering whilst flitting from tree to tree, and the magnificent mountain views of Annapurna South (elevation : 7219 m) and Hiunchuli (elevation : 6441 m) topped it all off both literally and figuratively. It was my last day on the range so I tried to soak in as much as I could, so speed was the last thing on my mind.

I was alone for quite a while at first, at least until the trekker 'conveyor belt' started up. Trekker after trekker began passing me, but all of them seemed to be heading up from Jhinnu Danda instead. I seemed to be the only one descending, aside from the friendly fluffy dogs that would follow me for a while, the same type of dogs that each guesthouse seemed to have.

I reached Jhinnu Danda (elevation : 1750 m) at 08:40. The decent had taken less than an hour which included the time taken for my fairly prolonged coffee stops. From there, the stairwell swerved right, and towards the sound of rushing water. There were sections here that were lush with greenery and that reminded me of some of the trails in Malaysia. Tightly coiled fiddle-heads of ferns lined the sides and tiny waterfalls and rivulets ran down the cliff and over the trail, leaving it fairly muddy in sections. The sides of the cliff were festooned with the tunnel-like dens of funnel-web spiders (Hippasa sp.), and the natural stealth that comes with solo hiking allowed me to catch several Kashmir rock agamas (Laudakia tuberculata) off-guard as they basked in the warm sunlight.

Kashmir rock agama (Laudakia tuberculata)

Funnel-web spider (Hippasa sp.)

The stairs veered left, still descending albeit much less steep than before. It eventually met with a rickety old bridge that crossed the Kimrong Khola. I crossed the bridge very slowly, and tested my weight with each and every step. In hindsight, it was most likely not the right bridge to cross, so it might be best if you look around for an alternative bridge if you do attempt to retrace my steps. The bridge that I crossed brought me to another set of stairs that was very overgrown, and that eventually led up to the village of Samrong (elevation : 1640 m).

Crossing the Kimrong Khola

The trail traced the sides of the hill as it continued onwards, and ran parallel to the thundering Modi Khola way down below. It made its way to a junction just under 4 kilometres in, where the left branch met the long rope bridge and the village of Landruk on the other side of the Modi Khola, and the right branch led to the village of Siwai. I took the latter.

I seemed to be completely alone on this part of the trail. This section was also completely filled with spiders of all sorts, so being alone with no distractions whatsoever allowed me to stop and inspect each one that I came across. My obsessive fascination with spiders ensured that I could not walk a few metres without having to stop once again.

Next (Day 10) : Chomrong to Nayapul (Part 2)
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