Today was a day of ups and downs, both physically and mentally. Camp pack-up proceeded without interruption and I enjoyed a long downhill roll to Hewa Khola River, beneath Phidim. Up was the only way from the water’s side. As I slowly wound my way uphill, I thought through my options. Option 1: proceed with my plan to spend the next week or so camping through the mountains; hope that I get my stove working again; and hope that the blisters that have formed on my bum stop growing and causing me trouble. Option 2: return to Phidim; take some time to really understand my stove before having to rely on it in the wild; and take some time to sort out my seat so that bum blisters don’t become an issue. I disliked the fact that option 2 made more sense, as it felt like failing a little, but common sense prevailed and I decided to return to Phidim.

There was much more hustle and bustle in Phidim this time around, given the fact that the Diwali holiday period is over. Shops were actually open and there were places offering readily available cooked food. For the first time in Nepal, I was able to walk into a place and be served food almost immediately. I devoured some chow mein before returning to Singapore Guesthouse. Once settled in, I got to work.

My first mission was to find someone who could cut and weld my seat frame. My recent bum issues have arisen from the fact that the leather of my saddle has relaxed so much that my bum hits the metal frame. I thought I could cut out a piece of the frame and weld on a new section in a position further away from the leather top. I wandered all through town, but didn’t find anyone who could help. I turned to my second idea, which was to bend the frame away from the leather top. Impossible. By this point I was flustered and frustrated and needed to step away from it for a little. This led me to discover that the guesthouse has WIFI. I jumped on the internet and after a bit of searching, I hit upon a solution to my saddle troubles. I learned that I could stop the leather from sinking onto the metal frame by preventing the sides of the leather to splay out when I sat on it. One way of preventing the sides from splaying out is to lace up the saddle. I marked some holes in the leather then ventured out and found a garage with a drill. Back at home I laced it up using some paracord (a standard component of my gear repair kit). Voila. I am hopeful my seat problem is now solved.

My second mission was to gain confidence in using my multi-fuel burner with my Trangia stove. I cleaned the jet, then gave it a go. Nothing. I dismantled the whole burner, gave it a thorough clean and then tried it again. Nothing. I sat back and thought hard about what might be wrong. I began to suspect that not enough fuel was being released initially. I decided to completely soak the wick in fuel before trying it. Success.

With my two main problems solved, I could turn my attention to a third one that increased in significance throughout the day. I have messed up my back, which is now incredibly painful whenever I am sitting, standing, kneeling, lying…all the time. Wrestling my bike up and down hills (and/or hiking to Pathibhara with the weight of my bag on just one shoulder) has taken its toll. If it gets any worse I won’t be able to function. Despite such a dilemma, I’m still determined to spend at least the next week camping through the hills as I head west. I think I will stay in Phidim again tomorrow so I can rest my back and get properly prepared for my next adventure. I need to do some surgery to my riding sandals, as another strap tore out of the sole today. The work never ends. 

Phidim

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 24km
Average cycling speed 11.5kph
Total distance ridden 15,451km