7th March 1987
The first day of the trek started with a frenetic morning, completing last minute shopping. But by 10a.m. we were all set and boarded a ‘City Bus’ to Shining Hospital. (The Shining Hospital is part of the International Nepal Fellowship dealing with illnesses such as Leprosy, Dermatology and rehab, although I will confess I didn’t know this at the time. It is still going and INF is going from strength to strength.) From here we had to get to Phedi, where the trail head was. We sort of hitched/hired a ride in a jeep which was the only transport that seemed to be able to handle the very bumpy and dusty track through the river valley.
Once at Phedi, the walking began, with an hours steep ascent to Naudanda. And this ascent was ‘steep!’, especially to our unconditioned and unfit bodies. A couple of months in India does not an athlete make. It was not the most auspicious start to our journey, with all three of us collapsing at the door of the first hotel we came to. And we hadnt even started the trek! This was just the first stop where everyone ‘launched’ from.
Fortunately the hotel (I use the word loosely) turned out to be fine. I ended up sharing a room with a quiet European fella (never did find out his nationality). The charge for the room was a ridiculous 3 rupees (equated to about 15p back then) and to top it all the food was good.