Leaving Kathmandu -Enroute to Arughat
Now that Ben and Sophie #2 have joined us we were keen to get on the road. Ben landed yesterday and, after the fastest shopping quest in the history of mountaineering, he was kitted out with millet 8000 metre boots, down suit, 2 new sleeping bags, crampons, harness, soft shell pants, new sock, down booties and a few other bits and bobs. Sophie found out at 6pm that we were leaving the next day so she sorted her gear quickly.
So, with barrels loaded and duffel bags stuffed full, we bundled into an old landcruiser at 7:30 am. Less than an hour later we were pulled over on the side of the road with the bonnet up and the tools out. Hydraulic issue with the clutch – luckily our driver had spare parts on hand. Truck all fixed and away we went towards Gorkha. After a while we headed off up a side road and stopped to buy some batteries. Back in the trusty cruiser – oops won’t start! So we all got behind and gave him a push and away we went again, No one really knew how long the trip was going to take to get to Arughat, the end of the road. Somewhere between 8 and 10 hours….
The road quickly turned to rugged 4wd terrain interspersed with some pretty gnarly deep slipping mud ruts. We got stuck a couple of times but the trusty (???) landcruiser made it through until…
A particularly deep and slipping section with a nasty wash out and steep drop into a ravine was the final straw for our driver. He rolled his t-shirt up over his belly and said that’s enough, no further for him. Hmm what now? Sidi Mama (yes that is really his name) got on the phone and announced that they would send another jeep from Aragat to pick us up. "Jeep coming 1/2 an hour – you can walk a little"
We left all our gear in the cruiser and wandered down the road expecting to see a jeep coming our way…1/2 hr walking and another hour sitting by the side of the road and still no jeep. Jeep coming? A couple of phone calls in nepali that we couldn’t understand. No..Truck coming, 1/2 an hour. OK sounds good…another half an hour and no truck. Truck coming? No..Tractor coming and jeep is here to take you to Arughat. OK great.
We loaded ourselves into a super sturdy jeep/truck and headed off down the bumpy road, We passed the tractor which was headed up to get all our gear from where the landcruiser stopped. Despite a few pretty hairy sections on the road we were getting there and could see the lights of Arughat in the distance. Then we got to the river.
Mal – "wow look at the river"
Sophie #1 – are we crossing it?
Sophie # 2 – do you think we’ll make it?
Driver – "look at the truck!" (downstream a little way a truck sideways in the river)
Answer to Sophie # 1 question "yes"
Sophie # 2 question "No, we are not going to make it"
As we started the crossing water started coming up under our feet then over the bonnet and then into the engine and then it all came to a pretty quick halt. Fast flowing river outside – truck rolled over down stream…#$%^E#^ now what? Safety Mal jumped out, discovered it was fast but only knee deep so we all linked up and got the hell out of the river.
20 minute later a big tractor arrived and they hooked up big wire cables and pulled it out..
How long to Arughat? 13 and a 1/2 hours today…time for bed