Finally, Georg (my bodyguard for the next four weeks ;-) arrived in Kahtmandu. Yeah! Second visit on this trip. Both visits from the “Schwedenmafia”. I have written it before, but you guys just rock! And I am deeply grateful that we are still such a close group after over ten years. Thank you all (including the partners “added” to the group over the years)! Special thanks to Schorschi for coming to Nepal!
Trekking it should be. Trekking it was. Beatrice recommended us to hike around Manaslu (eighth highest mountain in the world). As it is a restricted area you need to go with a registered guide. So we spent two days looking for a tour agency and finally decided to go with Outdoor Himalayan Treks, the by far most friendly and professional agency of all we’ve checked. Special thanks to Ram for your great hospitality, for answering all our questions and for not being pushy at all about selling your service! You’ve just understood it!
The next day, Gopal (our guide) picked us up early in the morning and off we went. We shortly stopped in Dhading Besi, both to pick up our porter Bichari and to change from bus to a jeep. Due to a landslide we could not go all the way to the standard starting point in Arughat Bazar and thus hiked a region that is rarely visited by tourist. Turned out to be one of the highlighst of the trek. ‘Cause people there have been amazingly friendly. I especially liked the kids, who were beaming with smiles once they saw us. And their smiles got even wider, when we greeted them with a hearty “Namaste” and the folded hands. They were both shy and curious and often used all the English they’ve already learned in their young years in order to get to know, where I am from, whats my name and why I am here. And one could make their day by taking a photo and letting them have a look on themselves in the display of the camera. It’s always amazing to see, that it just needs so little…
The next days, we hiked up the valley. Following the wild river all the time. A lot of waterfalls :-) in lateral valleys. Suspensions bridges. Changing vegetation and climate. From hot jungle to cooler mountain forests. Butterflies. Lizards. Monkeys. Landscapes that stimulate phantasy. The villages look like they have been taken from Tolkiens Middle-Earth. Big meadows let me feel like being Atréju passing the Grassy Plains. Pure Magic.
From Samagaon we took a side trip day to visit the Manaslu Base Camp. Getting out early in the cold morning we were greeted with a spectacular and cloud free view of the majestic Manaslu (8156 m.a.s.l). Yeah! Hiking up we had spectacular views down into the valley and on the Manaslu glacier. Big parts of ice were crushing down from the Glacier. Something I have waited for hours-long (without success) at the Perito-Moreno Glacier was happening here every half an hour. The base camp itself was cold, windy, and cloudy. Still impressive, as there have been some 16 expeditions teams up there and thus a hundreds of colorful tents. On the way down Georg and I went to the Glacier Lake and spent some time in the sun with good talks. Awesome day!
Next stop was Samdo, a little village higher up. The further you go the bigger gets the Tibetan influence. Prayer flags, Tibetan people, merchants with yaks coming from Tibet. Pretty obvious as we were getting closer and closer to Tibet. Being so close, we decided that we could not continue without setting a foot into Tibet. Next side trip. We got up early in the morning to go up to the Lajing Bharkyang Pass (around 5000 meters, nobody knows for sure ;-) A lot of yaks on the way up. The views and landscape get better and better the higher we go up. Unfortunately the air is getting thinner and thinner ;-) Anyway, the slight headache from the last two days is gone and up I go. And finally I am in Tibet.
Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibet. Forbidden country. Magic land. Call me crazy if you want, but one can actually feel the force and energy of this land. And I am sure that both the natural power and spiritual energy will survive any threats. I can’t believe my luck. I am standing on this magic soil viewing the Tibetan Himalaya exactly one year after I started this trip. What an unintended timing. What an amazing year. Deep gratitude in my joyful heart. One year on the road. Woooohoooo!
After a relaxed and sunny rest day in Samdo it was time to get over Larke La. The highest point on this trek. The landscape is of an unbelievable beauty. Wild. Rough. Sparse. Well, just have a look at the pics.
After passing the pass at 5200 m.a.s.l. we had to go down again. Again, an amazing view into the valley that is characterized by big moraines where glaciers have been before. I have never seen it like this before. The landscape gets greener while going down and we arrive minutes before it starts to rain in Bimtang, our stop for the night. Lucky we :-)
Going down we came to a beautiful forest again. Butterflies and lizards were back, too. And after a long day, we finally arrived at the Annapurna Circuit. What a difference. I guess, we saw around fifteen hikers during the ten days around Manaslu. But around 300 a day at the Annapurna Circuit. Anyhow, the landscape is still nice, we saw one more impressive waterfall and finally arrived in Syange, the end of our trek, ’cause we took a jeep from there to Besi Shahar the next day.
Thanks to Gopal for being such a good guide. For getting us a place in the warm kitchen when the dining room was too cold. And thanks to Bichari for carrying all our stuff without any complaints. For filling up water and bringing tea. And to both for much much more. It was a pleasure to trek with you!
Not to forget: Thanks Bea for recommending this trek. I guess, I enjoyed it far more than I would have enjoyed the Apple Pie Circuit :-))
Namaste from the Mountain of Spirits