Chomrong to Tadapani : Black Dog
Tadapani Travel Blog› entry 74 of 268 › view all entries
"F**k! Today was haaaard work!" Again. Physically and psychologically. It probably shouldn't have been but the muscle wounds inflicted yesterday take their toll. Barely able to walk I glare enviously at a limber Spanish trekker who spends a good half hour before breakfast, defying the mountains with her yogic flexibility. Cowbag.
Breakfast goes some way to restoring my spirits and Diana's in a similar boat. Farewell to friends again. Keen to get back to Pokhara now as quickly as possible Mino treks off into the early morning light long before Diana and Eric are up. A good lad who I look forward to meeting someday in his hometown of Kumamoto when I finally make it to Japan.
Walking alone again, somehow at a pivotal point I manage to miss and important turning from my original path. Not thinking and retracing my own steps from days ago a little too far. This means the relatively easy trek from Chomrong to next stop Tadapani is made a fair bit more arduous as I have unecessarily descended all the way to the valley bottom. Checking my map I eventually concede this is most likely what I've done. I slump by the riverside and a large black dog strolls around me mocking or pitying me.
Rita kindly offers to take time away from her astonishing lack of business to personally guide me up the hill (for an implicit financial incentive of course but "hey, I'm game!"). She hitches her skirt and sets off up a narrow, precipitous and overgrown pathway known only to locals in the area. NOT a trekker trail aaaat all. She blazes it up it at quite a pace... in flip-flops too. I huff and puff and wheeze dizzyingly behind her fending off branches and bushes and clawing up dusty stepways. A few feet below, parallelling our trail the black dog continues to canter along. Amused in my fate 'til the end.
Further along the trail I enter a seemingly abandonned out-of-season tea house courtyard. A brief break in another very long drawn out valley ascent that I have not been appreciating. Especially without the consolation of collective suffering today. This makes it a much, much harder affair psychologically and I am quite miserable by now and demanding of a pair of ruby-red slippers.
In the middle of the courtyard a cute-as-heck teeny-tiny little furry black puppy also lies slumbering. Junior perhaps? "Ahhh! Isn't it just so cuuu....WOAH!!!!" As I approach to pass it the little black fuzzball jumps into life. Hyperspeed and in a not-very-cutesie manner. In fact it's heading route one, lazer-guided missile, straight for Yours Truly's ankles!!! I block its progress towards 'em gently with one trek pole.
Heading further along and up the sharply winding stairwell I notice that YET AGAIN my progress is once more being shadowed by a ruddy great big, surly BLACK DOG! A different one this time. Junior's dad maybe? I hope he didn't observe my stick-blocking activities with Junior back there?! I don't believe it.
Stopping for a breather at a mountainside hostel I wait for the black dog to get interested enough in the local residents' attentions before I sneak off to evade its company. And happily this works. Animal aquaintances on the trail for the remainder of the day now left to my first experience of the Langor monkeys who live in the treetops of these higher, more climatic forest surrounds. Eventually I reach Tadapani. Gladly. Waves of fatigue and relief wash against each other within my body and soul. Sally is an engaging and chirpy manageress of the Grand View Hotel. "Hot shower?" "Oh yes!" One look and I think "Umm, maybe not!" .
Good people are met and introduced. Tom, Begonia, their guides, their porters and a vociferous trio from Hong Kong. The Kidz. We sit gladly around an open fire for sometime. Good food. Good fun. Card games learnt and played until 21.30 (the latest I ever get to sleep in my whole two weeks trekking). No black dogs now haunt my day. No black dogs haunt my dreams.