Walking the walk – Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Section – Part 1
3 March 2012 Chautara (1591 m)-Arugath (490 m) 8 ½ hrs
Just after our breakfast Chauriron arrived. He told us he had slept somewhere in the forest, all by himself! The reason he was late was that he had a terrible headache during the day, which forced him to rest for a couple of hours. Fortunately he was doing ok now. Today he was all the time at the front, with the first porters, probably he wanted to show that what happened the day before was an exception!
Today was again a long day! The total distance we covered was indeed about 30 km, but there was not a lot of climbing involved, in fact most of the day we were going down.
We are also on a new section: The Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Section (in fact the last couple of km of yesterday are already on the map of this section). And as to show that we really are in this section we had our first views of Manaslu (8163 m) and Ganesh Himal Range (Ganesh Himal I: 7422 m) today. Stunning!
We passed beautiful villages and walked through idyllic countryside, with bright green terraces. At the end of the day we arrived at Arugath. To our surprise there is a resort here! Manaslu View Camping Resort. The rooms are set in a Disney like garden, with lots of decorations, like a huge dragon, a gate with Buddha on top and penguins. It is all a bit kitsch, but nice. We have these bright posters in our room, with tulips, giraffes, deer and a waterfall in one poster and we even have a (stone!) deer head hanging on the wall. And our sheets are golden colored! It all adds to the flavor. But the nicest thing of all is our attached bathroom with hot shower. As if we are in paradise! Why we didn’t have our rest day here??
4 March 2012 Arugath (490 m)-Kalikatang/Gorkha Palace (1313 m) 7 hrs
Today was an easy day, we “only” walked 26.33 km and climbed 1595 m. Seems like we are getting stronger by the day, as this – in my eyes still quite long distance – did feel like a relatively easy day! It was also most of the time flat walking, only the last 2 hours we had to climb quite a lot, so that made it easy as well.
On the way I was very surprised to see another white face! Since the Solukhumbu section we hadn’t met any tourist. I stopped to talk to her. She turned out to be Dorte from Denmark and she was supporting the village of Kuereni, among others with toilets (which almost nobody has) and education for the children. Besides, she mentioned the problem of girl trafficking in this kind of small villages. Girls are being sent to Kathmandu, thinking they will get a cleaning job with a family, but are obliged to work in prostitution. Very sad….Nice lady and admirable how she is trying to help! She was with a Nepali friend who I will meet when I’m back in Kathmandu. Will be interesting to find out more later.
We are now camping at the foot of the famous Gorkha Palace, which is also an important Hindu temple. This used to be the palace of Pritvi Narayan Shah, who unified Nepal in 1769. We visited the palace just before sunset. Especially the beautiful woodcarving is impressive. Very appropriate cultural excursion for the cultural trail!
5 March 2012 Kalikatang/Gorkha Palace (1313 m)-Gorkha (1075 m) 1 hr
Today was just a stroll! We climbed back to the Gorkha Palace, looked around and chatted with the security guards, who of course wanted to pose with Apa Sherpa. From the palace a long stairs leaded to the town of Gorkha. We arrived at around 11 am already. Then the usual action starts when we don’t need to walk: everybody goes washing their clothes!
Everybody was quite tired of all these long days walking, so the afternoon we spent leisurely, relaxing, using internet, selecting pictures, etc.
In the evening we tried Nepali white wine! Mmmm, they could use a bit of training from some vineyard owner of France or Chile (for ex). But if you look at the climate around 1000 m, Elizabeth and me see lots of potential! Tomorrow we are going to try the Nepali red wine .
6 March 2012 Gorkha (1075 m)
We had an important guest today, the Minister of State came to open the new Tourist Information Centre. Besides, the joint Secretary of Tourism had come as well. So we had a big program, with a welcome of the Gurung Community, a special lunch, walking in procession with music to the Tourist Information Centre and – of course – many speeches. Very good, I am sure there will be lots of media coverage in the Nepali media!
7 March 2012 Gorkha (1075 m)-Appipal (1140 m) 7 hrs
Happy Holy! It is Holy today, the famous color festival! The festival where people throw water, colored powder and colored water at each other. Especially in the big cities it is hard to come outside if you don’t want to be covered in colorful colors, both on your face and clothes. But we hardly noticed anything! Only at arrival here in Appipal we saw some people with their shirts and pants full of red and orange colors, of playing before. I have to say, during the day it was so hot, that I was wishing somebody would throw a water balloon at me, but unfortunately this didn’t happen .
From Gorkha we went all the way down to the Daraudi Khola (river) at about 400 m. We crossed the river wading, not easy as it was quite a big river, but very refreshing! After crossing the river, of course we had to climb up again. And it was so hot! We passed charming villages and had lunch in one of them, Khoplang. Great dahl bath with roasted soya beans, a bit like pine pits, very tasty!
Almost all the rest of the day we climbed, till we arrived at the village of Appipal (1140 m). This is not exactly on the GHT pointed out on the map, in fact quite a bit to the north. But up till now, there is not such thing as one official trail. Quite a few times already we decided to take another trail than the one pointed out on the map, most of the times because that trail has been turned into a road. Sometimes it is not a problem to walk on the road, and sometimes, especially in Helambu, it was also hard to avoid. It is good to see that more and more villages are connected by roads, as this is good for their economic development. But if we can avoid walking on them, we do, as of course it is a lot nicer to walk on small trails! Today we almost only walked on small trails, walking both through terraces and forests, and passing charming villages. A beautiful walk indeed!
Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Section – Flickr Photos