There is always an element of excitement landing in Kathmandu this time I flew with Malayasian Airlines as they had such a fantastic deal. When I checked in at Sydney airport I thought that I would treat myself to a paid upgrate, no such luck I missed out on the last seat,being a promotion deal of $750 the were snapped up like a sale in Myers. By rights the plane should have only been at 80% capacity which would have seen me lying horizontal for 7-1/2 hours, today is not my day! The morning flight was cancelled due to technical problems so those passengers spilled over to our flight and it was chockers!! Never mind at least leaving at 10pm one is read to sleep and thankfully I managed to do that for at leaset 5 of the 7-/12 hours. On arrival I checked myself into the transit hotel $45 for 5 hours slept for 3 then freshened up and onto the next leg of my journey to Kathmandu. After an un eventfull 4-1/2 hour flight we were finally greeted by our first glimpse from the plane window the awesome peak of Everest standing in her glory surrounded by other snow-capped peaks, the sky was blue and the usual billowing clouds hovered over distant villages and valleys below. It is a sight that I always love, until of course we drop another few thousand meters into a cloud of black pollution of the Kathmandu valley Why do we destroy the things and places we love so much I will never know. Thankfully we are only here for a few hours before boarding our flight to the beautiful pristine city of Pokhara where our adventure will begin. The domestic airport is a hive of chaos with trekkers, guides, bags and gear, everyone excited and nervous to get to their next destination where their adventure will begin, the intercom crackles as the flights are called, or some cancelled due to bad weather in the mountains, you can tell by the look on the faces of those who will not be travelling to their destination they look shattered and frustrated to have to spend another night in Kathmandu. Others are jubilant as they grab their bags and head to the tarmac, luckily we one of those few. Our plane takes off into the blue sky above, we travel parallel east to west along the mighty Himalaya below we can see masses of switch back trails leading to small villages, rivers and waterfalls rapidly flowing into the Trisuli river which finally reaches its destination in the Ganges. The plane takes a sharp turn over Begnas Lake and I know that we have nearly reached our destination of Pokhara, the landing is smooth, within 2 minutes we are out of the small aircraft out luggage has been unloaded and the next group of passengers heading to Kathmandu are boarding. Fresh air, pristine mountains, this is why .
Our next 6 days of trekking took us to Ghorepani and Poon Hill standing at 3200mts. On our first morning we boarded our bus with our hullabaloo of porters, bags and gear, excitement started to grow amongst our small group of women. The 3 hour drive to the start of our trek took us on a winding road past fields and river gorges, over bridges fit for lesser things it;s up and up on at least a sealed road, our smiling driver, takes it all in his stride blasting his horn as we approach the next hairpin bend. Our porters are are all in fine tune singing songs and beating on the famous Nepali drum. Finally we come to the place where mountain tames the road and we spill out with much ado, the epic trek begins. We all agree that being on two feet is better than sitting in a bus on a Nepalese highway.
The porters move with fearsome pace, their baskets loaded high, their strength and speed puts us all to shame. The Nepalese are an extremely happy breed and proud, non poorer on this earth, but rich with love of life. It took us about 1/2 hour to organise our own light day packs, get the trekking poles to the right length, slap on the sunscreen, have that last minute toilet stop, as one never know when the next loo will be situated. The trail takes us down and I can see the look on the ladies faces thinking at least we are not ascending yet. We follow a winding trail through the very busy town of Nyapul, most towns situated on main highways are a hive of industry, we pass donkeys loaded with goods, children playing in what we think as very dirty conditions, but who are we to say when our children are lathered in antiseptic wash everyday. We follow a dirt road for a few hours before entering a narrow trail which follows a raging river coming down from the snow capped peaks beyond, we pass small villages paddy fields of rice and wheat, small water mills shrines, we cross small landslides that have been there on my many previous visits. treks. The scenery on our first day is spectacular. The next few days we ascend the weather is hot, we have many rests finding shade where ever we can. drinking water is of the utmost importance, everyone sets their own pace. Finally Ulleri is in our sights, we have just climbed 3840 stone steps, our porters have been there for 30 minutes, they are amazing such strength. We plonk ourselves down exhausted after the 3 hour climb, lunch of noodles, rice, lentils is looking good.
Rested and revived we head on up to our destination of Ghorepani, thankfully the temperature is beginning to fall as we climb alongside a rapidly flowing river, sometimes in between the canopy of forest, we glimps a blasting waterfall, our guide stops and tells us to be quite, he has spotted a monkey, not any ordinary monkey but a white faced haa not just one but a whole family. We head on an upward finally reaching our destination, relief and joym euphoria blows our jubilant mind as a window opens and we get a glimpse of mountains on a massive scale. We reach our lodge all very tired but relieved and inspired that we endured the tough climb, possibly the most difficult of the whole 6 days, well we still have to reach Poon hill! Dinner shower and off to bed as it is an early start of 5am for the gruelling climb to Poon Hill, I think I have acutally lost count of how many times I have made this journey, but the reward at the end is worth the effort. We dorn our head touches, and head out of our cosy lodge slowly, slowly one foot in front of the other, stop take a few breaths, after 15 minutes we stop and peel off some layers, our guide, porters are with us they take our packs and run on ahead, I can see the look on the others faces, thinking how do they run at this altitude I can hardly put one foot in front of the other. After 1 hour we see the view tower and know it is only a few more minutes and we will have reached out some what small summit. We stand with hundreds of other trekkers waiting for that small glimpse of sunlight that will greet us to begin another day. It is an awesome sight being surrounded by the mighty Himalaya peaks of Annapurna 1, Annapurna South Dhaulagiri and of course Fishtail (Machhapuchhre) below is we see a carpet of cloud hovering over Ghorepani and other villages siutated thousands of meters below. Wow! is that where we came from says one of my clients. We stay to admire the view sipping on Chia before heading back to our lodge for a well earned breakfast of porridge eggs toast and hot chocolate. Bags packed and we are back on the trail, we climb again but this time through beautiful rhododendron bushes amass with red, white and pink flowers, the climb is tuff we are still at altitude we look across to Poon Hill and realise that we are nearly at the same height, its incredible to think how your mind controls your body to keep going. To me this is the most beautiful part of the trek as we descend through a mass of rhododendrom forest and trees that have been there for many years, you feel like you are in another world, it is so peacefull and tranquil. The next few days are Nepali flat, which of course is up down up down. across, swinging bridges through small villages, more amazing scenery, stunning mountain views and of course with the support of our wonderful, happy, smiling friendly Nepalese staff, we would never have accomplished our journey without them. The last triumphant yards a blur of hearty praise, with hugs and backs slapped, a trip that will not be easily forgot in our enflamed adventurous hearts.