Overnighting in Kagbeni, the day’s walk heads out along the jeep track at the start of day two. This happily is quieter than yesterday as Kagbeni is the turning point for the road up to Muktinath. The track hugs the eastern side of the valley and undulates as it takes in a host of side streams that feed into the Kali Gandaki. It’s a pleasant walk, with a few steep uphill pulls that will remind the legs they’ve got something to do over the next few days. It’s quieter but still a dusty track and the odd jeep that passes still throws up a lot of dust.
The pull up to the small plateau which is crossed by the Simkoghiu River gives elevated views across the main valley. A huge enclosed ‘field’ encloses a new organic apple orchard, run by the next village of Tangbe which is reached by a short downhill section and a gentle climb. The track now bypasses the village but it’s an interesting little place to explore, with narrow passages between the buildings and little glades of trees.
Out the other side and a steady descent leads in to the village of Chhusang. Again an interesting community with a long prayer wall that divides the main ‘street’ t the far side. Also on the northern edge is the Cave monastery which is worth a short visit. Crossing the tributary valley, the track carries on up the eastern side of the Kali Gandaki in places on an e,legated section that is built using stone gabbions. As you approach Chele, a cliff looms up ahead and as the paths takes a steel bridge across the rover, the remains of the water’s previous route under the cliff is visible. My map even says the river runs through a rock tunnel still although on the ground it doesn’t look like it’s done so for a while.
Once over the bridge there are two routes to Chele, the shorter but steeper climb or the longer gentler climb up the jeep track. Chele affords an great outlook over the valley you’ve just spent two days following. Enjoy the view, you won’t see it now for quite a few days.