Nepal was never on the forefront of my mind when I thought of travel, I imagined skyscrapers, oceans and deserts and all things you cannot see or experience in Nepal. But one trekking trip from my college changed it all. The sun shining over the mountains, the fresh morning air and the excitement within never gets old when I see the mountains.
This was the third trek of my life and I was as excited as it was my first time walking towards the mountains. The planning—pre-packing and pre-excitement, was pretty stressful but a lot of YouTube videos and discussions later we were ready. I was pretty nervous too because unlike the last time we were doing everything on our own. I was walking with four friends - Ganga, Parakram, Subit, and Ishwor.
If I had to rate the difficulty of the trip I would say it was a tiny bit difficult due to the rain but overall the trek was a moderate one. So we decided to take the trip in late April— from April 28th to May 3rd. For most parts, it was good because the month April lies smack in the peak season, but it rained which dampened our spirits a tiny bit.
Here is an overlook of the itinerary:
- Day 1: Bus Ride from Kathmandu to Dhampus
- Day 2: Trek from Dhampus to Forest Camp
- Day 3: Trek from Forest Camp to High Camp
- Day 4: Uphill from High to viewpoint and back. Downhill to Sidhing. Jeep to Pokhara.
- Day 5: Stay at Pokhara
- Day 6: Bus to Kathmandu
So the very first day was filled entirely with bus rides. We took the 7 am tourist bus to Pokhara. Got down at Pokhara Bus Park and hopped on a local bus to Dhampus. A comfortable night at the Hotel Paradise View & Restaurant ended our day.
The next day brought rain in the morning, so we started our trek at 9 am with excitement and hope that it wouldn’t rain. The woods were a blessing and a curse at the same time; while it kept us cool from the sun it also kept us from the mountain views. Three and a half hours later, we reached Deurali where we had our lunch. And guess what? We did run into rain and out came our raincoats. The rain left us with wet and with zeal to walk like never before. That’s when we came up with the motto of the trek “Raincoat power 24 hours”. We walked like crazy and reached Forest Camp at around 6:30 pm. We stayed in the Mardi Guest House & Restaurant for the night.
After a hefty brunch, we started our walk to High Camp. The day’s views were more woods, break at Low Camp, more rain followed by fog and cold as we reached Badal Danda aka Middle Camp. The sneak peak by Mount Machhapuchhre was what we needed to keep us moving to reach our destination—the High Camp.
“Besides the fog, the views and the path from Badal Danda were spectacular”, says Ishwor.
The despair until we reached High Camp was so real, mostly due to the fog but the view of the mountains was worth it. High Camp Guest House & Restaurant welcomed us well with gorgeous views and hot delicious food.
Cold as it could only be in the mountains, the 4 AM walk to the Viewpoint on the final day of the trek was the scariest and the most difficult thing for me. We gained about 600 to 700 meters in altitude in a few hours and it nearly had me give up, but that was mostly because the path was built with a cliff to the side. I finally managed to crawl my way up thanks to my friends. Having Mt. Machhapuchhre so close was unreal. The golden rays of the sun on the mountains were unreal and any picture I have from the trip doesn’t do the view justice.
“I felt like I could actually touch Mt. Machhapuchhre but I had expected to see more mountain ranges even if they were on the sidelines apart from Mt. Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Range from the Viewpoint”, says Subit who is a seasonal trekker.
We spent a good 1.5 hours with the mountains, then the clouds took over our view so we got down. Getting down was a tiny bit less scary and I still was crawling all the way through. After breakfast, we started our way down. I would call us ambitious for making our way down to Sidhing the same day. Slipping, sliding and jumping through several hills we made it to Sidhing in 8 hours. From there we took around a 2 hour jeep ride to Pokhara and were we tired! We got to our room took a long hot shower and had a round of Thakali.
The following day we wandered around Pokhara relaxing and took the bus to Kathmandu the next day. It might have been the end of Mardi, but we still don’t stop talking about it until the next trek.