Nearing the finish line: going west

Posted on 09 Jul 2018

Well, a lot has changed since our last post when we were finishing Upper Dolpo. We’ve moved into the final stage of the GHT – Rara Lake and the far west of Nepal.

We have a new member of the team who joined us in Jumla. Mar from Perth, Australia will accompany us for the final stage and we’re thrilled to have a new mate down the home stretch.

Weather-wise, we’ve been warned to expect the monsoon rains and they didn’t disappoint. As we were all heading to Jumla, they came with a passion for about 24 hours straight. On the trail, the impact was what you’d expect with wet gear and mud. For Mar and Bikash it was cancelled flights, long car rides and landslide delays; however, fingers crossed, the weather stays calm as it’s been wonderful with sunny days and cool evenings since then.

While we loved Dolpo, so far the west is impressing us as well.

Trail images: Into the green

I step carefully to avoid the biggest of the puddles and to avoid the deepest of the mud pits as we walk through a small village. The road has slightly dried from yesterday’s steady downpour, but the skies have not cleared yet and it looks like there could be more on the way. The temperature is good though, and the walk is pleasant as we make our way toward Jumla. We are gradually climbing up a small river – and with the clouds higher up the mountains, the brilliant green hillsides look like a cover of velvet between the clusters of pines.

As I get a glimpse ahead, I can see the river gorge begin to open into a wide valley ahead. The lush green grass has streams meandering through it from several directions and cattle are grazing as far as you can see.

Above the meadows the hillsides are covered with thick forest and fog left over from yesterday’s drenching wraps around the ridges and tucks into the ravines. The scene looks like it could come from most any high alpine location around the world but after walking through Dolpo, with its dry, dusty trails only a few days ago, I would never have pictured this as Nepal.

Moving into the soundless valley, a man is walking through a small herd of cattle to check on them and, soon after, a herd of fluffy sheep meander across the rolling hills. There's a tender nearby who is spinning wool into yarn as he trails the herd. He gives a small wave and probably wonders about our group passing through this green wonderland. After a short climb, we reach a pass, moving on from the valley that appeared out of nowhere and then was left behind.

More smile moments

Here are a couple of smile moments to break things up. It makes me smile when:

•    School recess is interrupted by a mule pack train that takes a shortcut through the school yard and no one seems to be bothered. I can only imagine what would happen at home.

•    A mule decides no one is looking and it might help itself to the corn in the feed bag a little early. It didn’t end well.

Also, some good wishes to send out to a good friend. To Amelia in Christchurch, New Zealand, a big happy birthday! Best wishes from Ken.

Nearing the end: Passes to remember

As we near the end of the GHT there are a few recaps and thank you messages in the next couple posts. For this one I compiled a list of high altitude passes and points we’ve crossed along the way. I guess this is just to show what bad, old dudes we are.

But really, this was one of the key ways we measured our progress across Nepal – how many more passes are left? Here’s the list:

All the best from the GHT,
Vince, Ken, Mar and Bikash

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