Vasu and I retreated to an amazing hidden gem for a night after the Mukteshwar Marathon madness. Sonapani is an eco friendly resort nestled on the side of the mountain. Each little bungalow has solar hot water (for bucket baths) and is simply and beautifully furnished. Meals were served in a lovely dining room where we ate on the porch and shared tales with other guests. After the mountain marathon run, my legs were incapable of going up and down stairs, prompting many humorous moments.
One of the bungalows.
These shoes have seen hundreds of miles.
The best chai – black, with fresh ginger.
The best cheerleader, Himalayan companion, chaiwalla, and spider remover: lovely lady Vasu.
This weekend we trekked to the nearby Dak Bungalow, a 110 year old British building that has been restored as a homestay by an absolutely lovely couple. We trekked to the Bungalow for a few hours, passing many trees showing the classic signs of fuel gathering (bottom and easy to reach branches have been chopped and carried away).
These Dak (Mail) bungalows were built ten miles apart by the british. The old signpost still stands (or perhaps leans is more accurate) marking this spot between the outposts at Kathgodom (the modern train station) and Almora, the large town we saw in the distance.
And then a storm hit. Power was gone for over 24 hours.
Wind blown flower petals scented the air as the first drops fell. The birds fell silent as the rain found it voice. Wildfires stared on the mountain opposite us and raged all night and into the morning; an unbroken circle of flame. Our candles flickered and faltered in the wind.
In the morning, we ventured out for a hike but kept sprinting to nearby shelter when the rain found us.
The Dak Bungalow is in the middle of the village Peora, which was one of the villages that we surveyed for our cookstove research project. Over several days last summer, we walked through the entire village randomly sampling households – here’s a view of the village.
We had such a refreshing stay before trekking back to work.