The last day of hiking northward was along the dirt road that now extends from Tibet to two days south of Lo Manthang. In a few years the road will reach Jomsom, and constant traffic will break the tranquility of Upper Mustang. But for now traffic is limited to a couple trucks and tractors each day.
Fortunately, one of these trucks came along just as we finished crossing the first stream canyon. Marcia was still feeling ill from altitude, so we flagged down the truck and got her seated with the driver and two local girls in the cab. Our guide Kinna went along with the other men on top of the load.
I opted to keep walking. The road was generally flat and easy, though at the end it climbed over the 4000-meter Lo Pass. The weather was beautiful, giving crystal-clear views of Annapurna I, Nilgiri, and the other mountains to the south. I even caught a glimpse of the top of Dhauligiri, though real views will have to wait until our return down the east side of the valley.
From Lo Pass, I could see the walled city of Mustang's capital Lo Manthang and the irrigated green fields that surrounded it. Even more impressive was the huge, multi-colored valley that stretched up to the Tibetan border, towards which the upper Kali Gandaki river continues to eat.
Kinna met me at the pass and showed me to our lodging. Because of the festival, all guesthouses and camping areas were full, but Kinna had arranged for us to stay in the house of one of his friends. The house was at the southwest corner of the inner city, putting us right in the center of the action. We slept in the house gompa.