Day 8: Chame to Tal
The plan for today was to ride down to Tal, a town further down the valley than Bagarchhap, where we’d started the tour. This meant that we got to ride down past the spectacular waterfalls we’d seen on our first riding day, and through the sub-tropical forest where we saw the pitcher plants. The day started with some climbing, but being at lower altitude left most of us feeling strong. I was able to crank up steep stuff and recover to crank up the next steep thing, which hadn’t been possible on the way up.
After about 300 meters of climbing, we crested the hill and had almost entirely downhill riding for the day. I had a lot of fun; the road was rocky and therefore a little technical, and the scenery was spectacular as we descended through several climate zones. I was taking it easy, taking lots of photos, having fun with the riding.
There were a number of river crossings as waterfalls crossed the road, and I made them all, although the deepest one took three tries (resulting in soaked shoes).
We had lunch at the first inn we stayed at, in Bagarchhap, and while we were there it started to rain lightly. I had been looking forward to getting out of my colder clothes, because it was a good bit warmer down lower in the valley, but everyone bundled up again and headed out on the road. The rain never got heavy, but it was enough to make the rocks slippery, which resulted in Scott taking a good biff, and me taking a minor biff not long after (scraped knee). Other than that, the riding was pretty fun, with lots of rocks to play on while making good time.
The road kept getting closer to the river.
Where it came down nearest, there was a suspension bridge that we followed to a crazy footpath cut into the cliff. The bridge had clearly been repeatedly pummeled by falling rocks, and the path was exposed and rocky; possibly a great location for a future extreme unicycling video, but not anything that anyone on our trip would attempt.
The path got close enough to the river to walk out on the granite sand (really interesting texture), and Michelle and I put our hands in the water to feel it. (Chilly but not freezing, gritty from glacial melt).
The river was maturing, and you could see the shoals and cut banks as it moved into a wider valley. The town we were approaching, Tal, is a farming community on the flood plains, with much more diverse agriculture than we’d seen anywhere upvalley.
The hotel had nice hot showers and a decent lawn space outside to hang out. We ordered beers and snacks and chatted for a couple hours waiting for dinner.
At dinner we said goodbye to our team of 14 porters, who would be heading back to Kathmandu the following day. Nikola kindly led the speech of appreciation for them, and we gave them a big round of applause as they each were called out by name to receive their tip packets.
There was some sort of festival with loud recorded music in town, plus a lot of noise from the porter’s room next door, and from the restaurant underneath us. I went to sleep anyway, until Chris woke me up to check out the festival (where the loud music was coming from). It was a fundraiser for the local school, with traditional Nepalese dancing, and the unicyclists had crashed it and became a big hit.
About eight of us were there, and we all jumped around and danced, and the locals liked us so much they brought us up for the last dance.
Tomorrow, those who want to ride the jeep trail can do so until the jeep catches up with them. We’ll get a 90 minute head start. It will be interesting to see how far that goes. After we get in the jeep, it will take us to Besisahar, where we’ll get mini busses to go to Pokhara.
[flickr_tags tags=”unipal, day8″ tags_mode=”all”]