Sam's Trip to China

Two years of college Chinese was not enough 😅

Poon Hill Trail [2/4]

27 September ’20

You groggily awake to your alarm.
[13 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Have breakfast [-₹1500]
2. Go shopping
3. Set out

Breakfast - with a pot of Nepalese tea of course!

> breakfast

After a hearty meal and a pot of Nepalese tea you're feeling ready for the day ahead. You clean up your room and pack up your things.

[-40 exhaustion][-₹1500]

[12 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Go shopping
2. Set out

Better to stock up on some more water at least. And see if there’s anything fun.

> shopping

The lodging/restaurant also functions as a small general store - packed with sugary candy bars, granola bars, water, first aid supplies, and yak cheese.

Yak cheese!! Let’s try that.

> buy water, yak cheese

[-₹300]

The yak cheese is a very hard, off-yellow substance. It appears to not be meant for direct consumption, but for sucking on, similar to a hard candy.

[11 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Buy more
2. Set out

Alright, no point in delaying any longer. Today is the longest, most vertical, and most difficult section of the hike. The goal is to get all the way to Gorhepani: an ascent of 5,000 feet over 6 miles 😱 Today is the four Empire state buildings day…

> let's go!

You set out towards Gorhepani, crossing the rushing river over a narrow bridge.
Once away from the village, the trek quickly turns into a never-ending stair climb.
You pass some Nepalese school children headed down the mountain, presumably to school.

A sleek black and brown coated dog begins to walk with you on your trek.

Would you like to name him?

You don’t see much point in naming a dog that is almost certainly going to leave when it realized that you’re not gonna give it any food, but Osmanthus has already started calling him “Hachi”, so I guess Hachi it is.

> Hachi

Hachi travels with you for some time. Osmanthus keeps comparing you with Hachi.

"You walk too fast, but Hachi always waits for me."
"Let's take a break, look Hachi laid down, he wants a break too."
"Hachi is so patient, you should be more like Hachi."
"Hachi is the perfect hiking companion."

Osmanthus [+5 motivation]
You [-5 motivation]
About an hour in, the endless stairs start leveling out. You lose track of Hachi as he bounds on ahead, into the town of Ulleri. By this point Osmanthus is too exhausted to be distraught.

[+50 exhaustion]

[8.5 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Stop in Ulleri
2. Forge onwards.

We’re making good time, and deserve a rest after the endless stairs. Not yet time for lunch so we’ll just have some granola bars we packed. And some tea of course.

> stop for tea and granola bars

Ulleri is perched right above a valley and affords an awesome view. You find a place with some great big windows to look out of, only to have the whole scene filled in by clouds.
[+0 motivation]

The tea is delicious, and the granola bars really hit the spot.

[-20 exhaustion][-₹200]

[8 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Rest a little longer
2. Set out

Onwards, towards Ghorepani!

> set out!

The next spot of habitation on the trail is Ban Thanti. Being only a short distance away you find yourself in the tiny four structure outpost before you know it.

[+5 exhaustion]

[7.45 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Stop in Ban Thanti for lunch
2. Continue onwards

We’ve barely gone anywhere, no need to stop!

> keep going damnit

As you approach the edge of the next nature conservation zone (and therefore the end of the lodges and restaurants) the clouds that blocked your view earlier push higher and grow more ominous.

Gotta gear up.

Finally they open, starting with a drizzle before turning into a cascading pour just as you round the corner and reach the final outpost.

[+5 exhastion][-50 motivation]

[7 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Stop for some lunch
2. Continue onwards

Let’s see if we can wait out the rain. Time for lunch anyways!

> lunch

You stop in Fishtail View Point Guest House and find several other waterlogged travelers. Your fancy new hiking backpack has a rain resistant cover so your things are mostly ok, but Osmanthus's backpack is soaked through.

Osmanthus [-50 motivation]

You order some mo:mo and tea, and lay your belongings out to dry in one corner of the dining area.

[-₹1000][-30 exhaustion]

By the time you've finished eating, the rain has abated into a drizzle.

[+10 motivation]

[6 hours until sunset]
You can:
1. Wait a little longer for the rain to stop
2. Set out

Daylight’s a-wasting. You figure you’re going to get wet no matter what, so may as well head out now.

> let's go...

As you pack up to head out the rain abates entirely. Lucky you!

[+20 motivation]

The small rivers that normally cross the path have swollen with the rain. Osmanthus, with her new fancy waterproof shoes, simply walks through them, but while you are jumping from rock to rock you slip and fall into one.

Osmanthus [-0 motivation]
You [-20 motivation]

Two hours into the walk you come across a group of eight or so Nepalese digging dirt and pulling trees out of the path. They inform you that there has been a landslide, and point you to a set of tracks that appear to lead ten or fifteen feet up the sheer side of the mountain, track the length of the landslide, and then descend back onto the path. Closer inspection reveals that some of these tracks are sunk half a foot deep in the mud that the landslide has created.
[+30 exhaustion]

[4 hours until sunset]
You can:
1. Turn around
2. Plunge up the muddy mountainside

Osmanthus does not look pleased. But I don’t know what she’s unhappy about - she’s the one with the waterproof boots. My shoes are held together by tape and shoe repair blue I bought in China - and they’ve already started coming apart again. I’m gonna have mud between my toes…

But we can’t turn back. No way I’m spending a whole day walking back, spending the night, and coming out again the next day. It’s just a little mud. I’ll just plunge my shoes in the next river and it’ll be fine. Not like they were dry anyways…

> mud

Osmanthus takes the lead and you two carefully make your way up the slope, knowing that just one misplaced foot means a roll down a heap of mud. It takes you nearly ten minutes to traverese the forty feet that the landslide has blocked, and you both breath a sigh of relief when you make it down back onto the firm path.

[+20 exhaustion]

Osmanthus's boots are covered in mud, and you can feel it between your toes.
You two was as much off (or out) as you can at the next stream, but your socks remain brown.

Osmanthus [-10 motivation]
You [-30 motivation]
Another hour of hiking brings you to Nangethanti, the last stop before your destination of Ghorepani.

[+50 exhaustion]
[3 hours till sunset]
You can:
1. Stop for some tea and snacks
2. Continute forward

Osmanthus says neither of the two restaurants look good. You figure if you keep up the current pace it’s not too much further to Ghorepani anyways…

> forward!

You have become too exhausted.
Hiking speed is halved.
Exhaustion gain rate is doubled.

Well fuck.

You lead the duo in singing some songs to try and keep morale up, but it ends up sapping energy and tiring you out even more.

[+5 motivation]
[+15 exhaustion]

Osmanthus begins to explain to you how "the mountain makes the path straight if you love the mountain." You begin to worry that she's lost it.

Osmanthus [+10 motivation]
You [-10 motivation]

Just as the sun starts dipping low in the sky you crest the last hill and see the first few buildings of Ghorepani.

[+30 motivation]

There's a registration checkpoint where you hand over your passes to be stamped and recorded. "We must be just about the last set to make it in today huh?" you remark to the guard, figuring there isn't much sunlight left.
He shrugs. "We usually still get a couple more."

Guess you weren't as slow as you thought!

[+10 pride]

You ascend the final set of stairs into the center of Ghorepani.

[+30 exhaustion]

Ghorepani is a bigger town, with more options for lodging.

[1 hour untill sunset]
You can:
1. Lodge at Sikhar Guest House [-₹200]
2. Lodge at Fishtail Guesthouse [-₹200]
3. Lodge at Hotel Deurali Inn & Restaurant [-₹200]
4. Lodge at Super View Lodge & Restaurant [-₹800][+ hilltop view][+ less crowded]
5. Lodge at Hungry Eye Lodge [-₹1000][+ hilltop view][+ private shower]
6. Lodge at Hotel Hilltop & Restaurant [-₹800][+ hilltop view][+ closer to Poon Hill]

You couldn’t care less about the view since it’s gonna be dark soon and it looks like it’s about to start raining again, but Osmanthus jumps at the private shower. Sure, sure, ok…

> hungry eye lodge

Hungry Eye Lodge is already bustling with several other parties, and hiking socks and shoes have been piled and hung around the fireplace. The only remaining room with a private shower is up on the third floor, which means more stairs, but a better view!

[+2 exhaustion][+2 motivation][-₹1000]

[sunset]
You can:
1. Sleep
2. Have some dinner
3. Dry off in front of the fire

Hold up, gimme a sec to relax! Wow what a day it’s been. It’s kinda hard to believe that you can pack so much into just one day, especially when I compare it with some of my days I passed back home, where the whole day would be spent doing who knows what and gone before I knew it. And it’s barely seven! I guess some of it is because of the novelty of everything, the brain makes more memories when things are novel, but I think it’s also a difference of applying one’s body rather than one’s mind as I usually do. An hour of hiking feels way longer, but an hour of reading passes like that. It’s not even like I really remember the hike - just have this feeling that the day was so long…

Alright, alright, I’m hungry!

> dinner!!!

You and Osmanthus make your way back downstairs to the dinner hall where Osmanthus proceeds to order about four dishes before you can stop her, as well as a pot of masala chai, a beer, and a hot chocolate.

She turns to you, batting her eyelids. "Does that sound good?"

[-₹2000]

As it turns out you guys finish most of it. Guess you were hungrier than you thought!

[-70 exhaustion]

[dark]
You can:
1. Sleep
2. Dry off in front of the fire
3. Chat with the other travellers

Let’s dry out a bit.

You stretch out in front of the fire for a while and let your exhaustion make your eyelids heavy.

[+15 motivation]

[dark]
You can:
1. Sleep
2. Chat with the other travellers

Nah, it’s time for bed. We have to get up early tomorrow - ascending Poon Hill is usually done pre-dawn in orde to catch the sunrise. That means getting up at nearly 5:30 to make the one hour hike… I’m not looking forward to getting up that early, but I’ve already set my alarm and mentally committed.

> sleep

Unlike the previous lodging, the showers here have only cold water (or perhaps all the warm water was used by the other residents already!)

[-5 motivation]

You two fall asleep almost as soon as your heads hit the pillow.

...zzz...

[-100 exhastion]

To be continued!

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