In this post we go to Saldang. This is around 100 miles from Jomson and should take about 11 days. 9 miles a day is below our target overall average mileage as we shall be slower over the first half of the trek due to acclimatisation and height gain. Of course if we can go faster we shall but it will be better to pace ourselves well and this isn’t a race. It’s an indicator of how far off the beaten track we are on this leg that I can find no publicly available photographs to share with you. Therefore I hope you get some idea of our surroundings and route from the screen shots from Google Earth below. They show the planned overnight stops but as those more distant can be hard to spot they are indicated by arrows on the picture that includes the map overlay.
On day 6 (9th Nov) we expect to take around 6 hours to Mola Phedi at 4800m. That settlement isn’t marked on my maps so I assume it is either close to the camp at Kharka or Base Camp. Whether or not it is, I’m sure we shall be glad to arrive as this tough day we see us crossing the Mola La at 5030m. Soon after leaving Mola Phedi (or or somewhere else nearby) on day 7 we will enter the Pazang valley. Through this valley flows the Panjyan Khola which we will follow to Shimen and maybe beyond depending on our choice of route. Our objective today will be more modest as we head towards Taraka Sumphu at 4200m.
Day 8, 11 Nov unless we have needed a rest day, will see us at the village of Tinje. This is a more significant settlement than anything we will have passed for several days. As it features a health post and postal services surely there will be a shop?
Next up, on day 9 we should reach Shimen, once more following the Panjyan Khola. At this point we have a route choice shown on the final Google Earth screen shot of this post. We could continue to follow the river to its junction with the Tora Khola then follow that river south to Saldang. Alternatively, if as I suspect we are throughly fed up of valley-bottom walking and long for the views that come with higher ground, we could leave the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) for the first time. If we went south west from Shimen we could cross the Shimen La (4260m) before stoping for the night at Khoma. The following day we would cross the Khoma La (4469m) before rejoining the GHT at Chagaon and approaching Saldang from the south.
Not only would arrival at Saldang by either route signify around 100 miles completed and about half of our available time elapsed it offers the first of the ‘escape routes’ south to Juphal should we need it. As Saldang is a significant settlement we may elect to take a days rest if we can still afford such luxury.