I continue to be plagued by a bad stomach and am thankful for my medications. We were away bright and early and I suffered up the initial climb to Ghusang. The trail flattened to a beautiful high traverse up a narrow valley with autumn colors lighting up the hillsides – oranges, reds, yellows. Annapurna 3 and Gangapurna tower above us but at our backs now. My eagle-eyed guide spotted a herd of blue sheep far below beside the river. I just have to mention my very good fortune in having Chhongnuri as my guide. Not only is he knowledgeable and observant, he is such a gentle soul and generous to a fault. Every morning he has a big smile for the dining room despite the cold he is fighting. Friends I meet come under his protective wing and others have mentioned my good luck to have him. Our wide ranging discussions on family, religion, politics, etc. have given me some sense of Nepali life. Mingmar, as porter, is our constant companion and, though we can share only a few words, he is a source of inspiration carrying the gear for the three of us.
Whenever I start to suffer I just look at the two huge duffel bags strapped to his back. He has just switched to runners from flip flops.