Gordon:  Today we walked a short three hour stage as we develop our “trail legs”.  We passed a series of villages set in terraces of rice paddies and backed by impressively large and steep hillsides.  It was a beautiful walk in ideal weather.

It is the last day of Diwali and groups of women and children continue to exact tolls from passing travellers.  They hold a string or rope across the road and bless us with a colourful tikka on the forehead, in exchange for which we donate a few rupees.  It is a lot of fun, but we are running low on small bills.

We finished the day at the attractive ridge top village of Bahundanda.  Despite the fact that it is high season for trekking, there are not many walkers staying in each town.  As a result there is a restrained but noticeable competition to feed and house trekkers.  There is also an expectation that walkers staying at a guesthouse will also dine there.  This afternoon, after seeing him having a beer at another cafe, Don was pointedly told by our host that she serves beer at her restaurant as well.  I have been told that development of the roads has meant that many trekkers are starting the circuit further up the valley, leaving the lower villages with fewer guests.

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