My inability to keep up with blogging can be mostly blamed on the long walk we did here in Nepal, half because there wasn’t internet, and half because I’m just now regaining the strength necessary to revisit the aforementioned long walk.
The total distance for our trek was about 130 miles, starting at an elevation of around 2,600 feet, and topping off at Thorung La (the pass) at around 17,800 feet. THAT’S A LOT OF FEET.
With our map and the occasional handy trail markings, we set off from Besisahar. We were so so ready to be done with crazy cities, pollution, and constant price negotiations for awhile. Here’s an example of one of the not remotely confusing trail blazes.
The first few days featured a lot of bridge crossing, upping and downing as we made our way up the Marshyangdi river valley.
We quickly got used to the fact that the menus all featured the same limited options at fixed and inflated prices. After a long day of walking, though, you find a way to get excited about whatever happens to be on the plate in front of you.
There were pretty things to look at, mostly just hills and the beautiful (never ending) river winding its way through the valley. Occasionally, a waterfall to spice things up.
Along the way, we met many people who were using porters to help them carry their gear. We felt pretty good about ourselves for being hardcore enough to carry our own packs. Then, one day, these guys scooted by us:
They were djs, on their way to a gig some ways up the valley. They became our new heroes.
We spent a non-insignificant portion of our trek moving out of the way of a variety of hoofed mammals. http://youtu.be/eQ3eKvw03D8
Charles tried befriending many of them, with little success. I think they were worried we would make them carry our stuff up the hills. Can’t say I didn’t seriously consider it at times.
Eventually, we started getting up a bit higher, and things got prettier.
This is probably the most beautiful tea drinking bench in the world.
As we got higher up, the walking got harder. I started doing this a lot:
At one of the villages just before the pass, we joined up with some other trekkers so that we could play card games that involved more than two people. They were really cool, so we walked with them for a few days. They made us wake up really early to go over the pass, but at least it was pretty.
And we totally made it to the top! It was torture! By that I mean that it was the most amazing thing ever, now that it’s finished.
Cheap beer tastes so amazing at 17,800 feet.
Being at the top was, as you might expect, the highlight of the walk. By the next day, the surroundings had changed drastically. We unexpectedly found ourselves in a sand-colored wind tunnel. It wasn’t that cool.
Charles and the girls tried to make the best of it by jumping up and down on one of the bridges. Pretty sad all around. http://youtu.be/WXC63gPFVNY
After we got to the town of Jomosom, which is basically almost like being back in civilization, our group disbanded. The others wanted to get back to the real world as quickly as possible, so they suffered through some miserable hours of bussing and jeeping. Meanwhile, Charles and I were convinced that we would finish up using our own two (tired) feet.
Going down the western half, through the Kali Gandaki river valley was fine. Nothing too exciting, but warmer at least. Then it started raining. For days. We were so tired of walking and being wet all the time, that we shaved two days off the recommended time by just not stopping.
So it was, after 16 days of walking, we made it to the end of the trail in Nyapul. From there, we caught a bus to Nepal’s second largest city, Pokhara. The dude in charge of wrangling bus passengers took one look at our soggy, dirt encrusted bodies, then made us ride on top of the bus. Flying around blind mountain curves in the rain on top of a bus is quite an experience. I was too cold and terrified to get motion sick, at least.
To anyone who has made it to this point, thank you for reading! Tomorrow afternoon, we start our three days of flying to get back home, including a day in Shanghai along the way. I’m so excited for kale and tofu right now that I can hardly stand it.