Day 3: Bhandar - Sete
This stage is filled with tremendous views of steep terraced hills and lush greenery in every direction. Although part of the day is spent descending to Kenja, the second half of this stage has one of the steepest and most difficult ascents, climbing nearly 1000 meters from Kenja to Sete in about 2-3 hours at the end of the day.
The day starts with a gradual 3 hour descent from Bhandar (2200 meters) to Kenja (1640 meters), a lovely & sleepy village close to the Kenja Khola River. The hike downhill from Bhandar to Kenja passes numerous farms, terraced fields, small teahouses, & stone cabins houses either abandoned or used to store crops. Villagers were friendly and sold us some local treats . Our guide informed us that this region is populated with Rai, Sherpa, & Tamang. Although it rained for most of the day the clouds broke for 30 minutes, we had spectacular views of surrounding terraced and forested mountains that will remind you of a mixed tropical & high Appalachian climate. ***Note: If it rains you will encounter leeches. Remember to bring salt with you to sprinkle (or use warm salt water) on the leeches if they attach to your body and they will fall off quickly without incident. Farmers are mostly growing rice & millet in addition to various leafy greens. Entering Kenja you have numerous dining options and we welcomed a hot bowls of Rara (Raman type) Noodle soup and hot lemon tea. Kenja is a good town for basic facilities such as pay phones (located in most lodges) for calling home and you have numerous sleeping/eating options. However we recommend carrying on to Sete due to the really tough ascent ahead. After Kenja you will immediately begin a steep & arduous 900 meter climb in a 2-3 hour period to Sete (2580 meters) which is the next hamlet with facilities. The rain was pouring and we just put our heads down, repeated our mantras, and kept truckin' along. This can be a time of self doubt & self reflection. Don't despair, just keep going and you will be rewarded in the following days. Unless you are highly motivated and in amazing shape, you will most likely stop for the night in Sete however you can keep climbing for another 1 hour to Dagchu.