Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nepal 7: Trek to Ghorepani

The view once we got to Ghorepani!!

Woke up and felt slightly sick. I think I might be getting a sinus infection. No worries though, I decided the mountain air would cure it during our hiking today. Breakfast at the hotel was perfect: 2 fried eggs, potatoes, toast with butter and honey, juice, milk tea, and muesli with hot milk. Afterwards we packed up our stuff and headed off towards our next stop, Ghorepani. We had only about a 4 hour trek to do today because we had finished the super long stairs yesterday.

The landscape changed to more jungly vegetation.

Started our trek and go figure, there's more stone stairs. JOY!! But it was not nearly as bad as the continuous stairs yesterday. It was cold out but we didn't need jackets because hiking kept our blood pumping. The landscape changed to a more forresty jungly type of environment. There were trees everywhere, small streams crossing the trail, and random waterfalls around. 

Me and Steve by one of the water falls that crossed the path on today's trek.

My favorite part of today's hike was seeing other hikers coming down the trail. They were all so happy. The would say stuff like "Oh it's worth it when you get to Ghorepani!" or "Keep drinking water!" One little girl said, "You're almost there, just one more big set of stairs." 

Most other hikers had porters with them. Porters are basically just locals that you can pay to carry your stuff for you. Due to our new hiking backpacks and presumed athletic ability, Steve and I decided against hiring a porter. Some of these porters were carrying huge loads of stuff. I don't know how many things you really need to bring to the top of this mountain but one high maintanence looking girl had a porter with her who was carrying a suitcase that looked like it weighed about 75 pounds. Insanity. The best was when families with small children (there were quite a few of these hiking the trails) had hired a porter to specifically carry a child!! The kids would just sit in these little basket things and enjoy the ride while the porter lugged them up or down the mountain trails!

A little boy being carried down the mountain by a porter. As his parents walked by I said, "Geeze, he's got the best deal!" They laughed and said that at this point they wished they had the same setup for themselves haha!

The natural greeting in Nepal is 'namaste'. Every time a local person or even traveler passed by we would exchange namastes and smile. I passed one group of little kids playing a game and one little boy stopped playing just to look up and yell "Namaste!!" at me. It was great.

Nim led us past a herd of mules up the mountain. At one point we stopped for a water break. Nim heard bells and said, "Ah! The mules are coming! We must go!" It was so funny. It was like the mules were slowly chasing up the mountain.

One time, there was a whole herd of about 50 goats coming down the trail. I stopped to take some pictures (naturally) but Nim thought I couldn't get by. He seemed to think I was going to fall off the trail because of these goats. So he stayed back and yelled at all the goats to move. I thanked Nim and looked at my camera to see if I got any good goat shots.
Goats everywhere!! And some sheep maybe??

We arrived in the town of Ghorepani. We had our trekker certifications checked at the police checkpoint and headed into the small town towards our hotel. Around the bend of the town on the staircase up to the hotel the view suddenly blew your mind. Four snow capped moutains with green hils in front of them. Clouds misting off the top of the snowy peaks. Houses no where in sight. Seriously middle-of-no-where-pure-nature-awesomeness.

The "Nice Viewpoint Lodge and Restaurant" sure lived up to it's name. This is a picture of the 'nice view' from the hotel. Pictures can't really do this justice though. It was mind-bogglingly magestic.

The 'Nice Viewpoint Lodge'. All the tea house hotels had names like 'Great View Hotel' or 'Scenic Hotel and Restaurant'. Basically all of them had a different way of saying, 'stay at this hotel because you can see the view'. haha The door to our room read "Please: put off your shoes and shandles use." 

At the hotel we ate lunch and then had the rest of the afternoon to hang out. We checked out some of the few shops in the town. There were two book shops and considering the fact they were located on top of this random mountain, they had a pretty broad selection of novels. Steve bought 'Water for Elephants' and headed back to the room to read. I searched around the town for a spot of sunshine to sit in.

A goat just chilling outside of the hotel.

I was sitting on a wall of the town just watching people. I saw one family headed up the stone steps path. Just picture this scene: The mom had on a hiking backpack and was holding the hand of a 6 year old boy. The six year old had on a small back pack and some intense trekking shoes. He had clearly been climbing this whole way on foot. The Dad was carrying an eight month old baby on his chest with a baby carrier thing AND he was wearing a full hiking pack on his back. There were two porters. One just had a basket of the families stuff on his back. The other porter had on a hiking backpack that was designed to also hold a very small person. So that porter was carrying stuff, and a 2 (or 3) year old as well. 
Talk about a family vacation!! 

View of the sunset hitting the mountains from the hotel.

Headed back to the hotel. Bought a chocolate bar and a book, 'Three Cups of Tea'. My mom suggested this book a while ago and I decided it would be nice to have something to read for the rest of the trip. The chocolate bar was wrapped in a golden foil. Immediately I thought of Charlie and the Chocolate factory. When I got back to the room I was singing, "I've got a golden tick-et!! I've got a golden ti-cket!!" Okay, I was kind of tired. 
The golden ticket chocolate bar.

We ordered dinner and read our books downstairs. It was so nice and warm by the fire and the sound of all the hotel people speaking Nepalese was somewhat calming. It's kind of a bouncy sounding language. So far we've learned that "Jam jam" means "let's go". I think I'll use that one back in the states haha.

I was broken from my reading trance by the sound of loud sizzling. Apparently the dish I ordered for dinner was served in a pan while it was literally still cooking. It was a chicken leg with potato wedges, cooked carrots, cabbage and spinach. I topped off dinner with a glass of Masala tea. It was great. Steve got mixed noodles and soup.

My sizzling plate of dinner: potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and chicken. Yum.

We made plans with Nim for the morning. We're getting up super early to hike up to Poon Hill for the sunrise. The view is supposed to be spectacular. It was cold up on the mountains at night so I was siked when I found out there was hot water for showers. I'm telling you, these little tea house hotels really know what they're doing. I took an awesome hot shower, changed into my clothes as quick as possible (because the air was freezing) and then realized that the permanently open window in the bathroom might have just allowed viewing access of my shower to the entire mountain. Ha! 
This bathroom had an actual toilet!! It was such an awesome surprise!!

Poon Hill tomorrow at 5:30 AM!! 
Then an 8 hour trek back to our starting point at Naya Pul!! 
It's gonna be a long day!!

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