Hiking the hills…

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14 January

We are up in the darkness of pre-dawn for the second day running. It’s seriously cold so we layer up and lace up and head to the jeeps for what will be the first of many chilly hikes! Just by far the least taxing…

We have to bring our passports, since technically the hike runs along the ridge that serves as the border line between India and Nepal. Sometimes we are in one country, sometimes the other, and there are military posts dotted along the way to make sure you are in the country you’re supposed to be in.

We meet our guide for the day and bundle into the jeep. It’s an hour to the border village, and warm in the jeep… hard not to fall back to sleep. I film the sunrise instead through the steamy window (cinematic genius).

It’s lucky I do, because no sooner has the bloody thing risen than it disappears behind a huge cloud bank and that’s the last we see of it. We disembark at the border village, sign ourselves out of India and walk away from all apparent civilisation.

Ideally you don’t do this trek inside the actual clouds. Or, as our guide says, ‘If it was a nice clear day then the views across here *gestures to a hazy white wall 3 meters away from us* is quite spectacular.’ So yeah, visibility is gone but the hike remains . It’s a steady climb to 3000m, which takes us just over an hour.

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It’s old seeming land we walk through, and the wispy white tendrils that creep along with us just add to this feeing of hyper reality. That and the intense quiet (Tasha is too puffed out to be as noisy as usual)… it’s otherworldly.

We stop for tea at the summit, feeling quite proud of ourselves. We heated up during the climb, and started shedding layers. As soon as we stop we get cold again! Tea is reviving though and we are eager to get hiking along the ridge for the next few hours. Off we go…

By the end of the day I’m knackered, and very glad to see the van! Good practice!

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