With the sun fully risen, people began departing from Poon Hill. The clouds were intensifying over the peaks; it didn’t look like sticking around any longer was going to yield rewards. I wandered around and took a few more photos. Sol took a few pictures of me in front of the mountains. I asked Sol if we could take a picture together, and we snapped a selfie. I look tired and scruffy, but very happy.
Tempted by the prospect of breakfast waiting for us back at the lodge, Anker, Saffron and I waved goodbye to the mountains, and began our descent.
As we walked down the hill, we stopped to rest at the base of a huge communications tower. Prayer flags fluttered were strung from the struts to nearby trees; a wonderful juxtaposition between modernity and tradition. Thinking it was a cell tower, I took out my phone, hoping to send Holly a few pictures from Poon Hill. No Service. I asked Anker, who I’d seen receive a phone call on the way up the hill, if it was a cell tower.
“Yes,” he said. “What SIM card you have? NCell?” I nodded. He shook his head. “No NCell here. Good in cities, bad in the mountains. You need Nepal Telecom.”
The crowd beneath the cell tower grew, as more people took the cue and checked their phones for service. I put my phone away. We kept walking down.
Breakfast was a huge affair. I ordered a breakfast set, and got coffee, four pieces of toast, eggs, ham, and muesli with warm milk. Saffron had the same. It kept us full all day, and we ended up skipping lunch.
Before we departed Ghorepani, Sol tracked me down and returned my gloves. Amidst the pleasure of breakfast and the warmth of the rising sun, I’d completely forgotten she still had them.
“Enjoy your trek!” she said as we hugged goodbye.
“Have fun in India!” I rejoined.
“Add me on Facebook,” she said. “For the pictures.”
I promised yes, I would add her, and she set off down the hill, looking happy to have the end of her trek in sight. I could never bring myself to do it though. She’s better left there, in memory: a brief shining spot upon a hill.