Toughest Girl: Luisa Sousa from Portugal. Traveling independently she had no sleeping bag at Thorung Phedi Lodge where the temperatures reached 10 below Celsius. She was also seen eating Garlic Sandwiches the next day in Muktinath.
Best Yak Burger: Tilicho Hotel, Jomsom. Excellent American style burger. Very meaty and tasty served with crisp English style Chips and tasty cole slaw. Right next to Jomsom airport.
Worst Toilet: Hands Down it was Thorung La High Camp. We got up there about 6:20AM and I went out to the toilet and had to maneuver around the turds lying all around the hole. Since it was below freezing up there there was no water to clean the toilets. The only plus was it was so cold that the smell was mitigated. I also could not think of closing the door with the smell so I stooped down with the door wide open and people outside walking about while I took care of business. Seems funny now but at the time not.
Best Pillow: Strange category but the Panorama View Hotel in Tadapani had a great big fluffy pillow that reminded me of the Heavenly Bed Pillows at the Westin Hotels. Of course after 17 days of trekking it may have been my imagination.
Worst Advice by a Trekker: That would be me. At the Thorung La Hotel I told several trekking buddies that after the pass it was all steps and with the euphoria of getting to the pass the downhill was relatively easy. I stated this based on doing the Pass in 2003. Turns out I must have been delusional as there were no stairs until Muktinath which was about 4 hours and a very difficult downhill trek through ice and snow. Both my guide, Subai, and I wiped out once.
Best Dhal Bhat: Paths of Dream Hotel in Muktinath. According to Subai, my guide as he and all the Nepali’s eat Dhal Bhat twice a day.
Worst Dhal Bhat: Thorung Phedi Lodge.
Best Observation by an Irishman: Gerard from Leetrim and now living near Kilmanhaim Jail in Dublin. “Nepal is the only place where a hotel room is cheaper than a beer”. In fact a single room on the trek was 150 rupees or about $1.50 and a beer was $3 to $4 depending on the elevation of the teahouse. I also am unsure whether Gerard was happy the rooms were so cheap or upset that the beer was relatively expensive compared to the rooms.
Biggest Sandwich: The Paradise Hotel in Kagbeni. They had a veggie burger that was 3 layers in between 4 pieces of bread with salad and chips. I immediately dubbed it the “Paul Austin” sandwich. I had trekked the previous few days with Paul and was amazed at his appetite. At the high elevations I could barely finish a meal and in fact he helped me finish a few. In Yak Kharka I accused him of being a hobbit as he ate a big lunch at 2PM and was ordering dinner at 5. Incidentally, Paul did the Thorung Pedi to Thorung La walk in 2 1/4 hours which amazed me. I did it in 4 1/2 and “the toughest girl on the circuit” did it in 3 1/2.