Eat breakfast faster :)
Starting in Nayapul our first day was a relatively easy hike ending Gandruk where we spent the night. Our next leg to Ghorepani was considerably more challenging due to the significantly steep line it followed most of the way. I believe most people choose to follow this route the opposite way, but its difficulty was a good warm up to the following day. The well marked path travels through scenic forest, over a number of smaller streams and around a few home-sites.
Starting off slightly late we departed from Ghorepani to the base of the Khopra Dande ridge. After a minor deviation from the trail we began our ascent through a steady rain. Despite the season the weather was mostly mild with occasional breaks in the clouds giving us opportunities to fully take in our surroundings. After some improvising up the ridges face we meet up with the ridge trail which snakes up the remaining climb to the overlook. The trail here is a little harder to decipher but is self explanatory if you pay attention to the terrain. The forest here feels mostly untouched and weaves between large treed areas into high grassy areas. As the rain subsided we had a run in with some overly friendly leeches. We managed to fend off most of them but their persistence made us stop and check for stowaways fairly often. (Definitely come prepared for this if your thinking about the rainy season.)
After another hour and not too much daylight left we spotted the Khopra teahouse. (It was a little more then a nine hour day so choosing a closer starting point or leaving earlier will make the day somewhat easier.) The lodge was closed up when we arrived but the caretaker quickly got it up and running and had a fire started for us soon after. The next day was mostly clouded over so we decided to spend another night and do a short day hike to fill the time. The land surrounding the camp is covered in wildflowers, full of horses, many buff and the nearby workers reported seeing a bear earlier in the day!? The clouds and fog would occasionally break providing us sporadic views of the distant peaks. The workers stationed up here appear to be building another teahouse almost identical to the one in place now a little further up the ridge. The foreman said it will be completed in the next few months. We spent the evening around the fire with a group of locals who were visiting the camp from we gathered was a good distance away. They were all very friendly, generous and we had few good laughs with each other not fully understanding what the other was trying to say.
The next morning was completely clear. The views or of Dhaulagiri, the Annapurnas and the surrounding valleys were absolutely phenomenal. We took it all in as long as we could before late morning clouds starting showing up and we decided to start making our descent towards Tatopani. The path down the opposite side of the ridge is full of its own amazing views. Its well marked with numerous shrines and small homes along the route. Stopping in the village Paudwar for lunch at small guest house/restaurant thats adjacent to the school is well worth the wait. Continuing on towards Tatopani we spotted a large troop of monkeys making their way down the steppe. Right before town we negotiated the remnants of decent sized landslide which finished off the trail. Following the road into town we spent the rest of the night soaking in the hots springs and drinking cold beers.
The next day we took the bus into Beni and then shared a jeep ride back into Pokhara. Travel took a good part of the day and expect an “exciting” ride especially on the first section of road. The entire experience was one of a kind and I couldn’t have hoped for better for my first trek in the Himalayas. I would definitely recommend this trek to anyone whose looking for a good variety of what the area has to offer in a shorter period of time. Happy trekking! 🙂
- Day 1 - Pokhara to Nayapul to Gandruk
- Day 2 - Gandruk to Ghorepani
- Day 3 - Ghorepani to Khopra Dande Ridge
- Day 4 - Day hike around Ridge
- Day 5 - Khopra to Tatopani
- Day 6 - Tatopani to Beni to Pokhara
Our route was on a lot of steep terrain, so the lighter your pack the better. Rainy weather brings out the leeches. Leech socks or some deet based repellents will work wonders in these conditions [salt or lemons are good natural alternatives]. Otherwise bring extra band-aids and antiseptic.
Some extra gear for rainy conditions during monsoon season.