AsiaNepalPokhara

Pokhara : Sarangkot and other postcards from a recovering trekker.

Pokhara Travel Blog

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Sarangkot Stevie... d'ya like the 'go-faster' sweat-stripes on the shoulders? ;D

"Ooooouff!" Boy oh boy it's good to be resting m'weary limbs after all that trekking!  Time to let the muscles and blisters ease maybe... or maybe not! 

Yep, foolhardily on my first full day back in chills-ville Pokhara the travel dynamo inside of me is still whirring at full pelt and so I've set my sights on a mini-trek up to the hilltop village pinacle of Sarangkot.  On a good clear today it apparently offers insurpassable views both north to encompas the entire west to east span of the Annapurna mountain range, and also beautiful views back down over Lake Phewa Tal and Pokhara to the south.

  I can't resist!  I'm sorry limbs!  I apologise feet!  Please don't file for anatomical divorce.  I need you!  I love you all.  You know that right?  My darling muscles?  Dearest, weariest ligaments and tendons and toes? Stay with me.  I promise I'll give you some rest.  Somewhere.  Someday.  Soon ... maybe ;D

I start out easy and take a cab to the base of the principle trek trail (200 Rupee).  Sarangkot as an inhabited entity spreads in pockets of houses and tourist drinks 'n' eats stops windingly all the way up the mountain hillside.  Where possible it's best to step off the forever winding and double-backing tarmac of the main road for cars, bikes an' the like.  Head into the greenery.

The best (crappy) close up of Machhupuchhre possible on my stand-in P.O.S.2000 camera :)
  Shortcuts abound.  Some cute little cheeky girl skips along besides me for a good few turns in the road.  "One dollar, one dollar, one dollar, sweets, sweets, one dollar, one dollar, one dollar sweets..."  Beat-it kiddo.  My aching muscles deserve more attention than you right now!  The faithful spring loaded trek pole helps me wearily wend my way along the hillpaths and up the stone-cut steps 'tak tak tak tak tak tak'...  Important to note (as your Guide Books'll let you know) that - aside from driving up the road ("zzzzzzzz") there are two main routes of ascent to the top of Sarangkot.  One runs, for the most part, up the eastern flank of the hill and sporadically affords you tantalising glimpses of the Annapurna range to your right in the distance.
Silvery strecth of Phewa Tal as we start the descent back into Pokhara.
  The other way is a loooooong, precipitous stone stair 'n' path affair from the northern lakeside shores of Phewa Tal.  This though should NOT be your choice for ascent as a) you will not have any vision of the mountains on your way up, b) it'll be harder work, and c) the beautiful views of the lake will also be constantly over your shoulder.  So use the stairs as an easier, quicker, more scenic means of coming back down instead.

It's a good two hour stroll to the viewing platform at the very peak of Sarangkot, even having taken a cab to the hill base.  It has proven much, much harder work than I anticipated.  Slugging back water every step of the way.  It's another knockout hot day so I've sweated a new river concourse to feed the waters of Phewa Tal below and my leg muscles are very VERY angry with me for this uncalled for excersise after all the faithful service they've rendered me over the last 14 days.

Phewa Tal.
  They whine, moan and cry every step of the way.  I must appear quite broken to the innumerable stall holders that line the upper roadside climbs of the trail.  Fear not people, this is an easy, enjoyable walk.  Not strenuous at all normally I'd hazard a guess, it's just the condition I'm in right now.

As ever in these situations throughout my journey though, it is worth the effort and pain.  Having spent the last two weeks deep within the stoney embrace of the mountain range.  Cupped within its craggy hands and straining neck and eyes to the skies to take in Annapurna's mountainous might and majesty, now there they all are!  The beautiful snowy peaks, now so much further away, stretched out before me in a line.  The skies are mercifully clear and unhazy today.

Tal Barahi, Pokhara
  Heat haze ruining the view is common and you should set out earlier, rather than later in the day to get any chance of that 'perfect view' as cloud and haze are near guaranteed to spoil Mother Nature's beauty pageant later on in the afternoon.  Today you can take in practically the entire point-to-point compass span of the range.  The iconic point of Machhupuchhre acting as your guiding reference point.

To the south Phewa Tal, far below, appears as a silvery, glistening mirror above which hover and incongruous coupling of eagles and parascenders, floating together in a beautiful, colourful aerial waltz upon the thermals.  There are loooads of parascenders out there today.  I count a good 15 and more floating and gliding about one another.  From this distance it seems a miracle that they don't collide into one another and spiral down into the waters below.

:D "Ahhhh" Pashmina shawls need love too!

I have a pleasant, if knee-jarring trek down the winding stoney stairway accompanied by two affable Israeli brothers Itamel and Iftah.  Some monkeys are spotted in the trees.  The lake glistens all the way, and it's a nice way to re-enter the main lakeside stretch of Pokhara by strolling around the lakes shores.  There's nothing more complicated to do with my day than sit in shaded coffee houses and read.  Finally giving body and mind the respite it really, really needs now.  No more mountains for now, love them though I do.  After two weeks of living a fairly rough quality of life I also treat myself to an important Travel First.  Letting another man put a sharpened blade to my throat for the first time in my life for a much needed shave.  This is a nice experience only soured by the fact that the stated cost of 50 Ruppee suddenly turns into 500 Ruppee (!!! haggled down from 600 !!!) the extra being due for the uncalled for, but pleasing enough snip to my locks and a lame-ass facial and shoulder massage.

A much-needed shave and overly-vigorous facial massage.
  Darn it!  I punish myself for this low-level scam by only allowing myself satsumas and Hob-Nob buiscuits for dinner.

My remaining day or so in Pokhara are pure R&R (Rest and Recouperation).  I take morning boat ride into the lake and across the waters to visit the highly sacred Barahi Temple that rests upon a small island at the lakes centre.  Literally busloads full of devotion bearing hindus visit this shrine every day.  It's always busy.  Only 25 Ruppee for the boat there and back.

And so, my legs slightly eased and soothed.  It's time to move on again.  Time's ticking away on my Nepali visa sadly so it's time to get back to where the action is, although Pokhara is definitely a wonderfully relaxing and pretty destination where one could become entrenched quite easily in the joys of Slow Life and not go anywhere else.

Chillin' in Pokhara with Dostoevsky and coffee.
  For my part though... there's sooo much more of this fascinating country I wish to see, so it's back on the bus tomorrow for me.

Stevie_Wes says:
True enough my friend. True enough. :)
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
sylviandavid says:
Great blog..... Don't punish yourself for getting taken.... it happens a million times a day... not that it's right but they have more experience at being crooked than you do at stopping them.... Sylvia
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
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Sarangkot Stevie... dya like the …
Sarangkot Stevie... d'ya like the…
The best (crappy) close up of Mach…
The best (crappy) close up of Mac…
Silvery strecth of Phewa Tal as we…
Silvery strecth of Phewa Tal as w…
Phewa Tal.
Phewa Tal.
Tal Barahi, Pokhara
Tal Barahi, Pokhara
:D  Ahhhh  Pashmina shawls need …
:D "Ahhhh" Pashmina shawls need…
A much-needed shave and overly-vig…
A much-needed shave and overly-vi…
Chillin in Pokhara with Dostoevsk…
Chillin' in Pokhara with Dostoevs…
The Annapurna Range in the distanc…
The Annapurna Range in the distan…
You dont need luck if you are go…
'You don't need luck if you are g…
Annapurna Range seen from Sarangko…
Annapurna Range seen from Sarangk…
Hazey mountains (& trident)
Hazey mountains (& trident)
Loooooadsa paragliders dreamily dr…
Loooooadsa paragliders dreamily d…
Tal Barahi temple on the island in…
Tal Barahi temple on the island i…
Tal Barahi, Pokhara.
Tal Barahi, Pokhara.
Cow & Marigolds.
Cow & Marigolds.
Pokhara
photo by: Makkattack