April 29: Kathmandu to Pokhara

The day started early with the task of repacking our belongings into a smaller duffel bag in preparation for the next leg of our trip -- the trek into the Anaphora Mountains. Each one of us had been given a small duffel bag and were told by the guide to pack for several days. Anything we did not need on the trek was to be put in our original suitcase and it would stay behind in storage.

The flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara only lasts 30 minutes but it not only flies parallel to the mountain range giving all a fantastic view of the snow capped mountains, it transports one from the highly polluted city of Kathmandu to the clear, fresh air of the upper elevation of Pokhara. Kathmandu is a city of millions -- Pokhara is a city of much less. The people and the homes have not been so "westernized" and still wear their traditional clothing, farm the old way, generally live a much simpler life. The pace is much slower and definitely much quieter!

After reaching the trekking station and meeting our guide we were bussed the additional two hours up into the mountains. The road is two lane and in many places very rutted. The monsoon season during the summer months washes out the roads in many places and the government is slow to repair. No one seems to let it bother them though. The bus barely slowed down while flying over the potholes. Like in the large city, the drivers do what they want, when they want, whether it would be a smart move or not. Passing when convenient -- would be safer, but if in a hurry just beep your horn and go. The road was primarily a switchback up the side of the mountain and then down into the next valley. We got passed and we passed vehicles on turns, in blind spots, whenever we wanted. Just hit that horn!!

Once we reached the end of the road where we would start our trek to Sanctuary Lodge, our base camp for the next couple of days, the bags were unloaded and met by six women with large woven baskets. The duffel bags were divided up among the basket. Then each women would pick up the basket on her back with a strap around her forehead to hold it here and marched off up the trail. Each basket had to weigh a minimum of 60 pounds! They acted as if it was a grocery bag weight at the most!! The walk was up a mountain trail that is used not only by hikers, but by the local people going about their daily routine. School children in uniform passed us wearing flip flops jumping over the rocks and stones. We all were decked out with hiking boots, backpacks, and hiking poles being put to total disgrace by some elementary kids on their way home back up the mountain after school.

About 20 minutes into the walk thunder started to roar in the background. With sheer cliffs on either side of us, we knew that if those clouds decided to enter the gap between we were going to get wet. No more than a thought later, it happened. The skies opened up and the wind started to blow. We ran as fast as we could for cover and fortunately for us a small home was not too far off the trail. Am not sure the family knew what hit them but there we were all huddled under their corrugated metal roof.

As soon as the rain slowed down it was on with ponchos and off again. Other than now the pathway was a small stream and the rocks slippery, the scenery was beautiful. The higher we go the quieter it gets! After a couple hours of hiking we reached Sanctuary Lodge, our base camp for the next several days. It is a beautiful place with well equipped rooms situated on a mountain river. We are the only guests so the staff dote on us with lemonade as we arrive, tea and cookies at 5pm, Happy Hour at 6, dinner at 7, with the generator going out at 9:30pm!!! Lights out whether one wants it that way or not!!

It's 9:25, so that's all for now!! Namaste!!!!

Welcome to Pokhara

Our Bus

Repacking at the Trekking Office

Our New Bags

Head Porter

Porter Team

Diviving Up The Bags

Anxiously Waiting

Loading Up

Off Over a Suspension Bridge

Working the Rice Patty

Children on the Way to "Town"

Another Bridge

Public Way Station!

All in a Day's Work

Our Trail

Sanctuary Lodge

Our View

Prem, Our Trekking Guide

Tea Time!

Sign over the Door

Notice in Room