For 15 days from late September to early October this year Nepal was gripped by it’s largest and most important festival; Dashain (described in my last post). What this meant for me personally this year was a week long public holiday after only 3 days at work and no plans. So, time for a short, spontaneous adventure… As I am sure you know, Nepal is famous for trekking including 8 of the world’s tallest mountains of over 8000m+ culminating in Everest at an incredible 8848m. But we thought we’d work our way up to that by starting out with a mini-trek around the Kathmandu valley ring of “hills”…
#1 A short taxi ride from Kathmandu brought us to Sundarijal at the southern border of the Shivapuri National Park and ready before just before 8am to start the >1000m ascent of day one in glorious sunshine (October 1st);
#2 As our trek was during the biggest days of Nepal’s biggest Hindu festival Dashain the paths were busy with Nepalese in their best new clothes & bright tikas (symbolic marking on the forehead) heading to visit relatives in surrounding villages or go to important temples to give offerings. Here one family benefited from my companion Clare’s photography skills for a group shot;
#3 Flights of steep steps wound their way up into the Shivapuri National Park and through the few small villages situated within the park;
#4 As we climbed we started to get a taste of the views to come – this is the view west across the Shivapuri National Park;
#5 In between the flights of steep steps we also followed some amazing sunken ways for much of the first day. I am not completely sure (we didn’t have a guide, there was just me and my map!?) but I believe this was originally one of the main trade routes through the hills between Kathmandu and Tibet. Hence centuries of being pounded by foot and hoof have created some stunning, atmospheric routes;
#6 Finally, some 7 hours later we make it over the Borlang Bhanjyang (Nepali for Borlang mountain pass) at 2451 metres – over 1000m higher than where we started the day at Sundarijal. Here my fellow trekkers Clare and Carole take in the views on the other side and enjoy the novelty of walking down hill!
This about sums up day 1 of this five day long mini adventure so be assured there will be more posts on the proceeding days to come shortly. In fact, for those of you who are watching closely and/or signed up for email notifications – watch out, I feel a post bonanza coming on!