So first things first big apologies for the lack of blog articles during nepal. As you can imagine, in an undeveloped country where most of the time we were on the move/ had rolling powercuts its near impossible to get a good enough connection to upload a blog and photo!
We began our adventure in nepal by arriving at the crazy capital of Kathmandu. Seeing snowcapped mountains from the plane's window enroute had already wetted our appetite for the scenery that was to come. We got to kathmandu and somehow managed to wing it and get a local bus to Pokhara in the same day.. only about 120km away but took about 8hours on pretty scary roads to get there. As Josh has been to Nepal before we quickly found the area of Lakeside that we wanted to stay in and found a nice cheap hostel.
After the craziness and dirt of India, Nepal and Pokhara is an absolute haven.
We made several very rapid observations:
1) Nepali people are much easier on the eye
2) The country is so much cleaner!!!
3) Very little hassle from pretty much anybody here.
Set aside the huge Phewa lake, Pokhara boasts both a lakeside location aswell as spectacular view of some of the highest mountains in the world. Dont think that there are many towns that could rival the views from here!.
We met up with KC (Josh's Nepali friend and a trekking guide) at 'Sheelas Bakery' which would be frequented 7more times before we left due to their amazing sandwiches. Sadly due to a family tragedy KC was unable to take us on trek himself, so he reccommended to us one of his closest friends, called Mann. We met Mann the following day (3rd) and began by taking a short local bus to Phedi, where our epic 18 days trekking round the Himalaya Annapurna range began.
Our route for trekking was as follows:
Day 1: Phedi to Australia camp
Day 2: to Jinu Danda
3: to Bamboo
4: to Deurali
5: Annapurna Base Camp (4130m)
7: to Ghandruk
13: Dhalugiri Ice Fall
Where to begin! Trekking was brilliant. Walking through diifferent scenery literally every day with almost guaranteed fantastic views of huge mountains like Macchapuchare and Annapurna. Getting up to Annapurna Base Camp was simply breathtaking.. and well worth the headaches we got from the altitude! Having Mann as a guide was great as not only was he a good laugh, but a brilliant photographer and could pretty much name every bird and animal we came across .. we saw 120species of bird in total!
We climber through scores of trekking villages and also traditional villages, where we got much more of a taste of Nepali culture. Every different place have different cultural roots so it was cool to experience. After ABC we headed down to Ghandruk at the bottom of the sanctary route and joined up with the start of the annapurna circuit (a trek that circles the ampitheatre of mountains). We found something slightly disturbing between Ghorepani and Tatopani though. The construction of a new road. It wasnt built with any regard for anything, hugely including safety. We watched from the oopposite valley as an excavator threw huge bolders off the side of the new road and down hundreds of meters to the river bellow. The huge stones literally cut threw adult trees like butter, god help anybody that was down there.
Back on to trekking though. It was here we joined the Kali Gun Duggi river which we would follow north for the forseeable future. There wad also an instant change in the terrain as we drew closer towards the mustang region, from alpine forest rich with life to a more desolate, desert feeling in the bottom of the windy valley, apparetly nuch like most of tibet.
Tatopani was of course excellent and we spent the night getting drunk in the hot springs with Mann and his friend Jim, who had recently survived a snow accident and claimed to be on his second life! So why not drink?!
The next day we grabbed the bus from Tatopani to Ghasa - the most insane journey of our lives. To sum up why: on the floor between the seats were the remnants of previous leaf springs. With Josh's ridiculous beard and a crazy journey through desolate mountains we had to remind ourselves we werent in Afghanistan.
The highlight of this area of the trek has to be a day trek to Dhalugiri Ice fall.. a humungous glacier trailing down from the side of Dhalugiri.. the 7th highest mountain in the world. 5hours of solid up but insane 360degree views of 2 of the worlds largest mountain ranges.
Our sincere apologies again for taking such a long time to get something on here. We have been taking a torrent of abuse from our most devoted fans (Josh's mum and Tom's friend Jesse) so to make it up to you were gonna gonna devote this particular blog to you guys.
To Sue Rowland & Jesse Norton.
You best feel privileged guys.
Hopefully this has whetted your appetite, we'll fill you in on the second half of Nepal and an introduction to Vietnam asap.
T & J