Today we walked in an upwards trajectory of about 85%. At a speed which can only be considered as challenging. In a temperature that is better described as bloomin’ hot. It was hard.
We’d already met our guide, Druga, in Kathmandu, during a jet-lag fuelled day of booking our whole Nepal trip in one foul swoop. We paid £500 for 2x Everest mountain flight, a three day trek including transport to and from Pokhara, guide, food and accommodation for both of us and a three day jungle trip for two including meals, accommodation, activities and all transport up until the Indian border. Phew.
The travel agent described Druga as our father because he is older with a friendly face and a kindly manner. The travel agent has clearly never met my father. Druga’s pretty nifty with gadgets too, he was so much better at using Tim’s iPad than me. He met us at 7am and took us for breakfast. We had a pancake each.
Take note trekkers, no matter how short the day’s walk, eat all your breakfast… and the breakfast of the person next to you too. Sometimes what sounds like a three hour stroll turns out to be a treacherous struggle up a cliff.
Don’t get me wrong, the views stretched for miles and, to our amazement, we saw wild monkeys playing. But for at least half the ‘photo’ stops, I was actually trying not to die.
As well as stopping to watch the wild monkeys, we also stopped to watch the lesser known wild paraglider. At the bottom. From the middle. Three quarters of the way up. We watched them a lot. It got really good near the top as we could see them take off. “I’m flying” one girl squealed as she got told off for putting her camera before safety. It was all the more exciting because we were going to do the same thing just a few days later.
At the top of the ‘hill’ we could see for miles, from the city of Pokhara to the Annapurna mountain ranges. We even got a peek at the peaks – actual snow capped peaks.
We sat and took it all in with a massive helping of Dhal Bhat. And the best part? They kept filling our plate with golden lentil soup, fluffy white rice, rich vegetable curry, a fresh salsa-esque lime pickle and fresh green vegetables. I am hungry just thinking about it.
Then the storm started. At first huge gusts of wet fog started rolling in. The sun shone through the clouds making the sky look eerie and thunderous. We took cover in the restaurant (a concrete hut), before heading to bed by 8pm to keep warm. That’s when the thunder and the lightening started. And all of a sudden the veranda/balcony was filled with people all watching the purple and pink electric jabs light up the valley.
We got up at 5 to walk to Sarankot viewpoint. It was up another hill. I was not impressed. Not only was I deprived of coffee, but my legs were still cross with me. I turned to Tim and said “I’m not sure this is worth it, what can we possibly see up there that we can’t see here.” Turns out quite a lot. From the viewpoint you are surrounded by snow capped mountains and as the sun slowly rises it coats the top of them in a golden glow, or fishtail as it’s known.
Once back we ate breakfast quickly: toast and jam, eggs, spiced potatoes cooked with peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes. And a well earned cup of coffee. Now that’s a trekker’s breakfast… (according to the menu). We took a deep breath and set off on our six hour hike.
It was a breeze. We only stopped twice, once before we started going up and once when we were nearly at the top (although we didn’t know it was so close at the time). That took us to 2000 metres.
Breakfast kept us well fuelled as we trotted through the rice fields, ambled through the villages and trundled up the 3194 meter mountain.
We ate lunch on the roof of our guest house in Dhampus and the views of the Annapurna ranges were even better. We’d gone as far as we could into the hills without a permit.
In the evening there was a power cut so we ate by candle light, before heading to bed carrying our candles like Florence Nightingale. If it weren’t for the rats in the wall that woke me in the middle of the night, I would have left that place with nothing but fond memories.
The last day was too easy, we simply walked down the mountain. In Nepal if you get told 2 nights and 3 days, it means 2 days, 2 nights and a lift back.
Still we had a lot of fun and it got us excited for trekking in Peru next year.
If you’re in Nepal, give Druga (www.visitviewnepal.com) a shout and he’ll walk you through the rice fields and along paths that are invisible to the western eye. Good luck!
Oh, and heres a link to our trekking video blog… https://vimeo.com/51982222