redpanda51 on LP-Forum
I received a p.m. from someone with questions about where to stay in Dhorpatan so I thought I might as well answer them here .
I trekked Lower Dolpo via Dho Tarap,the 2 high passes,down to the lake and then over to Pungmo Valley and over the Kagmara Pass to Jumla.This year I started in Juphal again but went clockwise,going up to Ringmo and then over the 2 passes to DhoTarap, then over the Jang La Pass to enter the Dhorpatan region.
I figured that weather wise it would be better to go that direction and we did have perfect weather except for the rain and hail one day after we set up camp above Sahar Tara going up the Jang La Pass.
Walking up the river towards Ringmo was beautiful.The first day we encountered a young woman who was going to her village past Saldang to visit her mother.She knew my guide so she walked with us until the lake. She was very nice to me, checking that I was doing ok on the way up. Her father owns a hotel in Ringmo just above where trekkers camp.It had no sign but its name is the Kanjirowa Hotel. I ate meals there because the guide knew the family.The young woman spoke English really well so I learned a lot from her.
After 2 days she and her father headed towards Shey Gompa and we headed towards Dho Tarap.I was not happy about not being able to find someone for the Upper Dolpo section that begins at the lake.The woman had told me that snow leopards had killed over 200 goats and sheep last winter. About 45 minutes outside of Ringmo we encountered 2 men on the trail cutting out the vital organs of 3 domestic goats that had had their throats slashed by a snow leopard.The leopard had dragged them down the mountain side and soon a woman came up from below lugging another goat.
We headed towards the passes and after the lake never stayed anywhere where there were other trekkers. We never saw any trekkers going in our direction although we did meet some going in the opposite direction.We stayed in Dho Tarap for a few days and eventually arrived to a nice camping spot with mani stones just below Tara Bagar .
On the trail from Laini to Tara Bagar, as usual, I was walking alone, and I saw a ghoral who paused to look at me and then leaped down mountain. We visited the gompa near Sahartara and camped much higher up to get a head start on the Jang La Pass.
That evening the mule driver and porters went out to smoke out a wasp nest that had found. They later brought back larvae to cook up. In the morning the mules were no where to be found but the guys caught up with us by early afternoon, mules included.
We camped at a spot referred to as Purbang just below where people looking for yartsagumba camp. There wasn’t that much trash.The sight of a small Fessis Wheel was a bit surreal.
The next day called for us to camp at Puphal Phedi which was a small flat spot next to the river filthy with animal droppings .We went a ways more and stayed above the river. On the way to Dhule there is a structure just off the trail which was clean and had wonderful mountain views. It had room for several people but you would want something like a pad to sleep on. It is about an hour above Dhule. Dhule has a handful of houses and a few lodges.The porters and mules returned towards Dunai at this point.
From Dhuli we went to Kayam where the place to stay was filthy.There are only a few houses there. Between Dhule and Kayam we descended down to Tatopani which has one house next to a big river.
The L.P. book says that the hot springs are tiny there. There is a tiny spot next to the river,but a few minutes away on the tributary there is a cemented in pool with space for 10 or so people.
A dog tagged along from the hot springs and the next day I woke up to find that he had slept in my room in Kayam. He headed with us towards Thankur until we reached a metal suspension bridge that spells trouble for a dogs’ paws. He went down the raging river banks to look for a possible crossing but thank God he gave up.
Thankur has a few houses and they both offer lodging. On the way to Thankur I saw 2 serow bounding down the mountain side.
Going up the pass to reach Dhorpatan village had the best extended mountain views of the trek. We did not reach Dhorpatan until just before dark so it might be a good idea if you are going from Dhorpatan to Thankur to go up part of the pass and then finish the next day. You would also have a better chance of having clear mountain views on the other side.
A jeep came for us in Dhorpatan. The valley below is beautiful with lots of glimpses into traditional village life.