April 25th
Near Badahare-Btwn Doban & Somatar
Distance: 15.5mi/25km
Trip Total: ~176.5mi/284km
Campsite Elevation: 3,094ft/943m

Today we got the more relaxed day we’ve been needing! We head out every morning at 6am, not knowing how long the terrain will take, and knowing that rain will likely come in the afternoon. The low route we are on to go around three technical mountaineering passes is by no means easy just because it’s lower. It’s quite grueling with the heat and elevation profile. It actually has more challenging elevation than the high route. It’s unrelenting, and we are putting in hard days of hiking day after day. Our bodies and minds needed a less grueling day, and we thankfully got it today. We started off going through more cultivated land, which can be confusing and time consuming. We wondered if our whole day would be like this…

Then, about an hour or so into the morning, our trail magically became a dirt road! I know some are frustrated with how many of the trails from village to village are being made into roads, but we’ve enjoyed them. There was a motorcycle slowly going by from time to time, but it’s mostly just people walking from village to village. Just like the trails we’ve been on, but so much more relaxing and efficient. I don’t know. I’ve walked so many dirt roads in my hiking that I tend to see them as just nice wide glorious trail!

The other great thing about today is that my thigh muscle has finally healed! That’s huge! This terrain and climate is already uncomfortable, and having a nagging pain with each step was not enjoyable at all. I was really worried it wouldn’t heal at all because of how this trail never lets up. Whew, I have my body back!

We saw monkeys today! Like dozens of them! They are very quick to dash away, so our photos aren’t great. They would be ahead of us on the road and then run off to the side and watch from afar. If we paused to take a photo, they would dart off. Still, we were quite excited and it was a highlight of the day for sure.

So, we were on roads most of the day and went though many small villages with stores. When I say stores, they all have almost exactly the same things. Cigarettes, beer, cooking seasoning, rice, noodles, ramen packets, plain cracker packets, and little creme cookie packets. Every once in awhile, you’ll find things like peanut butter or some chips, but it’s been a rare find. I am very low on food, so I knew I needed to stock up and not hold out for better things. My diet will now consist of ramen noodles, crackers, and cookies unless we get meals along the way. We really wanted a cooked meal for lunch, so we held out hope and snacked much of the day.

These white things are actually insects! They were all over the plants and ground, and we thought they were part of the plant until they started hopping around.

The heat and humidity was still strong, and midday, we had strong sun as well. Sweat just constantly dripped off of us. Especially our faces. It was a day with quite a bit of climbing, but at least it was fairly gradual, and on a road. We had the best bonus of the day when we got real good phone and internet service for the first time all hike! I was able to call my twin and talk to my nephew before he went to bed. I got to hear about his first lost tooth. It really made the morning go by enjoyably for Buck-30 and me. The fact that we got service and were on a road walk to use it, was pretty fun.

Around 10am, we had horrible heat, and were climbing significantly. We just needed some water to take a good break to rehydrate, but had no idea of when it might come. Then, we turned a corner to magically see a water hose just spraying water next to the road. It really was so random, and so needed. Notice all the sweat on Buck-30’s shirt. He’s pretty sure this hike will have him losing so much weight that he’ll be back in the “Buck-30’s” that his trail name originated from on his first hike many many years ago.

We continued on road, still holding out hope for cooked food for lunch. I am out of bars and just down to ramen, cookies, and crackers. I found that I can eat/drink cold soaked ramen while walking a road. Only in thru-hiking do these sorts of opportunities present themselves. Actually, Nepalese eat noodles in ramen packages like chips. Just dry often. The wrappers are seriously everywhere. Well, trash is all over the place, but lots of it are noodle packaging. We came across another person walking who knew enough English to tell us that we for sure had an option up ahead for food.

We were excited for a much needed break. A man there knew English very well, and happened to be selling chips! The bags are full of air with few in them, but they are only like 10 cents. It really is amazing the prices out here. I found some that are like tomato flavored Cheetos. They also had cheese puffs I should have gotten more of. I got 10 bags and opened them all to combine them into on quart sized Ziploc. Here is what I’ve been getting. They do have sandwich creme cookie that are my Oreo substitute until I get my food supply waiting for me in Lukla.

We got veggie fried rice, and Buck-30 even got a pound of small tomatoes just to have something fresh. I would never risk non-cooked fruits or veggies, but Buck-30 has a stomach of steel and has been drinking quite a bit of unfiltered water if it doesn’t come from a town.

Again, we ended the day with limited camping options, and impending weather looming overhead. We walked through the village of Doban. It was quite busy and had a rowdy feel to it neither of us were drawn to in the brief moment we passed through. As we walked further, we had trouble finding a spot that was off someone’s land and out of sight. We ended up taking a spot that was cultivated, but seemed to be remote enough to not be planted in or touched in quite awhile. We had to scramble down a rock slide from the road for a few minutes to get to it. It was 4:45pm, and we got the tents up once again just before the real rain came down for the evening, whew!

We were still visible from the road and worried about that slightly. Soon, after pitching, some teenage boys came down the road, and were curious. They sat up on the rocks and watched for awhile before moving on. We just didn’t want to impose on anyone’s land. It seems we are ok. We are now at 3,000ft/914m, and climbing. It’s nice to be in somewhat cooler conditions tonight for more comfortable sleeping. My body is having it’s usual heat rash reaction to the heat and sun known as Polymorphic Light Eruption. My hands have less of a rash, and now it’s my feet and legs. It should clear up as we get back to the higher cooler conditions. I’m glad we got this day to rebound a bit before the days of climbing ahead.

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