In the summer of 2021 – we decided to take a little break – a year of the pandemic had really taken its toll on the minds of my fello w comrades and myself. So we decided it was time for some long deserved R&R session.
Well the R&R stands for a rest and relaxation – but we’ll get back to that later.
So on the Occassion of the Nepali New Year 2078 – we decided to go to Mardi. Here I attempt to recollect the journey.
We left from Kathmandu on Bike on the 31st of Chaitra on bike, we arrive on Pokhara the very same day,
We arrived at Pokhara in the middle of a semi-dust-rain filled storm – and were more than glad that we arrived before the heavy rains came upon us. Soaking wet – we entered into our hotel – Hotel Hulk. The hotel was quite spacious – and quite white – seriously – quite white – but all in all it was quite a comfortable / luxurious hotel and we settled in pretty quick.
The next few days were spent stocking up on supplies
- Shoes etc etc.
Our journey then began, our planned trip
Pokhara => Dhampus (Day 0) => Forest Camp ( Day 1 ) => High Camp ( Day 2 ) => Mardi View Point ( Day 3 )
The evening from Pokhara we took a scorpio to Dhampus. Unfortunately rainfall wouldn’t leave us alone ( damn you global warming ). Whilst this is the beginning of summer or maybe we could call it the ending of spring – the rain (unexpected) would follow us – throughout this trip (more on that later).
The hills leading to Dhampus were quite slippery and we were glad our driver was an experienced individual that navigated the slippery terrain with aplomb.
We arrive at our hotel at 8ish – with a chill in the air and excitement in our minds. Once we had the lodging fixed – we then settled in for an evening of food by the cozy fireplace.
To Live, life to the fullest
The Next day – our journey began in earnest – no more bikes, cars or mechanical beings from here on out. After a nice heavy breakfast to charge our batteries – we made our way to Pitam Deurali – our first pit stop on the journey. We would be eating our Lunch ( Daal Bhaat Power 24 hours ) there.
The road along the way was quite relaxing a gentle slop to begin with :
From there on end – it was a long long……long long way to Forest Camp – our intended pit stop for the first leg of the trek.
The road now was surrounded by the sounds of nature – birds singing, the bristling wind and the insects chirping.
By this time the group detached to sub-sections the slow walkers and fast walkers.
The slow walkers rested and kept gentle pace (relatively).
and some more
On the trail – which were pretty straightforward are marked with these blue and white markings on the trees – these were indicators for weary travelers to look out for.
And there were a lot of them – A LOT OF THEM – the trek from Pitam Deurali to Forest Camp (our pit stop for the day) took around 8 hours.
We arrived around 5-ish. Following the white marks were a great way to travel – it indicated that the Forest Camp was still a few ways away.
Even though it was evening – we decided to make our way from Forest Camp to Rest Camp. After asking around – the locals council-led that going to rest camp was a better idea, as it would be an easier the day after. Unfortunately for us, the weather which had been great the whole day long, turned. But, we had made the decision to push forward, and before the rains would dampen our spirits, we decided to hustle on. By the way – the higher we got – the colder it was getting. So it was – cold – damp and miserably uncomfortable.
Add to that the steep – steep walk from Forest Camp to Rest Camp and it was quite an eventful leg of the trip.
That night we arrived at Rest Camp – and i’m sure it would’ve been much more comfortable if the weather had been forgiving.
Alas the weather was not forgiving – and – all thoughts of a nice long shower after a long hike shortly disappeared once our hands touched the freezing cold water. It was hard enough of a task to wash ones face – let alone – erm – other regions. I have no photos of Rest Camp – as the battering rain and the cold and the darkness had our plucky team spending more time settling in rather than celebrating.
To High Camp
The next day – we got up early in the morning – and our goal – HIGH CAMP – our 2nd Pit Stop of the tour.
The route would be from Rest Camp = Low Camp = Badal Dada = High Camp.
And the journey was quite the same really – trees, insects, birds – quite cheerful for the most part.
We arrived at a restaurant/travelers lodge just short of Badal Dada – the weather was clear and our spirits high. We had our lunch there around Noon-ish. When we arrived at Badal Dada – there were thunderstorms all around, we had no other options than to wait it out, and so we did.
The lad – who ran the shop – seeing the thunderstorms promptly informed us to turn off all our electronics and stay inside. Which we promptly obliged. I googled this later – but – I still wouldn’t risk a thunderbolt on the basis of google over local wisdom 😀 .
Any way – fast forward a few hours – the rains / storms subsided and we were on our way – the clouds were gone (for the most part) and the journey forward looked to clear (we were wrong). This would prove to be the most treacherous leg of our journey.
After crossing Badal Dada – and heading towards high camp – the terrain changed drastically – the trees we saw so much of and were quite frankly sick off had disappeared. It was now full of – stones and shrubs, we would soon miss those trees quite badly.
Half way up to our final destination, a gust of wind had brought the rains again – and as we were climbing quite an inclined plain – this was troubling. More troubling – were the thunderstorms and hailstorms that followed. We were stuck in a plain area with no shelter and being batter by hail and thunder right above our heads. Watching thunder flash right a top your head is quite frightning.
With no option – the team – huddled up over what looked like a small shelter made for goat farmers. The 6 of us huddled together while being battered by the unforgiving gods. It felt like eternity – in reality it was a brief moment in time.
The rains and thunder calmed down – a bit, and we pushed forward ( no other choice really ). To Shelter.
So on a slick wet – stony orifice we moved forward – traversing the steep hillside to get to High Camp. The snow/hail/rain combination on the road is something i won’t easily forget – and we finally arrived at High Camp our penultimate stop for the tour.
The sun kissed mountains,
Are A sight To Be Hold
To MBC View Point
The next day we – made our way to the View Point – a steep uphill climb. The start of the journey was pretty easy – and we were making very good time. However – i should mention – High Camp and above are areas that can cause altitude sickness and it’s a good idea to keep a watch out for symptoms. After 2 days of rain we kept an eye out for that as well.
From here on end though – the path was steep and it continued for what seemed ages.
Straight up the mountain we went. We were for large parts crawling up the mountain side – for large parts infact.
If you looked at the locals striding through – it might’ve been a bit disheartening. But – the road ahead IS indeed quite steep.
Most videos / vlogs on youtube dont have this area covered – why ? because the road requires use of all of your limbs.
So…..yeah i don’t have pictures. Someone – should strap a go pro on their chest
Finally we made it to the top – and view (what we could see of it) was spectacular.