Day 8 Phu
We spent two nights in Phu so had about one a half days to explore the place. Ideally I would have liked to stay at least 3 or 4 days because the whole area is so interesting. Here is list of what you could do...and there is probably much more.
- Spend time exploring the maze of houses in the village. Unfortunately I don't think that the locals speak any English but there is always sign language.
- Visit the gompa on the other side of the river. It is perched on the side of a hill and surrounded by many chortens and prayer flags. It's also worth walking up to the top of the hill (a few of the photos on this page are taken from up there) as you get great views towards the North, Himlung to the East and towards the South.
- Also from the top of that hill you will notice that a clear path heads straight towards the North and a sharply pointed peak (which is at the border with Tibet). I would have loved to have had the time to walk in that direction for a few hours.
- It's also possible to follow the Phu Khola towards Himlung Base Camp and probably beyond.
- Immediately to the South of Phu there is a higher settlement worth visiting. It takes only 30 minutes to walk up the hill opposite the village (on a precipitous path). You get to an open area with many terraced fields and quite a number of houses which were not in use when I was there. But they are not ruins either so I suppose that they might be used when cultivation is going on.
You get good views of Phu and the whole area from up there. It is also possible to keep walking up (probably up to a ridge at 5100m so this could be a whole day excursion) the hill.
I went up to about 4500m and stopped because there was hardened snow and I had no suitable gear for this sort of terrain. I saw large flocks of Himalayan Blue Sheep (it's neither blue nor is it a sheep as it belongs to the goats family!) including some of the largest males I ever saw and they were not very shy at all. This reminds me: Blue Sheep are a favourite food of snow leopards and this is a region where there are still plenty of them. But they are nocturnal and very shy so don't expect to see them. What I noticed though is that the flocks of domestic goats were brought back into the village and into the houses at nightfall so there are certainly predators around.
- Bird watching: without especially looking for them I saw several Bearded vultures (I think that they nest in the cliffs immediately to the South of the village) as well as Himalayan Griffon vultures and Golden Eagles so it is a great place for large raptors.