Jonathan's world trip travel blog

7AM, on the way.

 

 

 

All types of bridges on the trek.

You are here.

 

 

Thought this was rather funny.

The Maoist welcome everybody's money.

The Hammer and Sickle fly.

 

 

Preyer flags

 

 

 

The view from Poon Hill

The OTHER view from Poon Hill, Fish Tail Mt.

Everybody else on the top.

It's not very voluntary.

 

The guest house in Ghorapani.

The daughter of the owner.

Mom, she was great.

Pop, the Maoist tax him constantly. Good Man

On the way down from Ghorapani.

On the roof again, everybody's waiting for a ride.

This guy did a 6 point turn. . .

 

 

On the way back to Pokhara.

 

 


So Richard and I made it safe and sound back from our Poon Hill Trek. This trek is listed as a 4-6 day trek and we managed to do it in 3. With that said, when your body dosen't want to go anymore it's pride that keeps you going.

So after a hour and a half cab ride from Pohkara we arrived at Naya Pul at about 9AM on Monday. As the cab pulled over Richard had to ask the driver a few times, "This is it?", "Are you sure?" Naya Pul appeared to be nothing more then a few shacks on the side of the road with a dirt road that lead into the valley. The driver reassured us that it was but even I wasn't sure if the cabbie had just decided to drop us off in the middle of nowhere and was now chuckling on his way back to Pohkara, so many places over here seem to be totally lacking of signs or atleast signs in Roman letters. A lot of folks are just out for a quick buck. Even as we were putting our packs on I found myself asking a local,"Is this Naya Pul?" everybody confirmed that it was so we asked which way to Ghandruk, our destination for the day, and we were off.

I would say on that first day we did about 800 meters almost straight up. Cutting switchbacks that ran up the hillside over the valley. I don't even know how many steps, thousands on the safe estimate. There were times when all I could think about was that this really sucks and how much money did I have and was it enough to hire a porter for the remainder of the trek. We had decided to do the trek backwards because they say it is easier, but having done it I would have to disagree with that one. Another thing that I learned was that carring 4 liter's of water (at 1 kilo per liter/2.2lbs for a totall of almost 9 extra lbs!) is a bad thing and generally unneccesary. Halfway up I had to sit down and drink a liter just to lose some weight (1 kilo, I'm going metric finally). That and I ended up taking a quick nap on the way up,yes I was exhausted! If it I hadn't been waken by some children splashing water on me, Richard might of found himself waiting for me just a bit longer. As I continued up the trail to my surprise I found out that there is a village called Kimche, go figure. Nothing to the village itself but had to note it for amusement sake. We arrived at Ghandruk (at 2000 meters) about 3 in the afternoon and just as we reached the lodge a cold rain had started to settle in. So that answered any questions about continuing further that day.

The lodge itself was fairly inexpensive at 80rs for the room and surprisingly clean with hot showers but the food was atleast twice as much as we had expected and boiled water was costing more then bottled water back in town. All of a sudden I began to wonder if I had brought enough money to actually complete the trek and payoff the Maoist rebels whom I knew we would run into at somepoint of the trip.

As I tried to settle in at the lodge I was getting weird vibes from the locals, partially due to the weather (grey with a lite drizzle),the fact that we were the only guests in the lodge and they all seemed pissed off that we were there. As the rain cleared more trekkers showed up and with them the place seemed less dreary and the staff didn't seem to be as upset as they were earlier. After dinner of Nepali food (it's all you can eat!) Richard and I were going over the schedual for the next day and I couldn't help but think about the Maoist's and the sign on the map that described the next days' section, "Trek in groups" it was a section known for thieves and since we were doing this by ourselves I felt that we were prime targets. I don't know if Richard was even thinking about it but if he was we were both keeping it to ourselves.

With a early start we were lucky with clear skies and a beautiful morning. We had climbed out of the valley and had reached a dense tree line with the occasional stream and steep drop offs. It was actually very scenic and after a few hours I was feeling quite comfortable with the whole thing. We were also coming into frequent contact with other trekkers coming the other way. Three of which were Americans who have been living in Katmandu. The one girl started speaking Nepaliese to me and I had to cut her off with a "It sounds really good but I'm not Nepalise!" It was actually a pretty funny moment, I got the impression she had been practising her Nepalise for awhile and was a little disappointed that I didn't understand what she had said. One of the others was married to a girl from Philly so we all had a little moment on the trail, a little U.S. bonding in a country thousands of miles from home.

As the day progress we found ourselves making better time then we had anticipated and had reached our first destination early in the morning and decided to continue on to Ghorepani where the Americans (weird to use it as a decscription) had told us that we were sure to run into the Maoists and that they were quite harmless, all they want is the money.

After 10 1/2 hours I arrived at Ghorepani having lost Richard, another Dutch guy and the Germans at a fork in the trail. I found out later that they had gone straight along the ridge line and I had made a right following a arrow that somebody had drew in the dirt, yes i folowed some random arrow drawn in the dirt but at the time it seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do. . . As I arrived in town I found myself walking around asking if anyone had seen 4 europeans in the last half hour. The only people I did find was a young English couple from earlier in the day. They actually told me that Richard was waiting for me back at the entrance of the town. I found that he had also lost the Germans and the Dutch guy waiting for me on the trail thinking I was behind them. I guess it's all about the cummincation isn't it?

So we settle into a lodge with a warm fire and a busy kitchen. I had actually walked into the kitchen first and it was the action in the kitchen that was the deciding factor for me. Ad as rusticas the place was it both clean and cheap! The old lady in the kitchen found me amusing and had her husband show me around the lodge. As we waited for diner there were quite a few Nepalise surrounding the fire, a large group of Russins, some Canadians and happily a few Americans, Robert from Arizona and a young Polish couple from Green Point (Brooklynn in the house!) After dinner we were discussing our travels and it was during this that we had a our frist brush with the Maoist's. It seems that all the Nepalise that were hanging arpund the fire were Maoist's and were demanding money from everybody in the room. The Russians were having a problem with this and I was really hopping that the Russian would kick some but, but they were with their families and had little choice but to pay. As for me I decided to leave as soon as I saw the man heading my way. They just seemed like drunken bums bothering people during dinner. I was instantly iritated and didn't want to talk with any of them. Nor did I want to hear any bullshit story about building a school for little children. It was definetly a plus that they thought I was a Nepalise.

On our third and final morning we woke before sunrise and even though I didn't want to be bothered with the rebels,I was still pretty heated from the night before, Richard talked me into going up Pon Hill to see the Mountains (this was the goal of the Trek) but we all knew we would find the Rebels at gates. After the sunrise (with about 50 or 60 other people, so much for a special moment) we headed back down into town and for whatever reason I actually stopped at the checkpoint. I could of just played the Nepalise card and walked on through. They asked for their "voluntary donation" and actually wanted to have a conversation. I didn't want anything to do with that and told them so. It's worse when they smile at you as they take your money, like they are your friends. You just want to smack it right off their faces.

After such a glorious start of the day we decided to pack up and get out of Dodge. The owners of the lodge's and restaurants are also required to pay "donations" of 50'000 rs and I saw the old man paying the rebels again the morning we left. After they had drank and eaten all night for free. More on the rebels later. But just because my experience with the rebels was not that good I generally found that all the people in the small villages that we passed thru were incredibally nice, offering a nice smile and a wave. One woman even brought me a bucket of cold water so that I could wrap my knees the next day.

The trek back to Naya Pul is almost entirely downhill and to be honest with you its harder going downhill then up. I could just feel my knee's going crunch and thinking about the cartiledge that I had lost back in highschool. Richard offered to swap backpacks but I carried it in so I would carry it out once agian pride as a motivating factor. When we finally reached Naya Pul, 8hrs later,you could hear the local bus honking for passengers before it pulled out for Pohkara. A note on the local busses, they are packed! Bags and people sitting in the aisles, I was squished between mothers with children, old ladies, old man, some girl had planted her but in my back and man, there were some smelly people on the bus. I lasted until the next stop and decided to ride on the roof. It is definetly the best place to ride, just as long as the bus you are on isn't involved in an accident.

Did I tell you that I thouroughly enjoy riding on the roof? Finally used my bedroll that I have been crrying around and formed my own little space on the roof. Had some snacks and water and strecthed myself out. Getting the best view in the house. Nepal is a beautiful country when you don't have people trying to sell you something, taking your money or just basicly not letting you take in the natural wonders of their country.

Lush rice fields and hills that are so green you don't think it could get any greener, with all sorts of things growing in the mountains. The rivers are fed from streams that cascade down from the tops in little waterfalls sometimes forming pools of water that you find yourself wishing that you could just jump into when you are tired from treking. BUT, you have to remenber everything that is uphill comes downhill. I'm just leaving it at that.

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