There are two routes from Upper Pisang to Manang: a 3 1/2 hour walk along the bottom of the valley and a more scenic and challenging 6 1/2 hour higher trail. We broke into two pairs, with Rick and Don opting for the lower trail and Matthew and I embracing the challenge of the higher one.
Early in our walk we had a brutal set of switchbacks that took us 500 metres up to a traditional village. The remainder of the day was easier, with beautiful long traverses high above the valley bottom. We passed through several traditional Tibetan villages, as well as by the ruins of a fort.
We also saw a herd of yaks. Twenty of these magnificent, shaggy animals were being driven from one pasture to another. We happened to be on the connecting trail, and a Nepali herdsman was very concerned that we not be in their path. He yelled “yaks” at us and gestured repeatedly and vigorously that we should hasten up the trail. The yaks and their formidable horns turned before they reached us.
As recommended, we are staying two nights in Manang (elevation 3450 metres) to acclimatize to the altitude. The Yeti Hotel is a venerable local institution, and easily the best place where we have lodged on this trek. It is still quite cold, however, with a fire in the dining room providing the only heat. Long underwear has become my best friend.