Poon Hilai ma, phool jasto sundari…
A morning in Poon Hill. We started walking up at around 6 AM. We were already late but I was determined to reach at the top. Stuart pulled off from the hiking within first five minutes. Then it was turn of porter. I thought Martha would make it to the top considering the way she walked the day before. No, she also wanted to return back. I remained alone and I continued walking humming this song: Poon Hilai ma, phool jasti soltini rakhe manai ma! [I met a girl beautiful like a flower and put her in my heart]. May be I was hoping to find a soltini in Poon Hill. I had already missed the sun rise but the desire to be at the top constantly kept me pushing up. I reached there, in about half an hour, and saw the fabulous Dhawalagiri Annapurna range. That was really awesome. I kept watching Himals, so clean and shining because of the sunlight, for several minutes from the view tower. The view of other hills was so fascinating.
There were about four dozen English folks (pic, above), members of scout, who were trekking Annapurna region from Jomsong. A boy told me that they were returning to Pokhara today. I took a few photographs, many of them my own self-portraits with Himalayan range on background. I spent about 20 minutes on the tower overhearing English folks and observing them getting excited about the view.
At one point, I felt like screaming “so beautiful.” At the same time, I felt lonely. I wanted to share my feelings but there was no one to share my excitement. At least, not a Soltini! But I consoled myself that even if I missed the sunrise, I hardly see sunrise in my daily life anyway because at that time I would still be in bed, I got to see the Himals and the view.
Wagle on Poon Hill Tower. Pic by an unidentified British boy
It was time to descend. I came down ready to climb up again toward Tadapani. Girls were having breakfast. But they had news for me. “We are thinking of staying here for a day,” said one of them. I was mentally prepared to walk, was ready to go Tadapani and I wasn’t thinking about staying there for a day. But I also couldn’t tell them that they shouldn’t stay and move. That would be, I thought, so un-American. Who was I to stop them from fulfilling their desire to stay a day in Ghorepani. That is why I told them my intention. I would be going and wait for them in Ghandruk. I don’t know why but girls also decided to start walking.
Climbing again up to Deurali Danda was challenging especially after Poon Hill feat. But I did it easily though it was noticeable that Stuart was finding it very hard. Later I was told my Martha that Stuart vomited. Now I started worrying but I didn’t show my concern because I thought that would put extra pressure on her. My feeling was that she would make it to Tadapani without difficulties and we don’t have to walk back all the way to Ghorepani. I kept walking on a slow pace. Stuart was too slow for my normal pace and reducing that pace unnaturally would have created negative impact in my walking. As I was carrying a backpack, I wasn’t in a position to stop every now and then because that would have left me tired at the end of the day. Girls were walking well and that was fine with me. They ought to experience the challenges of trekking and I hoped they did so well.
I think Stuart didn’t like me leaving her behind but I had my own compulsion as I mentioned above. I had to walk on my natural pace. I tried to explain this to Martha and I think she understood. If there is no compatibility of pace between trekking partners, I think the best idea would be to walk on their own pace and the person with fast pace waist for the friend after covering a reasonable distance. That’s what I did.
Martha was a great walker which was beyond my expectation. But she tried to keep herself with Stuart as, I think, she didn’t want to make her feel bad. Oh yea, the only thing that made Martha upset was the unavailability of menthol cigarettes in the trek route. Hum, there was no ganja available as well. First thing she did in Tadapani was to go hunt for menthol cigarettes but unfortunately she wasn’t successful in the mission.