Arriving to Manang after bursting blisters when a thunderclap scared me into a heavy trot. This woman and the field of pink buckwheat set me at ease. Resting at the foot of Gangapurna, beneath its soaring glacier, acclimating, eating tsampa, and chaang -- rice wine said to ward off the bitter alpine cold. Tibetan prayer flags kept me company, and the sound of the river and silence. Children climbed mani walls and spun prayer wheels in the dusty streets.