We rolled along the East West highway through the far west of Nepal, covering some good distances, 210 miles in 3 days, travelling through tiger and elephant reserve forests, and cultivated land. The traffic was light, but sometimes fast. The road became rather monotonous as you weren’t part of people’s lives as you cycled by. Houses and villages were set back from the road. We like seeing people going about their everyday tasks. We missed the seeing the girls herding their goats and children walking to school.
We needed to find a quieter route. We could head south towards India or north into the mountains. We opted for the latter and followed the Ruspa river up stream. The quiet road took us through forest and we got glimpses, between the trees of the broad gravel and sand filled river bed with the river snaking its way through the banks of gravel.
The road started to climb a little and bent one way then the other. We passed close to houses. People were startled and surprised by our arrival. We passed by calling out Namaste, which was met with shouts back and laughter. People sitting out on their verandas, babies being looked after, someone cleaning their teeth at the standpipe, a lady sweeping with a spindly brush, livestock being tended to, women chatting outside a shop, a carpenter making some furniture, someone opening up their fabric shop, children in smart uniforms walking to school, a guy delivering milk on his motorbike, there’s always so much to see as you cycle by, just life going on.
The road started twisting one way then the other as the valley narrowed and the Ruspa ran fast over the boulders producing rapids. We started climbing steeply as the river had become restricted to a narrow steep valley which meant our route had to climb up high over a hill to avoid the cliffs. The scenery was dramatic and stunning, but we were struggling with the uphill haul.
Our sickness and loss of appetite over the last few days had left us a little weak. We pushed on stopping for a well earned plate of noodles and chai at lunch time.
On another long climb we wound our way up the mountain eventually getting to the col where immediately we got views of the next valley. The col was so narrow it was like passing through a door from in room to another, leaving one river system and arriving at the next.
It was then final downhill run to Pyuthan