May 2: Sanctuary Lodge

The day was to suppose to be our "move on" day back down the mountain to Pokhara -- however the Maoists had different ideas. We got the news at breakfast that all great plans of the day had stopped. Dave, our guide, had received a call from headquarters to stay put and not move the group. The Maoists are blocking all main roads throughout the country in an attempt to bring the government to its knees. There was no point in trying to get to our next destination, so we all just relaxed and settled in to another beautiful day in paradise.

We did go ahead with the scheduled staff group picture that we had requested the night before and on of the staff, who lives just up the hill brought his two little daughters to "be the proud papa"! Cameras clicked continuously for several minutes as we each tried to get the perfect shot of the kids. The staff fell to second in line for the photo op!!

After realizing that we were not going anywhere fast it was the general consensus to make the best of it and go for another hike up the mountain side. Off we went up and up and up farther and farther away from the rushing river. But the view -- each turn in the trail opened up to a more beautiful vista. The steep slopes again covered with terraced fields, small homes sitting precariously on the edge of a ledge, people busy doing their daily chores, donkeys laden with pack trudging up or down the path, a few goats here and there, and for the first time a cat sitting sunning on a ledge. After a couple of hours of "steps" we reached a small restaurant -- an oasis out in the middle of nowhere -- but a welcomed sight as a place to momentarily to get out of the sun. The day like all the previous was sunny and hot. The humidity at the higher altitudes is minimal, but the sun drains the fluid from your system if you aren't careful. Dehydration is a serious problem in the mountains. It is easy to forget to drink -- something our guide will not let us do. A tap on the shoulder, a wag of the finger, all gestures meant to remind the person they need to get out their water bottle and indulge.

After a beer or coke the group divided. Some were tired and hot and wanted to return down the mountain path to the hotel while others wanted to continue farther up. Fortunately we are traveling with two trekking guides and Dave! So down went half and up the other. The path to the higher elevation was steeper than the first half of the trek, so the going was a bit slower. We have been taught to take one step and then rest -- step, rest -- step, rest -- as one ascends the steep slope. That way you don't over exert and can walk farther than you thought you could. After a hour we had reached a point high above the valley. The view was breath-taking. Mountains all around with a deep gorge cutting through allowing the river to flow through. Mother Nature outdid herself here!!

Every step up was worth the effort needed to fight gravity and get to this point in the trail. The air may have been thinner if for no other reason in that we were higher than before, but what made it hard to breath was the view took your breath away!!

For every step up there is an equal amount of steps going down. Just as we made the turn around there was a sign telling us that we had 2334 steps to go to make it back to the village where we were staying (approximately 6 km away). Needless to say the descend was faster but no less as beautiful. About halfway down we diverted off on another trail to our destination so not to have repeat our way. Two thirds back at a small open air tavern sat the rest of our group. As much as they didn't want to join us on the climb up, they were in no rush to go down and were enjoying the local beer. Vacation mode!!!

Slowly the group reorganized and trudged off down the pathway to the hotel. The tired feet arrived six hours after leaving initially and the sight of the lemonade stand waiting for us as we entered the hotel complex was cheered by all.

Now we sit and wait. The Maoists are still going strong. However,we think that we may be able to move to the next hotel in the morning, but won't know until after dinner tonight. Oh well -- life could be worse.


Children of One of the Staff


Two Generations of Proud Parents!

Full Staff

The Boys!

Good Luck Bracelet

Man Carrying a Large Lumber

Splitting the Bamboo For Weaving

Supply Train

Another Beautiful Vista

And Another

Up Again

And Down

Rest Time!