We started out our trekking adventure in Nepal with a very long day on a bus, well 3 buses actually. Not exactly knowing what we were in for we took the tourist bus to the town of Dumre from Kathmandu and were then told to catch a local bus to BhulBule, the start of our trek. The local bus was crazy! After much haggling over the price we jumped on board with our backpacks, they then jammed the bus to the brim with people as they strapped down gear to the top of the bus, many of the locals also jumped on top to ride. With a packed bus, people on top of us, no ventilation, and bumpy roads we were in for a treat. As destiny would have it, here is where we were to meet our trekking companions for the entire circuit, Ane & Gontzal, newlyweds from the Spanish Basque country. Bonding over the crazy ride we ended up hiking with them everyday and finding teahouses together every night as well as brushing up on our Spanish and newly discovered Basque along the way :)

Local Bus

Another local bus and many bumps later we felt like we had put in a good day on the trails, we were beat, but happy to find a clean room and nice dinner of dal bhat at our first tea house. We couldn't wait to start our first actual day of hiking in the morning, and we made it a long one. Covering about 13 miles we climbed through the lush lowlands along terraced farmlands and got our first feel for the amazingly friendly Himilayan people who always greeted us with a 'namaste' and a smile. We rounded off our first day with some cold Everest beers and the beginning of many nights of laughs and conversation with our new hiking buddies Ane & Gontzal.

Through the Grass

Our days were simple: breakfast in the morning at the teahouse, hike for hours, stop for tea and lunch, continue to hike, find a teahouse and then enjoy dinner and card games of hearts as we planned out the next day. The accommodations were basic, see the attached bath below, but they were mostly clean and comfortable and all served up a good variety of food. We had our share of dal bhat, the staple lentil and rice dish of the region, but were surprised to find a wide array of food at most of the restaurants and the bakeries that popped up along the way. I hadn't imagined eating a croissant or apple pie in remote areas of Nepal! We were winding our way along, taking in the impressive waterfalls and ever changing scenery as we gained elevation with one large goal in mind, climbing over Thorong La pass.

The great thing about this trek was that every day the scenery was totally different, and on our third day we got to see our first 8,000 meter peak, Manaslu. We were stunned with how impressive the mountain backdrops were and were more impressed as we continued up. Almost looking fake at times, the snow capped peaks looked like someone had painted them in behind the quaint villages and farmland we passed through.

The circuit, which depending on how you hike it can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days, but the majority of people hike in a counter clockwise direction and summit the highest point, Thorong La, after about 10 days. Due to the high elevation of the pass, 17,700+ feet, you have to be careful to avoid AMS (acute mountain sickness) and must pace your daily accents and plan at least one rest day so that you can acclimatize appropriately. After about a week on the trail we had a day of rest, to acclimatize, in Manang. Rest is figurative, as we still spent the day hiking, only without the packs, we decided to trek up to a small gompa (buddhist temple) on the hillside overlooking the town of Manang. While there we were blessed by and shared tea with the 94 year old lama and his daughter who lived there. Happy to give our sore backs and weary legs a break we were starting to feel anxious for the coming days. The weather was getting colder and we knew it would be a few hard days of hiking to get over the pass. Also, our friend Ane had started to suffer some of the chronic signs of AMS, headaches, shortness of breath, and nausea, so we were worried about her and the challenge ahead.

Manang Below

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Hi friends!! very good job! and wonderful pictures! now pls translate to spanish, because our family & friends want to read our trek journal!

    Enjoy your trip, we're just packing everything for the back... :(
    Hope to see you soon.

    Gutxi gora behera? ;)