AC: Muktinath – Kagbeni | Dec. 24, 2015

It’s Christmas Eve but it doesn’t feel at all like Christmas season in the Himalaya. This is actually a good thing – otherwise I am sure I would have missed Christmas at home a lot. But here I am in a different world and don’t need to celebrate Christmas, I get to see the beauty of the nature every day. At least there is some power in the morning so that I can send off some messages to my friends and family to let them know I have safely made it over the Thorung La pass and wish them a great Christmas time.

I have pancakes for breakfast and say goodbye to Mareike and Markus, the Austrian-German couple. I enjoyed spending time with them but they want to fly back from Johmson as they still have big plans otherwise, continuing their world journey by bike. The short hike trip was just a nice in-between for them and not – as for me – the whole point of the trip! My guide Prakash and I take the longer trail to Kagbeni to stop by Jhong with the nice monastery. The mountains are impressive – Annapurna I, Thorung La Pass, Dhalaugiri, Nilgiri,…

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This way to Jhong
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Impressive scenery
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Around Muktinath
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Around Muktinath
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Jhong with the monastery and former fortress
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Monastery & fortress ruins Jhong
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View from monastery
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View from monastery to Thorung La Pass
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Monastery
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Lazy cats
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The white/red trail markers
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One more bridge

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View to Tiri and Mustang

Today the hike is quite short, at 11h30 we are already in Kagbeni. I have decided to make only a short hiking day today as its Christmas and as my guide book says that Kagbeni is beautiful! It is indeed a beautiful town (and not only guesthouses) and although a lot of the shops and restaurants appear closed, I enjoy strolling around. I am staying at Shangri La Hotel which has really good food, upon the advice of the Dutch girl Mirke. She is already sitting there and I am getting one more room. This is one of the best guesthouses during the entire trail. The dining hall is beautiful and I eat delicious mushroom soop with Kagbeni bread for lunch.

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Last (difficult) descent through the rocks to Kagbeni
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Kagbeni
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Kagbeni
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Streets of Kagbeni
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Yac Donalds!
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More lazy cats
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You can have everything here – during season!

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My guidebook calls him “Mr. Viagra Man”
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Delicious lunch

Mirke and I then head out to Tiri, which is on the other side of the river and already in the Mustang area. The access to Mustang is restricted to permit holders (it’s very expensive) acompanied by a guide. But we are allowed to visit Tiri during daylight and as we have plenty of time we enjoy crossing the river, which is very low during winter time. Tiri has a again a monastery and great view on Kagbeni but it doesn’t take very long until the wind starts to blow. It feels like we will almost fly away, and we were already warned about this kind of wind for our coming days, it usually starts around noon.

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River crossing to Tiri
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View from Tiri
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View from Tiri
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Mirke & me

As it’s Christmas, we head for a nice Applie Pie afternoon break, buy some Yak Cheese, have Massala tea in a nearby restaurant and finally I enjoy Pizza for dinner. The best part of the Shangri La guesthouse is the big table under which some hot charcoals are placed and thanks to the long tablecloth it is very cozy and warm to sit and chat in the evening. For once I don’t have to go to bed early just because its too cold!

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Apple Pie
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Pizza
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