When trekking in Nepal often a guide and porters will help you along the way. A guide is in charge of your trip. He knows the trails well, and helps book tea houses for your group to stay in. Porters carry all of your stuff for you. I couldn’t believe what they can carry! Our porters carried two of our big duffel bags, they weighed 15 kilograms each! That’s 30 kilos and 1 kilo = 2.2 pounds, I’ll let you math wizards figure it out …. but that’s heavy!
Our trekking team was wonderful. In the picture above is the crew, our porters, Gautama and Gokul, and on the far right our guide, Bimal.
Bimal told me he first started as a porter. Then, after a year, and months of trainings, he became a guide. This happened right after he finished school, which in Nepal, was at the age of 16. He grew up in a town in Nepal called Gorkha, which is about 8 hours by bus from the big city, Kathmandu, where he now lives. He has one brother that lives and works in Delhi, India.
He started working for the trekking company in the year 2001, so Bimal has been hiking – a ton! He does trips all over the Himalayan mountains, but his favorite – the hike to Mt. Everest’s base camp, because it’s beautiful, of course. The hiking season in Nepal is usually in our fall and spring time, so this is when Bimal is busy at work. Between treks he gets a rest, about 5 days off. Some treks can be short, around 10 days, but others can take almost a month.
I felt very fortunate to have such a great team on my trek. The upper Mustang trek was incredible, but sometimes it’s the people you are with that make the trip even more enjoyable. Thanks Bimal, Gautama and Gokul!
I have two new Nepali sayings that I’ve learned while on my trek, they are so much fun! One is La,la,la (I have no idea how you’d actually write these in Nepali) which means “yes, yes” and the other is jomjom which means “let’s go”. Jomjom is a common phrase used by Trekkers, we are tired, hiking 6-7 hours a day, we take a break and then it’s time again, jomjom.
Our most exhausting day, around day 6 of 10 we ran into a problem. We had already hiked 7 hours to a small village, Syanbochen, where we planned to stay the night, but all three guest homes were filled. It was jomjom time and we were off hiking an extra 2 hours to the next village.
Yes we were tired, but it was worth every minute. Surrounded by some of the world’s tallest peaks, the Himalayan mountains were incredible. Bimal, our guide, tells me that mountains like Baldy, our mountain in Idaho, are only considered hills here in Nepal. The canyons and red rocks of the Upper Mustang were fabulous. The villages, some containing more cows than people, were welcoming.
One of my favorite parts of the trek was staying in the homes of the people, also called tea houses. Some were easier to stay in than others, I found running water and electricity a luxury. But, playing card games and spending time drinking tea around a kitchen fire showed me the simple pleasures.
Days in Nepal: 17
Days without a hot shower: 11 and counting
Would I recommend it: La,la, la!
The weather is changing all over Nepal. Bimal, my guide tells me that this is typically the dry season and yesterday’s rains were unusual. He also told me of a huge snow storm occurring on a trek called the Annapurna, in which two guides from his guiding company were missing for a couple of days. They are in contact as of today.
Weather can be unpredictable, and my flight was cancelled due to high afternoon winds in Jomsom which make landing difficult. Patience is a wonderful lesson when you’re in Nepal.
This worked out for the best.. the skies have cleared and I finally get to see and enjoy beautiful Pokhara. We will see what tomorrow brings!