From Mardi Himal Trail in Nepal: On any day I find myself sitting all day, I pretty much get bored. I am not the kind of guy who likes his butt glued to a chair. I can’t stay at one place for long. Every time I get bored, I have an itch to go somewhere where there are fewer people, and where the presence of nature is in abundance. A serene place where cool wind blows and scenery is set by snow-capped mountains is absolutely my kind of escape. I find such a place very relaxing.
After Nepal’s tragic high magnitude earthquake earlier this year, I visited many places for relief work. But these visits are not the “getting out” I itch to experience. I was going to these damaged places, and that in no way is fun travelling. I went from village to village, but not for me, it was for a responsibility to my people, the people of Nepal. Nevertheless for five months I missed mountains; the mountains that I have visited since I was a teenager. I call them my home.
With the amount of severe damage from the earthquake, I wasn’t sure that the trails to the Himalayas would be safe to hike, or the villages of the mountains would still be intact! I wasn’t sure I would find any lodging for my stay on such travels. So I packed my tent along with my usual trekking rucksack. I had everything I needed, plus some Snicker bars with some dry fruits… great energy and quick nutrition for a hike! Nothing could stop me now as my mountains were calling me!
The thought of travelling did not let me sleep that night. I began to have the kind of feeling I always get when I am to head back into the arms of Nature. I had jitters in the middle of the night thinking about the bus ride, gushing rivers, the warm people of the mountains, and the mountains themselves. I was headed to one of the off beaten trails in Annapurna, Nepal. I usually take the tourist bus to Pokhara, rest a day there and take another bus the next day to the gateway. But, this time I hitched straight to Kande. Kande is the gateway to the Mardi Himal Trail in Nepal’s Himalayas. I was so desperate to see the mountains that I did not even stop to eat my main meal, just a bowl of noodles.
It was scorching hot but often the rains cooled me off. Most of the time it rained buckets! After a long, tiring first day hike, we spent our first night in the mountains at a place named Deurali, a focal point for the Mardi Himal Trail and the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. I was excited to be headed to the Mardi Himal Trail for the first time. We had the opportunity to stay in traditional Nepali tea houses, which I was not expecting. Just as the entire world must picture, I thought all of Nepal must be devastated from the enormous earthquake, but instead the houses in these mountain areas did not even show a single crack.
The day started with pouring rain. I didn’t expect this as we were in August! We spent half our time on the trail removing leeches, and finding our trail hidden behind the overgrown bushes. At times it was raining so heavy that our tents got drenched, and we were forced inside the local hotels: tea houses. I found the Mardi Himal Trail pretty easy. I’ve experienced much more difficult treks into Nepal’s Himalayas. So in no time that day we reached Low Camp. We arrived late in the evening to find only three tea houses, and all of them closed. Luckily I had taken a phone number for one of the owners. Thankfully he made sure a member of his team trekked down from High Camp, opened the tea house and served us a meal before bed.
So far along this trek the view had been pathetic. Most of the time the mountains played hide and seek within the clouds. It was no different this morning. We had a heavy breakfast of Tibetan bread, and set off on the trail entering an amazing dense forest of Rhododendron. Arghhh. I was pissed. It was raining relentlessly. We had been on the trail three days, and not even a single glimpse of the mountains. And, we now had arrived at the scenic vantage point, the zenith of this trek, High Camp, and nothing. If you don’t get a good shot from here, you don’t get a good shot from anywhere on Mardi Himal Trail! I made a call that we were staying at High Camp for another night, in hopes of the view clearing and getting a good shot. Staying another night came as a godsend as we were blessed with one of the most exotic views of the mountains!
After all the heavy rain, bites from leeches, 8 hours of trekking and a lot of patience, the trip felt worth it. We met our purpose, and finally after seeing what we came to see, we headed down the mountain. The experience energized us, and we headed home with such pace that we covered 3 days ground in 1 day! We reached Pokhara the same day from Mardi Himal High Camp. And that was the end of our expedition on the Mardi Himal Trail in Nepal.
If you enjoyed the Mardi Himal Trail in Nepal, check out more of Uzol’s Xplorer Journals from further adventures in Nepal, and his website, Wonderful Everest View Treks and Expedition… and make your dream of trekking Nepal a reality!