After the views from Rimché, Lama Temple didn’t even make me slow my pace. The scraggy hillside climb turned into a more gentle forest ascent once again. Soon enough the river caught up to us and with the sound of water, the walk through tall trees and greenery felt a little bit magical. I was reminded of the forests of Norway and the trolls therein. With tired legs the going was steady but slow. After an hour I was expecting the next teahouse to come up, this time a a single shack standing in solitude at a bend in the river. Soon enough the contours of a building started appearing through the trees ahead. Reaching it, the “house” turned out to be a gigantic house size boulder. The mountainside across the river had recently given way and the results were strewn all over the valley floor – massive rocks and tree trunks. It is difficult to imagine the event that had stripped bare the entire slope and the forest underneath – a good reminder of the forces at play in rugged places like these.
The Riverside Lodge did eventually turn up and proved to be a lovely spot for hot masala tea. It was tempting to stay there for the night, but our sights were set on Ghoda Tabela – a tiny spot past the next steep ascent, just above the tree line. Just past Riverside is Woodland Cottage, where we were again enticed to stay the night – after all, it was getting dark soon. Yet when the lady of the house heard of our plans and we also confirmed that there were no other hikers coming up behind us, she recommended us to go ahead and find accommodation at a place called Lapli Guesthouse. She would stay behind to lock up the lodge and then catch up with us on her way up to Ghoda Tabela as well.
Sure enough, after about an hour we heard the pat-pat-pat of her slippers coming up behind us. She quickly caught up with us and reminded to go find Lapli – she would go on ahead and tell her sister, who runs the place, to expect our arrival. Despite the steep uphill (the path had again started climbing rapidly) she left us behind with relative ease and we were alone once again.
Landslides are dangerous while in process, that much should be clear to anyone. What is less known, is that they also leave behind a barren and unstable slope prone to more slides and muddy washouts when rain comes in. Despite this, landslides can sometimes present to you the most wonderful views. Close to the top of the ascent to Ghoda Tabela we came upon one such landslide. Standing high above the valley, we were treated to the most magnificent view of the river, raging deep down in the valley, snaking between tall trees that line the steep hillsides, overlooked by tall dark mountain peaks. Even though daylight was fading fast, we stopped there for a while, to wonder in silence the majesty of nature.
By the time we reached Ghoda Tabela, the night had settled. The first sign of impending civilization was a small group of donkeys, that had chosen to spend the night standing on the path. In the darkness of the forest it was quite an experience coming up against this small herd. It must have been quite the sight, seeing us try to squeeze past and through them on the narrow trail. Fortunately they seemed to be completely unruffled by our presence.
Having met that many donkeys I was expecting Ghoda Tabela to be a larger village. In truth it was little more than two guesthouses standing back to back, with a few tables and chairs standing next to the path. We almost walked past the place, if not for the family coming out to greet us. They had been expecting us.
The welcome was incredibly warm and friendly. It was dinner time for both guests and family and everybody had gathered around the fireplace. We were asked what we would like for dinner and then led to the room. Outside was cold already, so after a relaxing shower (ahh, the sweet pleasure of warm water…. thank you solar heaters) we settled around the dining room stove to enjoy some local Dal Bhat. We were not alone – together with the two of us there was also a father and daughter from Denmark and a Nepali doctor with his wife.