MU GUMBA - the Tsum Valley (part II)
The Himalaya has been a safe haven for many folks in the past centuries. It's a place for people from all kind of tribes that were in search for contemplation and peace.
The Tsum Valley was a restricted area until it was opened for trekking in 2008.
It is a sacred Himalayan pilgrimage valley situated in northern Gorkha, Nepal. Literally “Tsum” means vivid. Against the majestic backdrop of the Ganesh Himal (7429m) and Sringi Himal (7187m), and Boudha ranges, this serene Himalayan valley is rich in ancient art, culture and religion. The local people are mostly of Tibetan origin and speak unique dialect. Trails are strewn with artistic chortens and lined with mani walls made of thousands of stone slabs carved with drawings of deities and inscribed with prayers.
This valley has a long history of Buddhism. The Buddhist saint Milarewa is believed to be meditated in the caves of these mountains. Traditionally, the valley was a culturally distinct geographical called “Tsum Tso Chuksum”, which means thirteen provinces ruled as a single territory. The ancient remains of the Tsum Kingdom are still visible today. Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, this sacred valley and its people have been bypassed by mainstream development for centuries. As a result, the unique culture of this valley has remained intact.
We were walking through this area on our 3rd and 4th day.
Which means, getting up around 5:30am, having Tibetan bread and omelette for breakfast and GO! At that time, our feet did walk somehow automatically. Let's say we were in donkey mode :)
I remember one day at lunch, when we saw some guys that were around 30/35 years old... very athletic boys... great outfit... professional gear... very focussed, you know! And Jo said to me, "Hey look at them. This are real trekkers, man! That's the top league right there!" I was a bit embarrassed by that and just mumbled "so fucking what!". Those guys left and we finished our lunch.
About two hours later, we caught up and outdistanced them!!! These "pro's" had a lead of 15mins and we walked so much faster that we passed them - ridiculous! I just said to Jo "where is your fucking top league now?! MU GUMBAAAAAA!!!!" ...we never saw these guys again :D
Later we found out that it usually takes 14-15 days to go this trek. We did it in 8,5 days! Just for the record...
We had to go that fast, so Jo would catch his flight back home. Oh man...
During those days I thought my body would collapse just any minute. I had a terrible headache. My hands and fingers were totally swollen and my nose was bleeding all the time. No need to talk about my feet. I guess my whole system just switched to auto-mode. It was like a walking meditation...
Until we reached a sign that said: ATTENTION PLEASE! LANDSLIDE and FALL AREA AHEAD!
WTF??? It was a very narrow way, which existed out of loose stones and rocks. And right on the side it went down hundreds of meters. I couldn't take a photo, sorry. I couldn't do anything. My whole body was shaking again. Fear. Pain. Exhaustion. Madness... everything together. I was on my limit. And then that height! Any mistake could be fatal. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to go back, but I couldn't. I screamed. I hyperventilate. I cried. It was embarrassing, really... But that's how it was. I had so much fear... Why the hell am I doing this?
I don't remember exactly, but I think I was crawling on all fours. It was a nightmare! And again, we managed this obstacle and moved on. The only problem was, that I had to go back there again. Did you every have fear of fear? Well, that story comes later...
Meanwhile the landscape has changed completely. Trees were getting rare and the wind was getting colder.
Also the people looked much more Tibetan and we finally saw our first yaks. We have been at around 3000m altitude. It was so beautiful.
Because there are no trees up there, people need other resources for heating.
So they dry yak dung on the front side of their houses, which will be burned in those long winter nights.
The water you use for washing comes from the glacial river. It has around 0.5–3°C, which is just about warm enough that it doesn't freeze :) It's nice and tingles on your skin. The good thing is, when you wash yourself in the morning you will be awake right away. You just might hear someone screaming MU GUMMMBAAAAAAAAA...
And we invaded deeper and deeper into the Himalaya. I just wondered why people chose to live here.
On the fifth day, we finally arrived in MU GUMBA.