The overall experience is beyond imagination.
This trip was my first time to Nepal. Trekking and exploring a small section of its beautiful landscape (the Annapurna circuit) from Besisahar to Pokhara. The overall experience was beyond my imagination, astonishing views of magnificent mountains with snow capped peaks, moss-laden rhododendron forests that seemed enchanted and farmed terraces. It’s difficult finding the appropriate adjectives to truly explain the grandeur of the views. Even the photos don’t show the depth and beauty of this Nepalese landscape.
It wasn’t until we started the drive from Kathmandu (via the local highway) that I noticed, what I first thought were clouds in the sky but were snow covered mountains. I was awestruck by their size, reaching higher than the clouds. I could feel a small twinge of excitement come over me, “This is going to be one hell of trek”.
As we walked, it was immediately evident that we were about to see the promised diversity written of our Nepalese trek, the Annapurna Circuit. We ascended along the Marsyangdi River Valley and passed beneath the snow-capped Annapurnas II, III and IV and a range of other 6,000m peaks. The highpoint of our trek, crossing the Thorong La pass (5416m) after a 3 hour very early morning walk from High Camp. It was -13°C at the top. After some loud cheering and photos, we headed down the other side to reach the holy shrine of Muktinath. We then descend into the mighty Kali Gandaki Valley (the deepest river valley on the face of the earth) 7000m deep between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The area was a vast windswept region under the shadows of those two mountains. This part of the trek took us across wasteland like landscapes, infertile ridges and windswept cliffs. At the end, we trekked through a wonderful rhododendron forest on the Gorepani Ridge and the picturesque Gurung villages before finishing back in the Pokhara Valley.
Not only did we face a few massive ascents we also had some long days of trekking. In saying that, I look back and would have to admit, we only spent a couple of weeks in the mountains trekking. Our porters (Indra and Mohan) carried our heavy gear, locals fed us and provided rooms. Life is tough in the mountains, food is difficult to grow and the variety available at lower elevations simply cannot thrive at the heights above 4,000 metres. Provisions are driven to the villages where there are roads (not smooth roads) and where there are no roads all gear and food is transported by either donkey or pony trains or by the locals themselves. The local people were always friendly and the children were always happy. Up in the higher elevations we saw Yaks, Blue Sheep and down in the lower levels we even saw a few wild monkeys living on the cliffs.
It has always been said that physical exercise can stimulate not only the body but the mind. Trekking in places like this amazing section of Nepal did that and more. The visual stimulation was never ending, every corner we turned it showed us more. I now understand this place would be unknown to everyday people with no interest in vacations spent trekking, just like me.
I consider myself lucky to have been a part of our little foursome trekking group from Picton way. It was a once in a lifetime experience and way above my expectations. It made for a truly unique and rewarding adventure.
I wanted to share with you all a brief story of where we’ve been. More details will come soon watch this space.