forest to Deng Khola and into the non-descript Deng settlement itself. (B,L,D)
Day 7: To Namrung
(O/nt Altitude 2,540m/6.5 hrs approx.) Leaving Deng we again use the course of the Budhi Gandaki, recrossing the river and following an uphill trail to Rana, before zigzagging past the little monastery (gompa) of Shringi and the religious motifs carved on mani walls by the Shringi Khola suspension bridge, to Ghap – a pleasant lunch stop. Until today our route has been persistently due North but in the course of this morning we, as well as the river, have veered to the West.
Cutting across fields we enter a dense mixed forest of conifers and juniper with birdlife and monkeys. The trail holds its height above the river…another waterfall and another serious climb through woods to finally reach Namrung. (B,L,D)
Day 8: To Lho
(O/night Altitude 3,020m/4.5 hrs approx.) There is a marked sense of Tibetan influence with closely packed stone houses standing together like apartments and sharing a common flat roof and courtyard.
Manaslu and Himal Chuli dominate the entire landscape. Further on, across the glacier-fed Numla Khola the valley drops away to a moraine while we follow the ancient trans-Himalayan trail now just a very few kilometers from Tibet. We then arrive in one of the region’s classic lama settlements with monastery and mani walls and all things totally Tibetan. This is Samagaon. (B,L,D)
Day 10: In Samagaon/ Sama Gompa
(Altitude 3,390m) Rest and acclimatisation day. An optional hike to Pung-gyen Gompa can be made or the day can be spent immersing oneself in the daily life of Sama Gompa. (B,L,D)
Day 11: To Samdo
(O/nt Altitude 3,690m/3 hrs approx.) Passing by the foot of the great, white slide that is the Manaslu Glacier we pass the trail that branches off to Manaslu Base Camp. Our path enters a woodland replete with birch, juniper and rhododendron, heavy with moss and lichen, before a final upwards push brings us to Samdo. The village has a well-established Tibetan refugee community – no wonder with Tibet being a mere morning’s walk away. (B,L,D)