12 Dec 2013

Trekking In Nepal - Poon Hill



After a few days lazing in Pokhara it was time to experience some of the best mountain trekking the world can offer in Nepals Annapurna range. There were many routes to choose from at varying lengths and heights, the full Annapurna circuit takes about three weeks which was far too daunting for us beginners so we opted for a four day trek to Poon Hill, which is well known for its excellent close up views of Annapurna's tallest peaks. 

Annpurna mountain range Nepal


After a couple of days research we found that a 'package' wasn't necessary as there are many lodges in each mountain village so instead we hired an experienced guide at a very reasonable rate of $18 per day. The trek gave us an excuse to shop as we needed some windproof gear to fend of the freezing winds, trekking is a very unglamorous affair, our matching windproof trousers would rival the highest waists in Simon Cowell's wardrobe especially on Vicky! Also joining us on the trek were our new friends Robert and Will who we met whilst crossing from India into Nepal, however as the very adventurous types they had their sights set on reaching ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) and trekking for nine days. 

trekking in Nepal

Day One: Nayapul to Ulleri

Feeling rested, apprehensive and fuelled by our eggy breakfasts our jeep took us to Nayapul about an hours drive away and left us there. We had no idea what to expect from our first step into the world of trekking. Our guide Rum said we had about five hours trekking ahead of us which didn't seem to bad, little did we know this included a rise in over 1,000m to 2,070m above sea level. After some three hours of walking in intense heat and stunning scenery we stopped for a well deserved lunch and had our first of many carb feasts on pasta, rice and noodles.

trekking in nepal

After lunch we endured a real challenge and embarked on a very steep ascent of over 3,300 jagged steps, almost twice as many as the Empire State Building and no lift in sight - this 'staircase' was uneven and winding. It took all our concentration to negotiate them especially with numerous tinkling donkey trains coming up and down the mountain.

donkeys nepal

It was pretty hellish but it was made bearable by the fact that Rum always exaggerated how much time each section would take, 45 minutes was usually just 25 - motivating! We finally made it to our first overnight destination, the village of Ulleri at about 4.30pm. We checked in to our very basic lodge and took a much needed hot shower before a well earned dinner (yes pasta, rice or noodles), a few beers beside a warm fire and some competitive card playing. That evening we added new trekker to our group, a red headed German called Nico who bears an uncanny resemblance to Christabel! The sunset early at about 630pm and it soon became very cold so we headed to bed very tired about 830pm relieved that Rum has secured us some extra blankets - rooms in the lodges are very basic with draughty windows and no heating.

Day Two: Ulleri to Ghorepani 

Day two began with numerous cups of coffee, bread and porridge to warm us up and give us strength to master another climb of over 800m to 2,885m (ASL) in a village called Ghorepani - our base camp for Poon Hill. We only had four hours of trekking which was a relief but, of course, during the last part we encountered more jagged steps! We quickly learned that trekking mountain involves lots and lots of steps! 

Ghorepani Nepal

Ghorepani is quite a large village with a couple of shops, we bought some tasty local Nyaks cheese and crackers and enjoyed it that evening around the fire whilst drinking numerous cups of tea and playing cards. Alcohol was off the menu (our choice) as day three was going to involve around eight hours of uphill and downhill trekking and our alarm was set for 5am! It was freezing at this high altitude too, around minus 8 in the night. Brrrr!

ghorepani nepal


Day Three: Ghorepani to Poon Hill and on to Ghandruk

sunrise poon hill nepal

We had all been looking forward to day three, not the 5am start or eight hours of walking, but reaching the summit of Poon Hill at 3,200m for sunrise. This meant a 350m ascent in a slumber-esque state with a torch to help navigate the winding steps (more steps!) - after 40 minutes puffing and panting in the freezing thin air under an erie cover of dusk and clouds we made it! 

poon hill nepal
Trying to keep warm with hot chocolate.
poon hill view nepal

The views were breathtaking, on one side we had a close up view of highest, snow covered peaks in the Annapurna Mountain Range: Anna Purna South, Anna Purna 1, Machapucharei and Dhaulagiri the 7th tallest in the world at 8,167m

annapurna mountains nepal

a seat with a view at poon hill nepal
A seat with a view!
We could also see the orange sun rising on the horizon across the valley of forested hills, and on another side we could see a pool of thick white cloud below floating amidst more peaks with a beautiful pink sky behind them - we were above the clouds on foot for the first time in our lives! We sipped hot chocolate and posed for many photos and were definitely a very perky bunch for 6am, we stayed for about 90 minutes before heading back downhill to our lodge for a hearty breakfast.

posing at poon hill
Deep in thought...
posing at poon hill

After breakfast the hard work began, this leg of the journey was very up and down as we headed to the village of Tadapani for lunch (2,540m ASL). 

trekking nepal
Ready for action after breakfast.
At one point we were engulfed by some fast moving clouds and after a few hours we were all flaking a little, especially Vicky. 

trekking nepal
The clouds are coming!
trekking nepal

We didn't arrive in Tadepani until about 2pm, we were behind schedule and feeling the effects of the early morning start and ready for a huge plate of mountain carbs! After a quick lunch we said bon voyage to Nico, Robert and Will who were heading in a different direction. Sticky had a long way to go to get to Ghandruk, another three hours downhill descent through the jungle. 

the view to poon hill nepal

We walked in a bit of our daze as we had to watch every step, at some points there were some serious drops off into oblivion alongside us. By the time we got to our lodge our legs were like jelly and hiking shoes moulded to our achey feet. Going down felt much tougher than going up, catching your body weight with each step really works your calves and thighs. 

nepal jungle
Exactly like the jungle book!
The hot shower that night was blissful but afterwards we now walked liked crabs and found stairs incredibly difficult! A feeling of dread loomed over us as we knew we had a few more hours downhill to go in the morning...

Day Four: Ghandruk to Nayapul  

trekking nepal

With very stiff legs we set off early on our final descent - we focused our minds on fillet steak and red wine and made it to Nayapul as quickly as we could. We had to descend over 800m, this sounds easy but it takes all your concentration and our already achy legs were feeling the burn. After four hours and a short break for masala tea we had made it back to  our awaiting tiny chariot to take us back to Pokhara. That evening we headed straight to Caffe Concerto for a well-deserved, self-indulgent three course dinner with no pasta, noodles or rice insight. In four days we trekked over 50km, ascended thousands of metres and mastered even more steps, needless to say our legs were very sore and stiff for about three days afterwards. 

We relaxed in Pokhara for a few days and waited for the rest of our trekking gang to arrive safely. Trekking in Nepal was a fantastic experience not only are the views amazing but you get to experience the warm Nepali hospitality in each of the lodges - four days was perfect for us but, we don't think we'll be venturing off on a three week trek in this lifetime...

Trekking in Nepal is an unmissable once in a lifetime experience and we recommend Trekking In Nepal for your trekking in Nepal adventure. 

2 comments:

  1. Such a nice blog you have here and it is very rejuvenating reading and watching the pictures. Blogs like this are very important and helps travellers willing to opt for Ghorepani Pooh hill trek. 

    Shaurab Lohani
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