Day 6: Bhraga
We climbed from 3310 meters to 3450 meters from Upper Pisang to Bhraga
I woke up, tried not to slip in the ice-coated squatty potty as I peed in the dark, got dressed in all my layers, and walked down to the family room to warm up by the fire and have breakfast. We finished up using Wifi and began our route down the hill to Lower Pisang. In Lower Pisang, I bought sun glasses, which are KEY because the bright sun reflecting on the white snow was stinging my eyes.
Lower Route to Manang
I was reluctant to take the easier route to Manang, but was consoled by hikers who trekked the more difficult route to Manang and said it was horrible. They said they were breaking trail in waist deep snow. I'm not interested in getting caught in an avalanche or getting lost, so I was happy with our decision.
The lower route was very easy. It was mostly flat and only took us four or five hours. It normally would have taken much less time, but the melting snow conditions made us walk slower because it was very slippery. The glorious sun was shining all day and there was not a cloud in sight!
At lunch, we met an amazing Canadian family. A lovely couple was hiking with their seven and 10 year old daughters from Chame to Manang. The Dad was an emergency physician who volunteered in Manang years ago #goals. It was so inspiring to hear about his travels as a doctor- he has been able to do some incredible work all over the world. His family was visiting Nepal for a friend's wedding and decided to trek a little while in the country. Definition of #familygoals. Both girls were tougher than many hikers I had met- the younger one only complaining about her need for cheese. Same, girl.
We stopped in a small village for a bathroom emergency and decided to buy something from the kind souls that let me use their facilities (if a hole in the ground counts as a facility). For $1 per cup, we tried Seabuckthorn Juice. It's made from berries that grow along the river in the mountains and is said to have more vitamins than any other fruit or vegetable. It tasted like honey mango orange juice aka heaven.
With only 30 minutes of trekking until we reached Manang, we stopped in Bragha, a quintessential mountain village. It was adorable and less touristy than Manang. We stayed in the New Yak Hotel for free and spent a fortune on food (the usual agreement with hotel owners). We were so excited to see such an extensive menu that we went a little over the top. We enjoyed incredible veggie burgers with garlic cheese sauce- my favorite meal I had on the entire circuit.
The best part of staying at the New Yak Hotel was the quirky bunch we spent the night getting to know. One Israeli guy, Ofer, was in his early 40's and only worked when he needed more money to travel. Decked out in a Reebok track suit and wearing a hat inside-out, he told hilarious stories of his travels with an endearing lisp. I appreciate that he travels to each country for at least a month, so he is able to really experience it, rather than just hit the tourist spots. He's been to 50+ countries and has definitely seen some crazy shit. He was traveling with his equally adorable and badass guide, Brakash, and a ginger, Ron, who was mostly quiet but sharp-witted in everything he said. It was comforting to have a friend with a Nepali guide, so we could latch on if we ever felt unsafe in the mountains or were unsure about conditions.