Monday was Trek day. Kim's husband helped us pack most of our things into one giant pack the night before:
|Here Kim is wearing our pack|
|And here is a comparison to a normal backpack on Christin|
To begin our trek, we had to fly to Pokhara, so our first adventure was exploring the domestic air travel procedures. The airport basically resembled a construction site on the outside, and a warehouse on the inside. There was one row of kiosks representing each domestic carrier and the airlines were named things like "Yeti" and "Buddha Air." This was exactly the aesthetic I wanted going into a Himalayan adventure.
|Walking into the airport|
Our plane was a small propeller filled so full that a poor guy had to ride in the jump seat, awkwardly staring at the other passengers.
|hey buddy! you're going the wrong way!|
The flight was short and it gave us our first glimpse of the peaks.
We landed in Pokhara and walked towards baggage claim, which ended up being this:
Where someone handed our bags to us through the front window like a Taco Bell order.
We gathered "Christina" (the name we gave our giant bag after realizing we had a ticket for "Christina" instead of Christin. Thankfully no one cared that Christin's ID didn't match her ticket and both Christin and "Christina" were able to get on the flight) and headed out to find our guide.
Our guide's name was Dom. There was a group of Nepali men who we assumed were guides standing around at the gate and we spent a few minutes awkwardly staring at them before finally hesitantly inquiring "Dom?" in various directions to see if he was there.
Though fortunately we didn't have to wait long for him to drive up and after quickly making a shocked face upon taking in the height of Christin and I, he grabbed Christina and we all took off in his jeep. We drove towards the trail head, catching glimpses of "Fishtail" mountain along the way,
|That pointy cloud in front of us is actually Fishtail. The peaks looked fake because they were so tall and cloud-covered.|
|Me, my tea, and a gorgeous river.|
So after our de-layering, we continued the start of our trek.
The terrain changed throughout the journey, so I've bunched everything into four main categories in my brain:
"Lord of the Rings'ish"
We started with Terraced Fields. I had seen photos somewhere of Bali years ago and all I remember were these gorgeous hills where the landscape was in terraces, stair-stepping down the hills and I always wanted to see something like that. When I learned that there were fields like that all over Nepal, I was stoked. (And I also decided I probably never needed to go see Bali then. Sorry, Bali! This is awkward...)
And because there were no cars around now, things were moved by mules. And the villages usually had water buffalo, goats, and various other pets roaming around as well. So our stone stairs were often the bathroom of choice for these animals, so there wasn't a day that went by that didn't involve stairs and manure.
But -- the views. I felt like I was already at the top of the world on the first day because we headed straight up the sides of mountains (of terraced fields) and you quickly couldn't even see the bottom of the valley below, just a giant crevasse between you and another giant mountain (of terraced fields).
|a village in terraced fields|
|more fields up close|
|stone stairs among terraced fields|
|stone stairs heading up the side of the mountain...|
|....stone stairs looking down into the valley....|
|..stone stairs by a typical restaurant....|
stone stairs in my sleep. stone stairs in my dreams....stone stairs in my soul!...
But I wish you could understand how crazy high and open it all felt. Breathtaking.
We stopped and ate Dal Bhat
|Sitting outside our tea house overlooking this amazing expanse of pure World|
|Outside of the tea house|
|One of our rooms (which also had incredible views)|
I fell asleep that first night to the sound of mule trains outside my window, where people led lines of mules with tinkling bells on their collars to transport goods. It's like the high altitude version of the CSX.
We got up early the next morning, had breakfast and masala tea, then headed out again.
Putting on our clothes, hiking 20 minutes, then taking half of them back off...
At some point we stopped to buy souvenirs because how often do you get the chance to haggle over jewelry on the side of a mountain? Here I am, mid-negotiation:
|Even at high altitudes, shiny things=girl magnets|
More in the next post.