Sunday, April 26, 2015

ABC Trek: Day 8 - Back to Pokhara

Per original itinerary we were to stay at a place called Deurali tonight (we found there were 3 places named Deurali - this was ofcourse the one closer to Pokhara) and then hike to Phedi next day, drive to Pokhara and fly to Kathamandu. However, we had to change the plan as PC woke up with fever and we all decided that it would be best if we could reach Pokhara and seek medical help if needed.

Hence the plan for the day was changed - we decided to hike to Sauli Bazar- where we could take a jeep to Nayapul and then change to a better vehicle and continue the drive to Pokhara. The route was through Jhinu Danda, New Bridge and Kyume. Since CD & PC were taking time getting ready, IL & I left with one of the porters (Shambhu) at 7:40 am, we reached Jhinu at 8:20 am and continued our hike to New Bridge where we stopped for a tea break at about 9:15 am.

At 9:30 am we resumed the hike towards Kyume which was to be our lunch stop. We reached Kyume at 10:45 am - a little too early for lunch. Since it was a planned lunch halt where all of us were to meet and resume the hike post lunch, we decided to wait. But Pushkar (porter accompanying CD & PC) called and informed that they would have lunch at New Bridge as their progress was very slow. Now that we 6 were not having lunch together, IL & I felt it would be better to avoid two long stops - one at Kyume for lunch and other at Sauli while waiting for them to catch up with us. And despite protests from the lodge owner at Kyume, we continued towards Sauli Bazar which as per Shambhu was one hour away.

Guess there was some confusion because when I asked local folks on the trail, I was informed that Sauli Bazar is atleast 2 hours from Kyume. I didn't want the porter to walk in this heat with empty stomach for 2 more hours so I started to worry about him. But there was no way we could retrace our steps back to Kyume because he was so far ahead of me that I couldn't even see him. With heavy heart and sweaty forehead, I walked till I reached a place where I could see some jeeps. It was not yet noon so I assumed that folks on the trail were wrong and that I had reached Sauli Bazaar.

Well, that wasn't the case - the folks were right and I had just reached Siwai. But two good things happened - one, Shambhu had decided to stop at a restaurant there to wait for me and two, I found out that we don't need to hike towards Sauli Bazar as jeeps are available from Siwai to Nayapul. I have no idea why our porters wanted to hike till the next place as jeeps were available here. Anyways, all of us had lunch and started the long wait for the remaining half of our group to reach Siwai.

Shambhu decided to hike back to Kyume to help Pushkar with the load as slow progress is very tiring while carrying such heavy loads. IL & I found ourselves a spot to lie down and dozed off for a while. At around 3:30 pm CD & PC reached Siwai and by 4 pm we were on way to Nayapul in a jeep. It cost us NPR 2500 for the jeep which wasn't a bad deal at all given all 6 of us and our bags could fit into it.

At 5 pm we reached Nayapul (after checking out at the check post) and waited for the vehicle that would take us to Pokhara. By 6:30 pm we were back in Pokhara and checked ourselves into a plush hotel called Temple Tree. At such a short notice and this close to Nepali new year, our agency couldn't find cheaper hotels and they could get us a very good rate here so we didn't ask them to shop around much and settled on this plush hotel cum spa. In hindsight it was a good thing as after one night of comfortable rest and some spa treatments CD & PC were as good as new the next day :)

We requested our porters to join us for dinner and at 7:30 pm we walked to a Thakali cuisine place where we had some amazing local food. PC was still running fever so she had decided to order room service. After dinner, we handed them the tips and bid a fond farewell to our two member crew that had supported the four crazy girls, so well and without any complaints, throughout this arduous trek.

As I type this post, I wish there was some way I could reach them and check if they are safe in the aftermath of the earthquakes but phones are not reachable and I have no other way to connect with them. Hope I will get to see them again on my next hike in the Himalayas!

Morning view of the range just before we left Chomorong

(from left to right) IL, Shambhu, Pushkar and I

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