First of all, I would like to apologize for the lack of updates and news on this website about my adventure on the Great Himalaya Trail.
Here is the reason why: I am far from being a tech freak, and in "normal" life, I am usually happy with a phone that can just send texts, and social medias are not my forte. There is little access to wifi along the trek, my phone is too old to support the app that would allow me to transfer my photos from my camera, and therefore I am not able to put photos online. So I am sorry, but in the age of fast internet, social media frenzy and constant connection with the whole world, I am not updating my website and Facebook feed regularly.
However, while seeing my hiking companions so well connected and with much following on their social media profiles, I am happy to be less connected to the world and more with the environment, the people and with myself.
Anyway, at this present moment, I am sitting in front of a proper computer with relatively fast internet access in Kathmandu, and have a few days without any hiking in front of me, so I take advantage of this time to give you a bit of news.
We are now taking a four days break in Kathmandu to rest and recover from the first leg of the GHT and to prepare the second.
We started in Taplejung the 25th of September 2017. From there we walked strait West, at first through the lower Makalu Region, traversing vibrant green rice fields and lush jungle in a sweltering heat, with dozens of leeches crawling up our ankles. It was a brutal start with very heavy packs loaded with over 12 days of food, where we understood one thing: the concept of flat ground was going to become precious due to its rarity. These first two weeks signified for us a full immersion in Nepal. We didn't meet another Westerner for about 14 days, local people came out of their houses to watch us with curious stares, and none of them spoke English.
After the heat of the lush jungle, we gradually climbed to the frozen white heavens of the higher Makalu Region. From the wonderful place that is Makalu Base Camp, we reached the pinnacle of our trek, litterally and figuratively, when crossing the magnificent Sherpani Col and West Col, both over 6000m of altitude. The experience was awesome in the original sense of the word.
To me, this was one of the best experience of my life. Unfortunately for my friend Eef, it was a near disaster as she fell while abseiling from Sherpani Col and suffered from a concussion. She was extremely lucky, and extremely strong as well, to be able to walk out. Following the accident, instead of taking the planned route over the dangerous pass called Amphu Labsta, we walked down the valley, then over a non-technical, but stunning pass called Mera La. We stayed in the comfort of the villages of Lukla and Namche for a few days for Eef to recover.
From there, we joined thousands of tourists on the crowded Everest Base Camp Trek. Up to Everest Base Camp, Kala Pathar, the passes Cho La and Renjo la (which to me offered the most breathtaking view of the Everest Range). The stunning scenery made up for the almost unbearable amount of people there. Eef recovered well, but we all caught the infamous "Khumbu Cough", which altered P-J's strength considerably.
I was pleased to get off the beaten path from Thame over another high pass, Tashi Labsta, into our third region: The Rolwaling. Tashi Labsta wasn't as technical as Sherpani Col and West Col, but crossing the large Trakarding Glacier on the other side was a mission I will not forget anytime soon. Especially when our guide and porter mercilessly abandoned us before the prearranged point of separation. I was too stunned to ask for some money back or argue about their decision, but we eventually made it across the maze of ice and rocks safely to the village of Na.
The Rolwaling valley from Na to Gongar offered an enjoyable walk down to warmer grounds. We decided to go back to Kathmandu by bus from Gongar as the trails on the western side of Rolwaling seem to be crossing too many roads to our taste. Moreover, a rest in town was then very much needed.
We are now preparing the next part of our journey: the regions of Helambu, Manaslu and Annapurna. We hope to beat the snow and still walk on the high route of the Great Himalaya Trail for a while.
Thank you for reading!