All the team have arrived in Kathmandu and, prior to setting out on our trek, we’re spending a couple of days here. Our first activity together was a pre-dawn walk up to the ancient, majestic, and enchanting, Swayambunath Temple. Swayambu never disappoints; a wonderful way to start the day. We returned to our hotel for a fortifying breakfast before setting out to visit another two UNESCO listed sites, Pashupatinath and Bodhanath. Kathmandu…the holy city, the destination of pilgrims…a living museum of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture…a centre of ancient trade routes…a major drawcard for lovers of adventure…a foodies delight…great local coffee…and more…and more…
Yesterday we departed Kathmandu, destination Soti Khola. The bus journey took 7hrs; not bad for 140kms!!! We stopped for a tasty lunch of dal bhat (rice, lentils, veg curry, pickles) at Jyamrung. Soti Khola is on the banks of the Budhi Gandaki, a glacier-fed river that rises in the Himalayan Mountain chain on the Nepal/Tibet border. We follow the raging waters of the Budhi for the next 10 days. The skies are clear, the temperature is warm, the trekkers are fit, and the mood of the group is eagerness and enthusiasm. Let’s go!
The adventure continues; two delightful days trekking up the narrowing canyon of the Budhi Gandaki Khola. The highlight has been the spectacular waterfalls cascading down the steep sided canyon. This afternoon we reached the quaint village of Jagat. We are lodged in the comfortable Mongolian Hotel and Lodge. Tonight, we dined on delicious veg soup, veg curry, spring rolls and apple pie for desert… fuel for tomorrow.
Six pictures attached to this post out of 200 taken in the past 4 days; near impossible to choose the best. We’ve ascended from Deng (1800m) to Samagaon (3530m) and the scenery along the way has been dramatically beautiful. We’re now in the Tibetan Buddhist influenced, high alpine country. The weather has been perfect; warm days, clear skies and cool (ok, freezing) nights. Here in Samagaon, we’re accommodated for the next two nights in the dubiously named ‘Distancing Confusion Hotel’ (I’m serious) Tomorrow is an acclimatisation day and we’re intending to walk up toward Manaslu Base Camp (4800m); our aim is to acclimatise to a higher altitude then descend to sleep at a lower altitude. This will help prepare us for the days ahead.
Acclimatisation day in Samagaon village. We took a leisurely stroll (some may disagree with that judgement) up the trail leading to Manaslu Base Camp and ascended just over 600m to an altitude of 4130m, 270m higher than our next overnight stay. A great result for a half day walk. We arrived back at our hotel for lunch – cheese roti and local mushroom pizza. We spent the afternoon at rest because we deserved it! Top effort team.
A short walk this morning to our next overnight stop at Samdo. The scenery just gets better. In Samdo, we’re staying for 2 nights in the slightly less than salubrious Yak Hotel with its comfy, sunlit dining room. An acclimatisation walk is on the agenda for tomorrow. Our aim is to ascend about 600m to equal our altitude 2 days hence. The adventure continues!
The main objective of our trek, the crossing of Lakya La, a 5106m pass in the Nepal Himalaya, has been successfully achieved thanks to the determination and grit of all the trek participants. Special thanks to our hardworking and professional Nepali trek crew. It would be a gross understatement to say we couldn’t have done it without their willing support; delivered, as usual, in a polite and cheerful manner. We started the crossing before dawn from the base camp at Dharamsala, 4460m, reached the pass after 6 hours of tough going in cold conditions. Perfect weather was given us by the trekking gods as we commenced our descent from Lakya La. Hard packed snow and a steep trail meant we had to fix mini spikes to our boots for added traction.
After we got off the snow, there were still many hours remaining before we reached Bhimtang, 3725m, our overnight stop. It was, from start to finish, a 13-hour day. Now we’re in Gowa, 2300m, enjoying the lower altitude and warm(ish) weather. WELL DONE TEAM!
With the trek completed, the team is back in Kathmandu. The beautiful sunny weather we enjoyed the entire trek remained as the last of us trekked into Tilje (2300m). We managed to cram trekkers, crew, and baggage into 3 jeeps for the 4-hour ride on a rough road down the spectacular Marshyangdi Khola gorge to our final overnight stop in the town if Besisahar (720m). Teeth and bones still rattling from the road trip, we assembled in the dining room of the Gangapurna Hotel for a last night celebration with our wonderful crew. Awake early next morning, thanks to alarm clocks that sounded similar to crowing roosters, barking dogs and steel shutters crashing open, we merrily (merrily? are you serious?) boarded our bus for the all-day journey back to Kathmandu…weary but elated. That was one amazing trek. Thank you to the trekkers, the guides, the porters, the beautiful people of Nepal and spectacular Himalayan scenery.