Did you know that, in some parts of the world a little less supplied with trees, people were heating their stove with dried cow or yak dung? They pick up the dung and leave it to sundry and then use it to light the fires. The first time you smell it is quite surprising and just thinking about what burns makes it all more memorable. It does not exactly smell the burnt dung, but it is a strong and persistant smell that I now recognize every time. The first time I smelled it, I was in Mongolia.
Since then, I have crossed it a few times, among others in Ladakh in India and more recently in Nepal.
In Nepal, I had a nice hike in the Langtang valley. 7 days and 60km of walk, clean air and beautiful encounters. This is truly one of the highlights of my stay. In trek, the physical effort is quite intense and I travel as lightly as possible to avoid being inconvenienced by the weight of my bag. This time was no exception and I had planned only one set of clothes for the day and another one warmer for the evenings and the cold nights. Unfortunately, on the third day of my trek, the nice temperature was ruined by lots of rain and clouds. At the end of the day, arriving at the guest house, I was completely soaked and could not wait to take off my soaking wet clothes to put on dry ones.
When the old lady, owner of the guest house, saw me arrive completely soaked, she immediately told me to give her my clothes so I could leave them to dry by the fire, which I did with great pleasure.
« This time was no exception and I had planned only one set of clothes for the day and another one warmer for the evenings and the cold nights. »
Entering the room, I immediately recognized the famous smell of the “dung fire” and told myself that I would not leave my clothes too long in the room to avoid dragging the smell with me, considering that I had no spare.
« I immediately recognized the famous smell of the “dung fire” and told myself that I would not leave my clothes too long in the room to avoid dragging the smell with me. »
The thing is, I was tired and obviously forgot my clothes by the fire while going to sleep. The next morning, when I got up, I realized my forgetfulness and ran into the central room to pick them up. Too late… damage was done and I was forced to smell the yak poo (yes, it was apparently a yak!) until the next shower, in 4 days…
I finished the hike and managed to reach the highest peak of the surroundings despite a terrible weather. I climbed to an altitude of 4800m and was really proud to do it all, but each time I smelled the burnt yak dung, I could not help laughing at it. It made the whole thing a little less glorious!