Annapurna Sanctuary trek (part 5) Jhinudanda - Pokhara

Pothana Travel Blog

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Woke up to another gorgeous morning and a lovely view from the breakfast table, but just not feeling it today.  I've never done a trek over 5 days before and its taking its toll.  Back pack feeling like its got some new boulders hidden at the bottom, but set off at 8 for a final full day of trekking. Thankfully, the 1st couple of hours provided the 1st good length of flat path as we followed the valley through pretty fields of flowers that looked like bluebells and trees showing autumnal red colours with still plenty of waterfalls to walk by.  Views of the mountains slowly receding but still looking impressive and visible over the closer hills.   

Made good progress and the bridge crossings at least have handrails to cling on to as it tries to bounce you over the side in to the rapids below.

  Then we got to Landruk !  Similar to Chhomrong with a hellish number of steps to get up in to town.  I was at the point of sitting down in a sulk and moving no more. Instead bloody stubborness pushed me to climb the 300 metres in 1 go leaving Harka behind.  He recognised the score and found a tea house to have a break in Landruk.  I still took my vengeance out by demandng a 2nd lemon tea before I moved a step further.  

We carried on when Harka got a phone call.  Normally used to letting him be pace maker steadily walking behind him, when he sat down, I wasn't stopping.

  Carried on on my own to let him catch up when I wanted a break.  1st time set free of the guide shackles, feeling much better and really enjoyed the freedom of having the whole valley to myself.  I didn't bump in to 1 person and happily enjoying the views of the farmers fields when  turned a corner and interrupted a family of monkeys enjoying a litle sunbathing on a bench.  Most of them scarpered but 3 adults charged me.  Bracing myself for I've no idea what, they had 2nd thoughts and darted in to the undergrowth 5 metres short.  5 minutes later I got to the bridge and found a local Nepalese barring my way.  He had a sign but no idea what it read so barged past him leaving him shouting in my wake.  A little disconcerted about events under my own steam and my sulk over, decided to fall back in to the safety of having a guide and waited for Harka at the top of the next hill.
  I'm such a tourist and will never be a proper traveller "-(

The rest of the day was supposed to be undulating, but I didn't see any down.  The climb up to Tolka was another tough climb, but not feeling so bad knowing that the hard work was nearly done.  Made it in to a very pretty lodge for lunch that had originally been planned for that nights stop before Harka decided it would be best to get as far as possible in case the Maoist strike continued and we needed to walk back to Pokhara.  Had a long leisurely lunch before carrying on to Deurali.  This time Harka stopped again for a long chat with a local guest house.  Starting to wonder why he was stopping so much.

  After a long break and after he had picked up a big stick, he explained that a tourist had had all their belongings stolen by some unknown Nepalese bandits between the new bridge and Landruk.  Feeling suddenly insecure and thinking that it was only after Landruk that I had set off on my own, happy to stay in company as Harka was on visible high alert.  We waited for a young Nepalese family to approach before Harka arranged for us all to walk together lessening the chance of attack. 

We made it up to Deurali to find Luc waiting for us.  He had arrived 2 hours earlier and had filled his time drinking raksi. After failing to persuade any of us to stay, he was heard settling his bill and staggering behind us and shouting after to me to sing to him.

  The family trying to distance themselves from us to avoid making themselves a target but Harka and I were determined to keep up.  Still walking through jungle and now in a cloud forest, very pretty, but in no mood to stop for photos.  Made it safely to Pothana with Luc 5 minutes behind. 

Day 10 - Home time.  Having walked much further than originally planned on day 9 in case strike continued, we found the strike had ended leaving us just a quick 2 hours down hill trek to Phedi to complete.  Feeling sad to be leaving such a beautiful area, but ready for the comfort of a bed and en suite hot shower.  Comfortable walk although some sections of steep downhill steps that could still be dangerous, made it back to our taxi pick up point.  We were back in Pokhara by lunch time and after quickly checking back in to Yeti Guest House, went out for lunch with Harka for some fine dining Nepalese cuisine.  Introduced to buckwheat which had the consistency of dough, but very nice with a daal bhat-esque lunch.  washed down with Nepal whisky, a good celebration to end the trip before Harka left for kathmandu.  Harka insisted on paying, but I followed protocol and gave him a generous tip for being such a star putting up with my bad days.  Happy departure and commitment to meet up when I got to kathmandu,  I was on my own again.

Good to just catch up with civilisation and made contact with nearest and dearest before a pre-arranged meeting with Luc for a bit of pool.  Predicatably he was drunk again.  After a quick beer, followed him to a hidden pool hall he knew of.  En route called in at a cafe where he knew some of the clientelle.  His friends were a Spaniard who travelled to Liverpool  often to visit his Buddhist teacher about 2 hours away, and an English guy who refused to acknowledge he was from anywhere.  Quickly ready to leave, I left them to their marijuana and Luc walked me on to the pool hall.  It turned out to be 1 snooker table which was being used.  I left Luc arguing to get use of the table and walked back to the main strip and a quick beer at the Busy Bee.  It might be touristy, but I know where I stand !!


Saladin79 says:
Hi And,

Just caught up with your travelling tales - most amusing. It's weird hearing about the Busy Bee and Amsterdam bar - I went there when I was in Pokhara in my final few days before coming home.

Anyway - take care of yourself and good luck with the rest of the trip - I'll be reading along.


P.S. Can't believe you like dhal bhat - you must have been bloody hungry!
Posted on: Dec 12, 2009
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