Day 4: To Ghemi
(O/nt Altitude 3,510m/4hrs approx.)
One of highest points of our expedition is the Nyi La (4,020m), which we reach today, has 360 degree panoramic views, away to the Tibetan plateau and South to the Annapurnas. Off the pass now, we reach Ghemi, a large settlement distinguished by scores of white-washed houses and surrounded by cultivated, walled fields.
Day 5: To Charang
(O/nt Altitude 3,560m/4hrs approx.)
One of today’s feature is the broad alluvial plain but there is also now a remarkable sight before us which claims the longest prayer wall in Nepal; more than 400m long and about 2.5 m tall. The trail climbs to traverse the Choya La pass (3,870m) and from here, the descent brings us to the fields and village of Charang.
Day 6: To Lo Manthang
(O/nt Altitude 3,840m/4.5 hrs approx.)
It is not actually the valley of the Kali Gandaki that we have followed – or will follow today – but a series of tributary valleys both sharing our path and crossing it. These account for the several passes that we cross but means we have avoided the geological chaos of all the torrential tributaries as they blunder into the Kali Gandaki. Around us now is barren yet stunning landscape, intense and colourful none-the-less; its desert-like features belie its simple riches. A short descent from Lo, then on upwards onto a plateau arriving at the walled city of Lo Manthang.
Days 7-8: In Lo Manthang
There are around 150 houses clustered in close proximity in this ‘city’ settlement. The doors of most houses open onto a two storey central courtyard with ground level generally used as storage space. A wooden staircase leads to the upper storey, which characteristically has a veranda overlooking the courtyard with doors leading off to living rooms and kitchen. The all important sunshine means most life is out-of-doors, so opportunities to glimpse typical domestic scenes.
There are four Buddhist gompas within the walls: Jampa Lhakang, Thubchen , Chodey and Choprang; each one of different interest and each one dimly lit by row upon row of butter lamps.
An incongruous four-storey building, the king’s palace, is in the centre. Though only ceremonial, the king is still well-respected and consulted on many issues.
Two days are set aside around this most atmospheric place and for savouring the breathtaking mountain views.
Day 9: to Dhakmar
(O/nt Altitude 3,820m/6hrs approx.) To date the sun has always been at our back but from today it will travel across our horizon. We may opt for a different, more westerly, route on the return journey via the Marang La (4,230m) and using it to include a visit to the monastery at Lo Gekar. Surrounded by grassy pastures the gompa is decorated with paintings and statues and numerous large prayer wheels. It’s a lively place, busy with monks and pilgrims.
Next is the Mui La, and alpine meadows give way to fluted red and purple cliffs leading us to Dhakmar
Day 10-13: to Ghiling
(O/nt Altitude 3,570m/5.5hrs approx.),
(O/nt Altitude 3,050m/6 hrs approx.),
(O/nt Altitude 2800m/4hrs approx.) and
(O/nt Altitude 2760m/3hrs approx.) This is familiar territory, retracing our route to Jomsom. Although to make it more interesting for you- we turn off the now familiar trail to take a new route from Jhaite, passing via Ghemi, to the village of Ghiling (3570m). We emerge on to the mainstream trail the following day at Syangboche, making our two night stops at Chele and Kagbeni, reaching Jomson on our 13th day.
Day 14: Fly to Pokhara (25mins) A morning flight back to Pokhara, where we are soon back at our Base Camp. End of Expedition. Final celebratory dinner in the evening. (D)
MEAL CODES: (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)