Day 7: Manang to Chame

Our way up had been mostly climbing, so our way back was mostly descending. That made long distances much more manageable. We decided to do two days in one, about 30km from Manang to Chame. We’d lose about 900 meters of altitude, but also have about 500 meters of climbing to do. Nepali flat. Total distance was about 30km, so it was going to be a real ride.

Temperatures were quite cool to start the day, but the trail downvalley from Manang was free of snow. It was not free of mud, however, and the bogs from a few days ago had gotten worse. There were some ugly dismounts. Still, we made good time, feeling strong and moving well.

The storm had also caused a landslide on the road above Chame, which meant that the plan to jeep all our luggage down would require some modification. It was eventually decided to drive to the landslide location and have the porters walk to Chame from there. This also allowed for a support vehicle for riders who were struggling.

We had to climb up out of the Manang valley, and when we got to the pass, we set a prayer flag for Bruce and took a group photo.

After that, riding was extremely fast to the lunch spot in Pisang; so fast, in fact, that lunch wasn’t going to be for another hour. We hung around and played with the local kids who we’d met when we’d stayed here a few days ago.

On the way into town, I chatted with some Nepali kids playing a game (“Carrom board”) that was between shuffleboard and pool; discs were used to knock other discs into holes in the corner of the board. Looked fun!

Eventually everyone got there, and after yet more eggs, Ashley and Joe decided to take the sag wagon, along with Jason who was still dealing with an injured big toe. The rest of us headed off down the road and started making some time.

We had some fun on one of the road switchbacks; there was a shortcut that provided our only really technical MUni of the trip.

The landslide was quite impressive, having started on the mountain well above the road, taking out dozens of trees on its way. A backhoe was on the job trying to clear it, but it would clearly be days before the road would be passable again by cars. Even clambering over the mud and logs on foot was challenging.

There was still 8km to go after the landslide, which included some fun downhill and some tough uphill. I felt a lot stronger than previous days, powering up some of the steep climbs. Finally I descended into Chame, crossed the foot bridge, and went to the hotel, where we had a long wait for our bags coming by jeep and porter.

Chame has cell service, so I got a message back to Nancy about where we were and how things were going. And the hotel had the best hot shower we’d seen so far; it felt good to clean off the mud.

At dinner we developed a plan to ride another 26km today, back beyond where we’d started riding in Bagarchaap, and then jeep and bus to Pokhara the following day, with possibly an option to start by MUni rather than jeep (I know I’m taking that option if it’s available).

[flickr_tags tags=”unipal, day7″ tags_mode=”all”]

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