September 18, 2008:
Upper Mustang:
Trek from Kagbeni (2,810 m) to Chele (3,050 m)
Got up at 6 am and packed my stuff. We had breakfast at 7 am, I had my oat porridge again with apples.
We were sitting around the breakfast table and were all wondering what the next few days would bring.
As there are usually only camping treks into Mustang, we were a little worried about finding
accomodation and food. We left Kagbeni around 8:30 am. Right away a steep climb up the cliffs on the
right (eastern) side of the gorge. From up there we had a great view back to Kagbeni.
The trail went at times along the side of the valley and at times in the riverbed. I preferred the riverbed as
then I did not have to hike up and down all the time. On the way, we came upon a couple of groups which
we were going to see lots of in the next few days, an Austrian group and a German group.
At 11 am, we were standing atop and on the other side of Tangbe, our first real Mustang village. To get
there, we had to go steeply down a valley and then, more gently, up on the other side. Tangbe seemed to
be uninhabited when we went through. More ups and downs followed and then we came upon Chhusang
where we had lunch at the Shangri-La Restaurant. I ate spaghetti with tomato sauce. It took a long time.
Around 2:30 we left for Chele. Through a riverbed and then on the side of the valley until we were at the
bridge at the bottom of Chele. On the way, great views of the erosion which has taken place here in this
valley mainly caused by the wind.
We crossed the bridge over the Kali Gandaki River. Here, part of the river ran through a rock tunnel. The
last climb up to Chele was steep but we finally got there at 4 pm. We got rooms in one of the lodges
which opened out onto the rooftop from where there were great views.
My room actually had 3 beds in it and the guys
slept in the adjacent room through which I had to
go through to get to my room. After resting for a
while I went downstairs to the dining room. Here,
the Germans had already set up shop. Although
they were camping outside in one of the yards,
they had dinner in the dining hall and were using
the lodges' facilities. They were from Hauser
Excursions, a company which became famous
because of the terrible accident at Lukla three
weeks later. I talked to several of them for quite a
while. Suzi came down as well for dinner. I had
spaghetti again. Gyan put a little too much yak
cheese on it for my liking. Went upstairs around
8:30 pm, listened to my i-pod for a while and fell
asleep soon. Of course, a dog had to bark for
quite some time keeping people awake on and off.
But finally it was quiet and I slept until about 5 am.
Entrance to Tangbe
Chele on top of bluff