Our starting point was the river just near our home at an elevation of around 1,000 metres.
The second day of the King’s birthday holiday dawned bright and beautiful. Our two house guests had slept well in our spare room and at Vicky’s suggestion we all decided to head ‘up the hill’ to see Jean Daniel and Bidung.
We did a walk around Rangjung first and gladly accepted my Principal’s kind offer of tea before we left the grounds of my school after a quick look. We continued around Rangjung, down to the bridge and around Vicky’s school before loading up on momos at our now favourite momo shop. We also picked up a few veggies to take up to JD as Julian said that JD
has to walk 2 hours to Bartsham just to get veggies!!
We set off from here at 12.15 and arrived at Bidung at 2.45. The trip up was a real workout. It was quite hot in the sun and we were soon panting and sweating. Julian has an easygoing lope and the whole walk didn’t seem to strain him in the slightest and Shauna was similarly untroubled. We were certainly feeling the heat and strain and were more than happy to plonk down for a rest as soon as we could.
It was two and a half hours of pretty solid going. The last half hour was nearly too much for the pair of us and we pulled into Bidung a good 5 minutes behind the more capable Canadians. We two were the slowest but we felt good to have made the distance and altitude. My phone GPS said we were at 1770 metres, so we had climbed a good 700 metres to get there.
We refreshed ourselves with a mango juice from one of the shops and then went to the school where JD spends most of his waking hours. He was there and a football match was just about to start, the monks vs the teachers/students. The teachers won, largely thanks to JD’s friend and football coach, LD. We seriously wanted to get back down to Rangjung before dark and we had a deadline of 4pm to leave. After the game Julian and Shauna walked off toward Bartsham and we checked out JD’s place briefly before ourselves heading back downhill.
On the way up we took a bit of a wrong turn, which meant that we were sort of clambering over rice fields with no defined track in sight as we tried to go up toward the town. We wanted to take the right path down from Bidung and JD started us off. We soon needed the assistance of a friendly local however, and she waved us onto the right track, the one in the ever darkening pine forest echoing with crow calls… A little bit scary but we carried on regardless rejoicing every time we saw a familiar sight and as we were basically just heading downhill, we couldn’t go wrong could we?
Vicky heading down the steep path.
We did find the spot we had made the mistake on the way up and resolved to remember to go with the prayer flags as they seemed to mark significant points on the trail.
Prayer flags marking the trail.
We were able to see our house for much of the descent which also helped. We met a couple of locals when we were getting pretty close and they were the same group we had seen on our way up and that Julian and Shauna had seen the day before- those gals sure must have strong legs!!! We also saw two kids from my grade 4 class, one girl with a big bundle of firewood on her back and the other with some kind of sack! The loads looked way too heavy for 9 year olds. We got home just about sunset which is a pretty magical time of the day here. A great end to a wonderful day.
Amazing terraces line the mountainsides.
Sunset back at river level.