Pokhara Trekking Wrap-Up

Today’s much a repeat of yesterday, Anderson attempting to lay low and let his eye relax, while Liz suffers through the boredom nobly alongside him. We’ve been in touch with a very helpful optician from Colorado, Dr. Simonson, so it seems that the recommended course of action for Anderson’s eye is sound. Now it just needs to work, which it seems to be doing, as his left eye vision has improved since yesterday. Fun, fun. Anyways, to backtrack in time a bit, here are some more details of our trekking on the Ghorapani – Ghandruk loop, albeit on a northerly-altered route such that we skipped Ghandruk entirely, opting instead to relax in Junidanda’s hot springs. Talk about a spoiler!

Day 1: Pokhara -> Naya Pul (2 hours by local bus – 80 Rs/person); Naya Pul -> Ulleri (4.5 hours walking, including a final stretch up 3200 stone steps; also where A’s eye problems began)
Day 2: Ulleri -> Ghorapani (4.5 hours walking, mostly up hill, though not too steeply; highest point of elevation for a lodge, at 2800 meters)
Day 3: Ghorapani (stayed for the day, went to Poon Hill, 3200 meters, for sunrise, also went on a day hike for 1.5 hours in the surrounding woods, before the rain arrived; being at altitude, and walking most of the way there, ended up being rather tiring, plus our bodies needed a day to adjust to the rigorous new method of transportation)
Day 4: Ghorapani -> Tadopani (5 hours walking, first hour was ridiculously leech-laden, often times many on each step, but saw some good views along the way; less traveled section of trails, which was nice, and after 1.5 hour of steady uphill, was mostly easy hiking)
Day 5: Tadopani -> Junidanda (6+ hours walking, along some tough trails, went a back route inadvertantly up through the hills and had to do a bit of death-defying trail-climbing; went down to hot springs at the end of our day, 15 minutes down, 20 minutes back up – 2 pools of differently-heated water, set right next to a roaring river, were perfect to relax in after an exhaustingly long day of trekking through seemingly endless hills!)
Day 6: Junidanda -> Sayuli Bazaar (4 hours of primarily level walking, lot of downhills, though legs weary from the day before, as well as a late morning 2nd visit to the hot springs!)
Day 7: Sayuli Bazaar -> Naya Pul (1.5 hours of very easy downhill walking, the initial section to Bantanthi was supposed to take 2 hours, took us just over 1 hour, which fittingly demonstrated the lack of accuracy, as well as the variety, in the ever-evolving series of sign-posted time estimates all along the various paths); Naya Pul -> Pokhara (bit under 2 hours by local bus, 70 Rs/person… why do prices in the subcontinent never seem to quite match up? 🙂

Day 5 was without a doubt the most challenging, though maybe being one-eyed to start the day in Tadopani has made me a bit biased… though having to do a Spiderman-impression to climb up a hill later – while looking down at a many-metered fall, plus personally wiping it in a corn field while descending through Chongju (?), all added up to more challenges than leeches or altitude, our biggest foes previously!
We saw many spectacular views along the way, of which corresponding photos will eventually be posted on our Kodak site, not only of the magnificently snow-capped Annapurna mountain range (though to be honest our best, and most complete, view was actually from Sarangkot on our one-night trek there), but of many cascading waterfalls, low-volume but still-rushing rivers, plus deep, lush valleys, deciduous forests full of moss-covered trees and leech-filled paths, and every night (except Tadopani where a local dog refused to stop barking throughout the night) we slept quiet comfortably in “tea lodges,” primarily eating daal bhat for dinner (4 out of 6 nights, toward the end of the trek, nearer civilization, pricing was such that all-you-can-eat lentils and rice wasn’t exactly the best deal, nor the over-stuffing we desired).

(Specific lodge recommendations for the similarly adventurous will be posted here eventually, but then this text will probably be replaced 🙂

That’s about all for now, find out our short-term future (back to India tomorrow, or in Nepal until our visa expires on June 14) in the morning…

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