day 42

Back to Pokhara after a 6 day trek in the mountains. First time we went somewhere without poor Voukefalas who was left all alone, parked for all these days. It was us our porter, our guide, the local traffic and the other trekkers. The porter was hired when we landed in Jomsom. Our guide came with us in the car from KTM to Pokhara and then he has been with as all the time. The local traffic is surreal. Most of it is goods transports and most of the goods are for the trekkers. Now depending where you are on the trek, the goods are transferred with whatever transportation can make it. If the monsoon road is not closed due to a landslide then you can have tractor and trailer as your ride. Now this road is almost good at the top of the mountain where the river is slow and the river bed is wide. But as soon as you enter the proper valley and it becomes a gorge, then things get tough. The only transport then is humans or mules. So, if you have a few things then you curry your own stuff or you hire a porter otherwise mules caravan. The same thing goes with the trekkers. The area last year was visited by 36.000 people. (11 Greek) Not all of them choose the same route. It all deepens on the physical condition you’re in and at the time you have. Hard treks need more time.

Jomsom is a starting point. Because of the little airport it’s evident why. Secondly the gorge starts from there and it’s considered an easy trek. (that’s why we took it).

Now easy is questionable. The first day it was. 6 kilometers only, something like a warm up. Just a walk up to the next little village. Actually the heights we were at were lower than I had said in my previous entry. The town and the airport are at 2710 m high and the next town we walked to, was almost 2900. So we never got above 3000. Any way an easy walk, mostly on the river bed and sometimes when the river had turned close the river side we had to climb up to the monsoon road and then descent again. No biggy. Just make a stop if you get tired. We covered the distance in pretty good time (2 hours without the stops) and we had a great view of the Annapurna mountain range and it’s Niligiri 7.061 m peak and Tilicho Peak at 7.134 on our right. Spectacular. Imagine being on top of Mt. Olympus and then have another 4.2  kilometer higher mountain right next to you.. Then next day was the same way back and this time we had the mountain in front of us and then we reached Jomsom for lunch and we continued for another 2 hours walking to the little town where we would spend our night. And this was the rhythm. We would leave at 9 am and end up somewhere at 5pm. 2 hours and then tea brake, then 2 hours and lunch and then 2 hours and hotel room. Small villages all along the way and the river and the mountains. Paradise.  And then day 3 you get a 2 hour rain and on day 4 you get rain from 11 in the morning and then it start’s looking a bit like hell. Day 4 was also the toughest as far the terrain was concerned. Now it was a very narrow trek that 2 people hardly could fit side by side and not a single stretch of road on the same level. We descended about 1000 meters but to me it seemed we were going up all the time. Climbing the hills here is not easy. Especially in sliding mud and with 20 mules in front of you sliding all over the place. Sometimes the steps make your leg have a 90 degree angle and you have 20 of them in front of you. And then another 50 to go down. And you are sweating inside your raincoat and you are wet everywhere. I almost quit yesterday. But quit in the middle of the trek? And then what? Who is going to take you down anyway?

The promise of hot springs at that day’s destination kept me moving. V suffered too and it was tough on him too. Day 5 we had only an hour of rain and only the first 3 hours were rough terrain. The trek at the end became the regular monsoon road and traffic started to appear again. From the last village before our end town, automobile traffic started already. 2 tractors carrying cases of empty coca cola bottles and the other one wood and a few dilapidated Nissan and Mahendra jeeps full to the rim with people. So basically this was the end of the trail and of us walking around half of Mt. Annapourna. Today both of us woke up in pain. Our backs and our legs are stiff. We did a small 20 min walk to a taxi which did a bit of good and after 3 hours of the taxi ride we were even stiffer. We had lunch, kissed our guide goodbye watched the afternoon storm while walking around town and now we are packing and reading maps to find our way back. Going up to the Karakoram highway in Pakistan is out of the question so now it is a bet of how fast can we cross the whole country. We want to be entering Iran the 1st of May. Let’s see. Maybe we can make it out of the western border of Nepal to India and that will save us a day. Kisses everyone and sorry I don’t post more pictures. But only these past days we took about a 1000. So where to start posting?

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