Tim and I met up at Boudha and continued east about 15km to Sankhu, where the google map shows the road turning from yellow to grey, basically meaning “unpaved.” We ascended from Senkhu’s 1500m to Nagarkot’s 2200m over the next 15-20km through some amazing scenery, through the hottest part of the day.
I sucked my camel bak (2L) dry as we climbed up the dirt jeep tracks (much akin to a service road at a national park), gravel stretches, and no fewer than 10 sections of road I’ll describe as “washboard” which were stone mined from the ground, laid on edge, packed together and cemented with gravel and small stone to form a semi-permanent road surface. That last bit was hell to climb, especially around a switch-back, and I often ended up walking, darting over to a shady spot to suck down some water before trudging on.
Stopping at a cross-roads at the top, we stopped in for lunch at the Mountain View Resort; veg chowmein and fried things; pakoras and french fries. That little bit of town with the pine trees, steep windy roads, kitschy touristy spots, etc, reminded me somehow of Colorado.
Our “guy” managed to meet up with us and lead us back to Nagarkot Farmhouse Resort, through whose gate and grounds we went, down about 1/4 of the foothill (for everyone in the US, “mountain”) to a little cottage, one room, nestled into the side of the steps. Trees and grass and green things all around, a little brick structure with a tin roof, one little solar panel to provide electricity, wood beams and electric art on the inside.
See my MobileMe gallery for pix.
We had to hike back up to meet Jean and Rae (and kids, dogs), who had come from the southern side of town and needed directions; cell service was spotty.
Reunited, we schlepped luggage and things down the many steps to the cottage and resolved not to come up again until the next day, and after much to drink.
To that we settled in directly, ignoring the children and dogs to explore the postage stamp of a steppe, peach trees down below, steps to the resort up above, forest all around, and the northern valley beyond, Himalayas hidden by clouds from recent rains far to the north.
I’d made bread, and we enjoyed that with gouda, wine, beer, gin & tonics, and chatted, lounging on the “couch” boxes that lined the room’s perimeter.
We had a pair of ladies (friends of parents of Tim’s students; he teaches at Lincoln) stop in and warn us to take our dogs in so as not to provide snow leopards a snack. Good to know.
The caretaker made us an “early” dinner (started at 4, cooked til 6:30!) of daal bhat, curried cauliflower, green beans and potatoes. Amazing stuff, of which I ate two plates, beneath a solar-powered CF bulb and candle light. The caretaker’s younger sister (bahini) joined him, and I’m not sure if they had any; they hung off to the side. It was completely dark, since we were in the valley on the eastern side of a foothill, by 6:30. Lucas, who had already napped before dinner, turned in immediately after getting ready for bed, without even changing in to PJ’s, and the girls stayed up late enough to color to the light of the CF bulb.
At 9 (!!) we turned in, shut the doors and waited for the snow leopards. No wildlife, only back-aches from sleeping on those hard boxes with slim cushions, came in the middle of the night.
Sunday morning I woke early to see the sunrise, though the himalayas were a bit obscured by mist. A while later and throughout the morning until around 10:30 the Himalayas revealed themselves gloriously. Around then we went up to the farmhouse resort for lunch, but it was too early, so we bolted. Tim and I biked back and the others drove. The ride back was almost all downhill and a lot easier, and only took around 2 hours as opposed to 3.5.
I’m exhausted, but we had a great weekend!