I think he get so used to my daily questioning about the trail, whether if it’s going to be easy or difficult. So instead of waiting for my inquiries, he voluntarily briefed me on what to expect twice daily, before and after each hike.
The Day 6 trail began with an hour walk uphill followed by mostly flat and downhill terrain, since we are now officially moving further away from Annapurna mountains and circling our way back to Pokhara.
As expected the first part is always the most difficult, adjusting the body momentum to move uphill. It is indeed always a test of patience, I have to keep telling myself that it I am almost there, I just need to move forward.
After only thirty minutes walk uphill, I stopped by at one of the guesthouses at the village of and bought a bar of Snickers and bottled water.
I had a brief discussion with the lady shop owner and asked her why she seems to be all alone. She told me that all her children are at Pokhara attending university, only she and her husband are managing and staying the guesthouse and the shop.
If you hike in Nepal, with no specific route in mind, it is common to see family run guesthouses and shops. The price maybe doubled than the usual price in the city. It is acceptable for the obvious reason that it takes great effort to bring the goods up in the mountain. The higher you are, the more secluded place on the mountain side, the higher the price of goods.
It is good to pack a few supplies but it is also good to buy from these shops. The profit they made from a cup of tea or a bar of chocolates makes a considerable difference on their lives, it buys education for their kids and eventually will lead to a better live and better nation.
Since the trail is relentlessly easy and I know that after non-stop touring across these mountains, Sujan is longing for a quick vacation and to do some clubbing at Kathmandu, something a young man like him badly needed before he went for another hiking job. After few minutes discussion we came to agreement to end the hike today instead of prolonging it into one more day, officially changing the seven days hike into six.
Pushing ourselves to complete within the day, thirty minutes prior lunch we arrived at the village of Pothana. Further validating our earlier decision, the weather remains to be cloudy and what was supposed to be an amazing view of the smaller mountain ridges towards Pokhara was nowhere to be seen.
Final checkpoint and stamp on our TIMS card, we continued our descend towards the town of Pedi where the main road towards Pokhara intersects. I can hear the sound of motor bikes and pick-up trucks from this point onward, an indication that we are really close to finishing the hike.
Supposed to be easy going downhill? But after two hours straight walking and no stopping, these final leg of the route mainly made up of steep stone steps leading to Pedi is a painful, knee trembling experience.
A taxi arranged by our guide was waiting for us. For once I was happy to hear car noises and move without having to take any steps. Most importantly, not having to carry my backpack.
With an afternoon glow, it feels like I have accomplished something that I am longing to do in a long time. This might be the easiest route but what makes it memorable are the people I met and those brief conversations we had.
Will I comeback again for another hiking in Nepal? In a heartbeat I would.
A high five with my guide Sujan. Mission Accomplished. “Time to go dancing”.
Tolka – Pittam Duerali – Pothana – Dampos Duerali – Pedi – Pokhara