Day 19: Birethanti to Pokhara (altitude 820m)
So we were woken up nice and early this morning by the family who owns the hotel having a row at about 6.30am, so we got up, packed up and after having a quick breakfast of sweet tea and coconut cookies we set off.
We had seen an old trail on the map that avoided the road, so we asked a few people and managed to find it tucked away down near the river. It was an amazing bit of trail, and one of my favourite parts of the trip. It looked like the trail had been built in the late 70s when they opened the circuit to westerners, but then the road must have been built soon after, and the trail abandoned. You could tell it used to be as good as the other main trails, bt had seen 20 years of neglect. There were old closed up tea houses and crumbling ruins of stairs, with vines and creepers everywhere. Parts of the trail had been washed away or lost in landslides etc, and in those places small local footpaths wound around trees to find the other end of the broken trail. It was a great few hours, climbing all the time, but through proper jungle, and I felt like an actual explorer, it was great fun.
After a while we came out into a clearing, and a small village, where they all seemed quite surprised to see us, but really friendly and happy. The next few small villages were the same, although there were a few more hikers in each village, which I guessed meant that we were getting closer to the road, and soon enough we turned a corner and saw the main road below us, winding round the cliffs.
After anther 30 minutes of walking we came to the junction with the road, it was quite a wide Tarmac road, with loads of traffic, lorries and buses etc on it, and it would have made for a dusty, horrible walk for a few miles until we could find another small bit of trail. We sat down and discussed it and decided we should flag down a bus and head back to Pokhara. We had made it as far as a village called Khandi, which is a lot farther than most people walk, so although we were sad to not make it all the way to pokhara, we were glad to have made it so far. We’ve walked just over 300km in 18 days since we set off, which is pretty good going considering we’ve also been 5.5km high!
In the end we didn’t get a bus as a taxi pulled over and we managed to get him down to 1000 rupees, which isn’t much more than a bus. It was. Bumpy 30 minute ride back to Pokhara, and when we arrived back at our hotel the manager recognised us and was happy to see us. We got a room, headed up and unpacked our bags and started to sort stuff out. The hotel has a laundry service so I’m going I get everything washed properly, washing them in a bucket on the trail isn’t quite the same as having properly laundered clothes!
We got our bags back that we had left here, after a brief scare where he couldn’t find my bag, it turned up locked away in another room, and then we went out to have a look co some lunch. We were looking for a restaurant Simon visited last time, but couldn’t find it, and we had just given up when we heard people calling our name, and saw Dan and Ken, the two Canadians from the first day on the trail, they were sat in a pizza place and they said it was really good, so we stopped there for lunch and had a really tasty pizza. It was good to catch up with them, they had been a. Few days behind us by the time we went over the pass, and then had gotten a bus to Jomsom and had jumped a few days ahead of us, which is why we hadn’t seen them after the first 2 or 3 days.
They had been in Pokhara for a few days and were leaving in the morning, so we said our goodbyes after lunch and went our separate ways. We looked in the shops on the way back, working out which shops had the best stuff and the best prices, and then went back to the hotel to chill out for a few hours. We had dinner at the hotel later on, i had a veggie curry, which as nice, but really spicy, a bit too hot for me to be honest, but I was still pretty full from the pizza, so Simon finished mine off.
The shower was cold as the power was off, but if washed the best I could and then hit the hay the power being off also means there’s no internet, but I’ll send the tomorrow hopefully or as soon as I can!