Today was our last real day of the trek, and it was probably the easiest as well in terms of the route we would take. We started with a nice breakfast at our lodge in Ghandruk and then readied ourselves for the day’s walk. Jen made our first souvenir purchase of the trip outside our lodge from a Tibetan refugee – it’s a gift so you will have to wait and see what it is and who it is for! Today was sunny and warm, and the route went down about 3000+ feet, with only a very few, small uphill portions. In other words, it was pretty easy for our tired legs, though my left knee is bothering me a bit. For the first few hours we could still see the high mountains behind us, but eventually we descended in the valley until we walked alongside the white water river that starts with the snow melt and ice melt from the high mountians and will eventually find its way into the major rivers of the plains of northern India. If you like water rushing over big boulders, with trees and flowers all around, it was a beautiful walk. We paused for lunch at a small village by the river, and a few hours later walked across the bridge in Birethanti, where we will spend our last night in a trekking lodge. As I write, we just finished our last apple fritter. I had delicious dhal bat (the main local dish, consisting of rice, lentil soup and vegetable curry, with spicy pickled vegetables) and Jen had vegetable fried noodles, which she also enjoyed. We are sitting in a dining room right by the river, and the roaring of the rapids provides a nice background noise. One of our porters lives in this village and went home after we finished our trek, and our other porter, Naran, will help us make the short walk to Nayapul tomorrow where we will catch a ride back to Pokhara with Ang Dawa. By skipping the free day in Ghandruk, we hope to enjoy a few more of the opportunities around Pokhara. I am actually already looking forward to seeing some of the sights back in Kathmandu, but I am also sad to leave this beautiful part of the world behind.
back to Birethanti
Along the way, we met a very nice family from New Zealand. The parents were spending a few months trekking with their two young children, with whom we were very impressed! In fact, the parents had trekked around this region 19 years ago. Jen and I wonder what the area will be like if we visit again in 20 years. Will there be roads in the place of trails? They are currently building a big new bridge here in Birathanti that looks like it could accomodate cars. Who knows what the future holds – for now, we are thankful for seeing the incredible mountains and the beautiful valleys and hills of this portion of the Annapurna conservation area.
- Brendan and Jen