Boxing Day 2016 Al, Lucia, Phil and I flew to Kathmandu for a 3 week adventure in the Himalayas. Here are some photos and some words from this amazing trip in an amazing country filled with amazing people.
Enjoyed exploring Kathmandu for 3 days, eating nom noms (dumplings), shopping, visiting monkey temples, hindu temples, visiting a river crematorium, walking the streets seeing Nepali people going about their daily business.
The night before we were to leave Kathmandu for a 9 hour bus trip to the start of the hike I found myself on the bathroom floor with food poisoning. Less then ideal. They put me on a bench next to the driver to lay down for the 9 hour hectic trip on rough windy 4wd road. Survived that and straight to hotel in Pokhara. 2 hour bus trip to the next town to start the hike to Annapurna Base Camp.
Tek, Dahl and Munsing our trusty guide and porters were fantastic. They really made the trip even more special, teaching us about their wonderful country, language and culture. The weather was perfect during the day – shorts and tee shirts weather. Walked through little villages, terrace farming, friendly himalayan dogs, buffalos, goats.
So many steps! 3000 in total for the day. Technical terrain, jungle trails, waterfalls, incredible views. Slow going as hadn’t recovered. Woke at 4.30am to walk loads of steps to watch the sunrise at Poon Hill, most amount of people we had seen the whole trek as it was an intersection for many other hikes. It was freezing cold, thanks Phil for the trusty hand warmers (sorry for teasing you about these prior to leaving Aus) the sunrise was nothing on Marlo sunrises and when all the other tourists thought it was unbelievable we thought how lucky we are to live in Marlo.
As we got higher the weather got colder, we started seeing amazing mountains, waterfalls were freezing as the water fell and we crossed a few sketchy bridges and frozen waterfalls. Lots of donkeys and cows! Advised that there no Yaks in the region which we were really hoping to see. The Nepali people were unbelievably friendly. Here is a country that has been devastated by earthquakes, and have so little, have wonderful smiles on their faces and so helpful. Families sitting in one little room with corrugated sheets for walls and a roof sitting around watching a little TV. Enjoying toast and pancakes for breakfast, Veggie dahl baht for lunch and dinner.
Walking through the snow, as we got higher the tea houses become colder with no heating Games of 500 then into bed by 630 to escape the freezing cold! No shower for 13 days. Made it to Machhupuchre Base Camp, got to -18 overnight. The plan was to head to Annapurna Base Camp in the morning. I woke up 8 times in the night to wee, a tough ask when its -18 outside. The water in my bottle next to my bed was frozen solid, the bucket of water to put in the drop toilet had frozen solid, and there was a thin layer of ice on the tiles surrounding the toilet bowl in the ground making for a sketchy visit. I also woke up a few times gasping for air, not realising at the time I was starting to get altitude sickness. We headed up to Annapurna Base Camp and shortly into the hike I started feeling very wonky and had to sit down in the snow. Tek and Phil encouraged me to return to base camp, I did, but as I descended I started feeling better, and thought to myself, I didn’t com all this way to give up, Im going back up! So up again I headed with my head down knowing I would probably get into trouble when I reached the rest of the crew. But alas, in pretty much the exact same spot I started feeling very ill and had to return to MBC, after a hot cup of tea I wasnt getting any better so Al and I legged it down the descent and once we had reached an altitude below 3000m I started to come good.
We enjoyed the next few days descending back to where we started, and spent a couple of days exploring Pokhara. Rented a canoe and went for some nice walks by the lake. Upon return to Kathmandu we headed straight to Himalayan Singletrack to meet up with the Nepali mountain bike boys who had been away competing in the Nationals. We enjoyed a cup of coffee with Ajay who made no mention he was a 5 x national champion and 5 x Yak Attack champion! We chatted all things bikes and also Nepal Ride to Rescue and how the organisation is rebuilding schools destroyed in the earthquake. We made a plan to head out on a mountain bike ride with the for 2 hours the next day.
We only had a pair of baggies and teeshirt and hired a Giant Talon for the ride. 10 Nepali riders turned up in fully pro gear just fresh off Nationals and Yak Attack, including the National Champion, on super rad expensive bikes. Oh dear hope we can keep up! We rolled through the hectic traffic of Kathmandu, stopping by a fire to warm up – no gloves = freezing cold at 7am! We saw one of the schools that NCRR helped rebuild. We went on a spectacular ride through the Kathmandu Valley and through a National Park. Some mega climbs and great views on muddy, sandy, sketchy fire road, stuck behind random types of traffic.
Like most MTB bunch rides we stopped for some skills practice of riding down stairs, and it doesnt matter where in the world you go on a bunch ride with boys they always like to show off! The ride went for 4 hours, with a stop in a little tea house half way through for a cup of tea and a boiled egg with beans! An amazing day that I will never forget.
I have so many photos still to share so will do a few more blog about Nepal with photos and encourage you all to visit this amazing country! Al and I are heading back over in September to ride Upper Mustang Valley which we cant wait for! Nepal really got into our hearts! Namaste!