Saturday, November 10, 2012

Trekking Day 1 - Nayapul to Ulleri

So, back to Pokhara. We met up with Santa the day before the trek and he joined us in the hotel for breakfast (this was the day I went paragliding). We took our equipment off him and, that evening, packed for an early departure the following day.

Santa turned up at 6am with a taxi which was to take us to our start point, Nayapul. We sped through dark Pokhara but before entering the Annapurna Sanctuary, passed this beautiful view of the Annapurna mountain range and Alfie took this excellent panorama:

Breakfast happened in Nayapul (1070m) before we set off on the trek. And so we walked. And walked and walked. And it looked like this:


A few hours of walking the gentle ascent, past rice and then millet fields, and we reached Tikhedhunga (1540m). For the next hour and a half, we gained over 450m while climbing some relentless steep stone steps - 3280 of them in total! This was probably the most physically demanding period of the entire trek, and we were glad to reach Ulleri at the top and the lunch that awaited us there...


Ulleri (2010m), to our surprise, was actually our destination for the night as well as for lunch, so we had a very pleasant afternoon relaxing in the sun reading (I had brought no books with me on the trek, so had no alternative but to buy the only English novel in the lodge - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen for 200Rp! At least it might remind me of Bath!

The lodge we were staying at was very simple - there were some tables outside, some more inside, and a collection of unheated bedrooms with two beds apiece (plus some more accommodation for the guides elsewhere). But it had oodles of charm and was a pleasant place to relax - and impressive that it was there at all, since the last road stopped just after Nayapul and everything here had to have either grown in-situ or carried by man or, occasionally, pony up all those steps! A French group was in residence when we arrived, which provided an interesting diversion as I tried to hold a conversation using my much-neglected French (not something I imagined I would do in Nepal...). Good practice for later, it turned out...

Soon, we were joined by some more treckers - notably, a large school group of 13 sixth-formers from Croyden, accompanied by two teachers and an expedition leader, and 4 porters carrying all the luggage! It turned out that there were 2 other groups from the school, undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh award on the trek, carrying tents and food with them as they went (and I did not envy them!). This group consisted of those who wanted to trek but not do D of E and was therefore much more relaxed. They were good company, especially the teachers and leader, as were a Canadian father-and-daughter team David and Roxanne, with whom we had dinner.

After dinner, we watched with amusement as the guides played a game crossed between table hockey and pool, flicking discs into others across a chalked surface in an attempt to get them in the corner pockets. There was also a cultural dancing troupe passing through the village, making the weirdest sounds, but we were soon to bed early - after all there is not actually that much to do after the sun sets!


I was very glad indeed for my nice warm sleeping bag. Although the day was very warm, nights are cold at 2000m up...
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1 comment:

  1. Such an interesting read and how fit you must be feeling now....You will be leaving the family behind on the ski slopes! Keep up the good work. AML Mum xxx