Sunday, June 30, 2019

First Hike From Verisk: Ghanpokhara Aug 20-21, 2016


Hiking to Ghanpokhara

Date: August 21-August 22, 2016
With packed bags and hiking shoes, we left the office premises at 7am in the morning. We hadn’t reached very far when we got a call from Sameer. He had missed the van so we asked him to catch us at Kalimati where we opted to have tea and a light breakfast while awaiting him. At around 7:45, of course after also picking Sameer, we headed for our journey. The road from Kalanki to Thankot was a mess. Leaving aside the details of where we stopped and where we had our breakfast, after crossing Muglin, near marsyangdi hyrdo power area we stopped at a waterfall site. God help us hike since our shoes and our single pair of socks were totally drenched in our adventure of climbing the rocks to get a nearer view of the top of the waterfall. Off then we went, everyone, taking a turn to try playing the ukulele, singing songs at times too loud with a hungry stomach. We stopped at the very popular Besisahar khana spot of Verisk which was “Puspanjali Hotel”. Unfortunately, the hotel phone number we had was not working and hence we couldn’t pre-order our lunch, making us wait another half hour to ravage any food. We discussed the Annapurna circuit map (which was proudly displayed on the hotel walls), our hike route and whether or not to include Ghalegaun in the route arguing on our chances of reaching there in a favorable hour.  Unfortunately from this spot on we had to take a local vehicle and we were told the public bus was to leave not until 4pm local time. We decided to wait at the bus park, and only a few minutes after we reached the “pippal ko bot” park, a “Safari” came in our sight. The ride of half hour to Khudi bazaar on the “Safari” was priced at NRs 1500. Squeezed on the seats, very bumpy roads, the river on the right view, what an adventure the ride on the “Safari” turned out. At 5pm local time, we stepped foot in Khudi bazaar, started our hike from there, constantly discussing everyone’s dilemma on whether to hike all the way to Ghalegaun? We met a school teacher and a local boy who was heading to his home, which was on the way to Ghalegaun route. While many of us discussed our low chances of reaching Ghalegaun before 12 noon, the boy kept encouraging us to keep on moving forward. After an hour of walking, we stopped at a resting place, washed our face, drank water and then started our journey again. 10 mins into walking, we heard a local girl calling to us. Turned out Aayush had left Ashish’s camera tripod. Someone from the group was wondering if the local could have used it to plow their fields!
After more walking, more dilemma, we sighted two jharnas (waterfall). We asked the local boy, who was accompanying us (the school teacher had already parted ways by then) if reaching the waterfall by tonight was possible and if we could find any shelter there to stay the night. His response was that the waterfall though looks near is at the very end of the village and is very far. We decided to stay at Ghanpokhara if we could arrange a homestay. Asking here and there, someone suggested there was a place where we could find a shelter. We then reached the school of the teacher we met at the very start of the hiking journey. He told us of our slim chances of getting shelter and asked us to rather return back to Khudi and stay at “Maya” hotel. But we did go and take our chances but were turned down and so we decided to return back to Khudi bazaar. On our way, I encountered, probably, my second or third leech biting. It was scary. Bimal at one point said “let's hurry up and cross the river kholsa before it gets too dark”. And then everyone started reasoning with fun, whether that is so due to our chances of encountering a ghost? Walking, walking and more walking, encountering a crab, few frogs, stopping at a local kodo ko rakshi pasal, we then finally reached back to Khudi bazaar. Dinesh an Aayush had already reserved the rooms when we reached the hotel. The pricing was based on head count rather than room count. All I want to say about the room is that it was very dirty, and the pathway was a trap. Only one door could be opened at a time. Opening the door of one room meant the pathway was non-traversable. The best thing about the hotel was that it was on the river side. Early in the morning, sitting on the rocks by the side of the river, drenched by small waterfall, pondering on nothing was like a much-needed meditation.
We took a local bus from Khudi to Besisahar this time, enjoying the tv of the bus, the road felt less bumpy this time.  Having had our breakfast in Puspanjali, we went off to our next destination “THE WATERFALL” on way to Besisahar near Dumre. The waterfall had a man-made swimming pool, through stacked small rocks and stones. It was mesmerizing. The guys jumped into the natural pool, had the time of their life, swimming and enjoying. Arjun lost his power spectacles in the pool and asked the local kids to look for it offering them a reward if they get successful. Most of us had left our shoes to dry meanwhile. By the time we were leaving, our shoes were dried, so one can imagine the temperature of the day.
At Abu Khairini, we had the most delicious lunch. It was full of flavors, everybody deciding to come back to that thakali bhancha ghar again. I don’t remember the name of the hotel but I do remember it was just beside the “Singapore hotel”. We were early so we decided we could jump to the very popular riverside spring resort in Kurintar, with the exception of Dinesh. We all dived together, did dolphin underwater, some guys joined the in-pool bar. More than swimming we had fun. We even played “rock paper scissor” underwater. After an hour of fun, we left RSR. We got stuck in a 1 and a half-hour long traffic in Satungal, where we also caught a small accident. Our van collided with a stalled truck due to a road bump. Finally at around 8:30 we reached back to office premises and hence ended an overall very fun hiking. It was full of unplanned routes and plans, new bonding, ukulele, and Aashish’s suitcase.


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