10/17/2007 to 10/18/2007 | Nepal

Trekking in the Annapurnas IV: Snowed in at the Bob Marley

Arriving in Muktinath was a welcome change after two days at the rather rustic High Camp.  Noting on our arrival that there was a lodge in town called Hotel Bob Marley, there was really no other place to stay given that my Canadian trekking companion was even sporting the Marley dreds.   Transportation on the Mustang Valley side of the pass, which we were now on, is much easier than the other side.  There is an Airport in the town of Jomsom which is connected to Muktinath by a rough road suitable for motorbikes and four wheel drive vehicles.  It appears that it won’t be long before half of the circuit will have a road all the way to the pass. Of course with the number of landslides just on the trail, when completed it will likely only be open a couple weeks a year.  It will certainly have a drastic impact on the region for better and worse.  One wonders how many of the small lodges and restaurants in small villages in between the larger ones will stay in business once tourist can take buses along the route.  As of now it’s still predominantly a walking route with a few motorbikes and jeeps plying completed sections of the road.   However, the easier transportation of heavier items meant that the Bob Marley came with nice luxuries that we hadn’t seen for a while, such as western toilets and even a pool table, which I’m still not certain how it got up there.  Muktinath is also a major pilgrim town and its temple is famous for a miraculous natural gas flame that burns over a spring.  When I was there, I at least didn’t see the propane tank.  We had planned to make only a one night stop in the holy town but we woke the next morning to a snow storm.  Fair weather trekker that I am, I took one look out the window and went back to sleep.  The decision was made a bit easier by the fact that all three of us had celebrated making it over the pass and back to civilization the previous night with some local apple brandy.  It was yet another long day of cards and tea but fortunately the snow let up in the late afternoon providing some spectacular views over the valley.  It was another well spent rest day as the following day was perfect, weather wise, for the hike on to Jomsom, the largest town on the circuit.

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