I am writing from Lakeside, Pokhara. Less crowded, cleaner and quieter than Kathmandu and with incomparable views over the Annapurna Range, Pokhara is a very pleasant town in which to take a few days of rest.
We left Kathmandu on the 21st of November, taking a two hours local bus ride to Sundarijal to start the Gosainkund Trek in the Helambu Region.
I knew very little about this trek and was agreeably surprised by what it offered. We felt strong and well rested after four days of break. But only two days after starting, I suffered from a terribly annoying case of giardia which would stay with me for two weeks. It didn't keep me from walking and enjoying the stunning Lauribina Pass (4610m), the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the extensive views over the white peaks of Langtang, Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna Himals in the distance.
At the holy Gosainkund Lake, a pure gem tucked in the mountains after Lauribina Pass, I experienced Himalayan magic that words can hardly convey. That evening, I stood there, alone, contemplating a bright golden sunset over a sea of clouds, listening to the chanting of a Sadhu sitting behind me. The beauty of the scenery combined with the quality of the chanting created such a powerful, moving energy that I felt tears swelling up in my eyes. A true moment of bliss.
Now in the Langtang Region, we joined the high route of the GHT at Syabru Besi. From there it was a much less trodden path through the Ruby Valley where we had to camp a few nights on unused millet terraces, in dark and quiet pine forest or on frozen high pastures.
Weakened by two weeks of abdominal problems and floored by the antibiotics taken to cure them, I lived there my toughest hike on the Trail so far. The steep, never ending ups and downs of this region and the little food that sustained us made it exhausting. But it was a wonderful cultural experience, as we appreciated the generosity of the locals and witnessed their authentic ways of living, far away from the influence of the tourism industry.
We reconnected with that influence when we joined the Manaslu circuit. As a restricted area, Manaslu requires a guide. We therefore met our wonderful guide Bijaya who would walk with us for eight days.
The Manaslu Circuit is