Woke up the next morning, went up to the terrace. The sky was just starting to brighten up. Being low in the valley, the sunlight reached Tal quite late. Our plan was to set off early and stay overnight at Timang. Lila said that Timang would offer a good view of Manaslu, which wouldn’t be seen elsewhere. So, Timang it would be. I don’t have much memories of this day, dunno why.
We walked on the riverbed after leaving Tal, and up the rocky trail as we hugged the cliff to our right. We then crossed over a suspension bridge across the Marsyangdi. After a while, we passed a few tea shops at Karte. Being on the trail, set me free. Initially, I was singing to myself, then the music started playing from my phone. Old Hindi classics.
I do remember getting my ACAP permit checked at Dharapani. I glanced at the list of trekkers who went ahead of me and saw someone from China had just passed earlier. There were a few trekkers that we saw in that area and Lila told me that people doing the Manaslu circuit end up at this place, with an option to either complete the trek and return to Kathmandu OR to continue with Annapurna Circuit.
After Dharapani came Bagarchhap, where I bumped into a little kid who wanted to speak to me in English. After talking for a few minutes, I gave him couple of sweets and bid my goodbye to him.
Lila and Yuva had surged ahead and were waiting at a lodge at Danaque, where lunch was declared. The weather was excellent, clear blue sky and I was feeling reasonably ok with the walk, even though I hadn’t had much exercise before embarking on this adventure. There was a good view of Manaslu from there.
Beyond Danaque, the trail started to climb steeply, we would cross the dirt road at a few places and I wondered why was I not taking a jeep ride… But it was good exercise and we reached Timang almost around 430-5PM. The sun would set soon, but then out of nowhere clouds came and the sky turned white. WTF !!! All day, the sun was beating down on us and just when it came for witnessing a good sunset and last light over Manaslu, the clouds came and spoilt the party.
The first lodge that we encountered was called Prasanna Hotel and the moment I saw that it had a rooftop, I declared that this is where we would stay. Lila went and found out that they had a room available, probably the last (as its quite a small lodge with limited rooms) I asked for a cup of coffee, even as I got ready to setup shop on the rooftop, just in case the clouds would clear and we would get a glimpse of Manaslu in the last light.
It was a good decision. I had the best coffee of the entire trip at Timang. After I setup one tripod with the 6D and 17-40mm combination to shoot timelapse and the other tripod with the 7D and 24-105mm to get close up views of Manaslu, the clouds went into a frenzy. The last few minutes before the last light hit Manaslu, the clouds settled down to rest, and I was treated to a spectacular sight.
I bumped into Pisang Lama and his Chinese client (whose name I had seen at the ACAP checkpoint at Dharapani). They were a very friendly bunch and I learnt from them that iOS 8 had come up with a timelapse feature with the inbuilt camera app. I had been fairly ignorant about such things and I wondered if I would get a chance of free wifi, so that I could upgrade the iOS to the latest version. So much for coincidence…
I think I ordered dal bhat for dinner, and afterwards, went up to the rooftop to shoot the beautiful night sky. There was a Japanese guy who was trekking with a guide and porter. He too came to the rooftop, mumbled something and went back to his room. I set my alarm to coincide with moonrise, and even while the cameras were doing their work, I drifted off to sleep.
Lila was having a good time drinking Rakshi. It would be a frequent affair, I thought J
When my alarm rang, I got out, stopped the cameras, put in freshly charged batteries and set the cameras to work again. After being in solitude, I decided that I should get some sleep or else the next day would be a torture. So, off I went to sleep after setting the alarm for 2 hours later. When I went up 2 hours later, I found there was a thick mist and there was condensation on my lenses. WTF !!! Anyways, lesson learnt. I decided that in future, when shooting at night, I would attach the heatpacks that I had carried with me, to the lens barrel.
I woke up an hour before sunrise, and got ready for another round of shoot. It was a wonderful feeling to be amidst the mountains and the first light hitting the peaks. Pisang Lama and Qi Xing Bo came to the rooftop too, to shoot the sunrise. The Japanese guy came over too. It was a party that morning, as Lila joined in the show.