Soti Khola to Macchakhola
The river had roared all night long just outside our rooms and I loved it. Soothing. We had our breakfast ready for us at 6:30am, and settled our first lodge bill of the trek. For three people's supper, two rooms (two in one, one alone in a two-bed room), and breakfast for all three, the bill came to a low 3,000 rupees.
Soon after breakfast, we were on the road. The first section out, we walked along a fairly well-made (but little travelled until then as the river we had crossed the night before was only now just becoming passable).
The day was very, very hot. I was incredibly uncomfortable in the heat. My pack’s hip belt left a wide ribbon of sweat across the middle of my shirt and I had salt crusted around my lips. I keep trying to take on more and more water but the heat has upset my stomach so I can only sip little by little.
We finally stopped for lunch. Dal bhat is what we wanted, even if it will take 45 minutes to prepare for us. I encouraged this as we only had another six kilometers or less of trail ahead of us before stopping for the day. I was glad that will take us less than two hours on the larger roads. With the heat and the sun, I wasn't sure I would be capable of doing much more than that. This Canadian is not used to the 27 to 30 degree weather and hiking under the high, hot sun.
Arriving at our lodge in Macchu Khola, we were the first trekkers to check in and we three dropped our bags and ran for the showers. Here, the showers were great big rooms that were spotless when we arrived. The water was chilly but it was welcomed after our hot day.
That evening, the supper was delicious and we began to meet the other trekkers who were traveling in both directions. Some of the trekkers had gone straight up the Tsum Valley and then back out again without doing the full Manaslu Circuit.
It was here that people shared complaints with their fellow travelers and the loudest and most heard complaint: I brought too much stuff!
- Listen to your body. This is the day—yes, the first day of hiking!—that Travis began to aggravate his knee. And that injury affected his entire trip (and many weeks afterwards). He didn't get to go on some of our side treks because he needed extra days to heal. Go slow when needed. Ask for help when needed. Communicate to your team what is bothering you—it's not complaining, it's making sure everyone is aware of all factors when making the group decision of how long to break or when to stop for the day.
- Be a minimalist. Pack as little as you can. You don't need those extra camera lenses, the three extra outfits, or the library of books. One day of carrying it all on your back and you'll realize what is and isn't important.
- Be clear about what *is* important to bring. Bring enough medication and other things that are life-saving. We met a team that had to return because some of their life saving medication had been ruined. I'd rather my friends be stinky in their only shirt than forget their insulin!