It was supposed to be the most demanding stage of the trekking: 1.300 m of elevation, the most on stairs. I tried to climb slowly but steadily, using the poles to save my knees and focusing on my breathing.
The first part was really hard. We passed through several villages made of lodges and small houses painted in bright colours, deep blue and red, populated by busy people and beautiful kids going to school. Then the path descended into a wild gorge among an amazing forest of giant Rhododendrons: twisted, covered on lianes, showing the typical Rhododendron's leaves, but big like pines! The stream was roaring down in the valley, and it was definitely cold when we stopped for lunch in Ulleri so when we started again I was rather slow, then I found back my rhythm.
The arrive to Ghorepani was exciting: a coloured arch greeted us with a big "Namaste!" and "Welcome!".
In the fading light we saw many houses and small cultivated streches of land, but the most of the lodges were in the upper village as well as a few shops, including a bookshop.
Our lodges' name was 'Hill Top', and yep, it was at the top of the hill! I didn't apreciate those last very steep stairs... but the view from the lodge was priceless: the sunset on mount Dhaulagiri! Once inside I kept watching out the window sipping my mint tea untill the last rosy cloud died in the night. The mountains was shining in pure white snow, almost unshaped.
In Ghorepani we stepped on the first snow. It was very cold, about -10 C, and the heater wasn't enough to warm the large dinning room. More hot tea and a hot meal was the temporary solution - I had a yak steak and it tasted good - then, inexorably, the sleeping bag. We were all tired, cold and a little worried because the next days we were supposed to get up at 4.30 am to see the sunrise in Poon Hill, about 300 m above.
.......MORE TO COME.........