We spent days 39-48 walking in the wrong direction on The Tamang Heritage Trail and in Langtang Valley, waiting for the snow to melt before we could again attempt the passes to cross The Ruby Valley. The hiking days were relatively short and had smaller elevation changes compared to our days on the GHT, so it felt a bit like a mini break. Lodges were plentiful, and well equipped. We ate well, slept well, showered well, and rested well. We walked the majority of this section with the friends we’d made in Gatlang: Agata, an incredibly fit 68 year old British-Australian man, who must’ve been a mountain goat in former life; Marita and Nicola, two teachers from Geelong who ended up being known as ‘slowly’ and ‘slowly’ due to the helpful advice they constantly received from locals; and Marita and Nicola’s friendly and knowledgeable guide Prem (firstname.lastname@example.org), who always had a beaming smile and a story to tell.
Stories and photos from the Tamang Heritage Trail and Langtang Valley
Day 39: Gatlang to Tatopani
Looking over Gatlang in the morning sun:
Langtang smoking in the distance as we headed down the valley:
Tatopani or ‘hot water’ used to be the site of some popular hot springs, which sadly dried up after the 2015 earthquake.As we reached Tatopani we got pounced on by a gang of little girls, the eldest Prabeena, 12yrs, took us to Hotel Pilgrims, a lodge owned by her family – but Prabeena basically ran the place. Prabeena had incredibly good English, and she knew it. She oozed confidence and strutted around the place, making sure everything was in order. After dinner Prem asked Prabeena to tell a story. She took the stage and proceeded to go on a 15 minute non stop spiel describing the town’s history and gossip. She barely took a breath. It took intense concentration to keep up with the turn of events, something that did not come easily after a days hiking.
The only time we ever saw Prabeena being shy: in front of the camera:
Day 40: Tatopani to Nagthali
This was a dreamy day: only two hours hiking, with awesome views, a relatively flat trail, and a one hour tea break.
Beautiful morning mountain views in Tatopani:
Beautiful views en route to Nagthali:
Views from Nagthali:
That night we had yak curry for dinner which tasted a bit like beef with a dash of smelly foot. I was starving and my body seemed to be craving red meat so I had three serves whilst the others politely poked the meat around their plate.
Day 41: Nagthali – Nagthali viewpoint – Thuman
Before heading to Thuman we went up to a viewpoint (3720m) which offered views of countless peaks in Tibet, the Ganesh and Langtang Himals.
Views at the top:
Leaping above the peaks:
Day 42: Thuman to Briddim
Nicola and Marita at the Thuman lodge:
A sketchy suspension bridge at the bottom of the valley, which had been damaged on the far side by a landslide and patched up with stone, corrugated roofing, and bits of wood. Luckily a French tour group was ahead of us and tested it out before we had to:
Day 43: Briddim to Sherpagaon
Entering the Langtang Valley:
Marita cutting my overgrown mop in Sherpagaon. Despite my worried face it turned out suprisingly well!
Day 44: Sherpagaon to Gordatabela
The gang, from left: me, Marita, Agata, our friendly lodge owner, Prem, Ronnie, Nicola, the lodge owner’s relative.
Heading up the valley:
Day 45: Gordatabela to Kyangin Gompa (3800m)
Porters coming down the valley:
As we continued on up we got stuck behind donkey train after donkey train carrying supplies up the valley, who farted their way along in front of us throwing wafts of noxious gases our way. This dude was on his morning tea break and seemed to be having a particularly bad hair day:
The 2015 earthquake caused a massive landslide in the Langtang valley, that totally wiped out the village of Langtang, and the 300 people who were in it at the time. We heard that 200 bodies still remain buried under the rubble.
Looking out over the landslide, where Langtang village once was:
Four years later, the trees on the other side of the valley still lie on the ground radiating outwards from the landslide site – the airwave was apparently so massive that the whole hill was stripped of trees.
Walking through the landslide you could get a sense of the enormous scale: the rubble stood about 2-3 storeys high:
If you look closely to the bottom right of this photo you can see the only building that survived the landslide – a guest house that was tucked under the cliff:
New Langtang village:
A stupa remembering the lives lost, a site heavy with emotion:
Heading up the valley past long mani walls towards Kyangin Gompa:
Donkeys have rough life in this country. They carry 50kg each up and down the valley, and are constantly walloped with sticks and stones.
This poor donkey had reached his limit. Shortly after I took this photo a man came running down the hill with two bottles of coke. He kicked the donkey in the ribs to get it to stand, then shoved two bottles of coke down its throat. Apparently this is the local donkey remedy.
Reaching Kyangin Gompa, quite the metropolis:
Day 46: Kyangin Gompa – Tsergo Ri(4900m) – Kyangin Gompa
Day 46 was spent climbing Tsergo Ri, a brutal uphill slog through the snow at high altitude. We were rewarded with awesome 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks.
Setting out at sunrise:
Agata, Kyangin Gompa behind:
Nearing the top:
On the top:
Day 47: Kyangin Gompa to Pairo
Passing ‘The Hard Rock cafe’:
As we dropped altitude we entered a beautiful jungle:
Day 48: Pairo to Syabrubesi
In Pairo we discovered some rudimentary hot springs: a hole dug by the river lined with a big tarp which had a little black pipe running incredibly eggy spring water into it. We soaked for an hour and half after breakfast. The pong lasted for days.
Views from our Pairo lodge, which clung precariously to the side of the hill:
The route out to Syabrubesi held some more questionable suspension bridges:
Back in Syabrubesi we washed ourselves, our clothes, and stocked up on supplies, readying ourselves for our second attempt at the Ruby Valley.
Please consider sponsoring us by donating to PHASE Nepal (www.phasenepal.org): an NGO that improves healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged populations in remote and resource-poor Himalayan mountain villages. Any donations can be made (with many thanks) via the following link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=AndrewWands&pageUrl=1