Planes, Jeeps, Bus, Trek and Pony – My Trip to the Wild West of Nepal with my friend Nirmal in Search of Rara Lake
As an refugee from VT, this is my first entry on TP, so I haven’t quite got used to the editing system over here ;-) – Never-the Less, I hope you enjoy this little blog of a trip way off the beaten path in the Wild West of Nepal :-)
This is my 11th trip to Nepal (I am writing this from my favourite hotel in Kathmandu and as usual this is a dual mission of a holiday as well as having some stock made for my little Nepal venture, Pro-Tector So, after some time in Kathmandu, I headed off on a little adventure to see Rara Lake with my Nepali friend of 23 years.
Even though the report in the “Himalayan Times” was that the weather was bad
We decided to stick toi our plan, so Nirmal (My Good Nepali friend of more than 23 years) and I took an afternoon flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj in the Terai and stayed there overnight in a simple hotel
We organised a jeep to take us the 350km from there to Jumla, well when we set off, that’s where we thought we were heading for ;-)
After leaving the main H1 Terai Highway we turned right and headed for the hills, first on H12, then onto H13 “The Karnali Highway”
We took some advice en-route and after about 10 hours in the jeep on some “Difficult” roads.
It was Holi and there were some very colourful people playing in the village’s en-route
Then we said goodbye to the jeep at the small roadside town of Nagama where the road either turns right to Jumla of continues to the north
After a night here in a very simple lodge,
the next morning we took the local bus heading north on the F154, sitting in the small cramped cabin in the front of the bus with about 10 other Nepali’s and the driver
This is where we now disappear from Google Maps ;-) The “Road” was appalling, just a dirt track clinging to the side of the mountain and we slipped and slid around often getting g stuck in deep mud caused my recently melted snow and having to dig ourselves out – We arrived at a small town mid afternoon and the bus wasn’t going any further so we got out
Here we negotiated a price to continue on what one could only very loosely describe as a road and I was very happy now to be in a Toyota Landcruiser and not the bus :-)
I have Never been on a road anything like this as we went higher and higher on a narrow crumbling ledge Up and Up
Until we ran into snow and could go no further. It was now dark so we found a Very simple lodge at a hamlet called Bhulbhule and stayed overnight.
Up at 6 the next morning and now on foot continued Up through the snow, we left the road and turned left at an army camp at around 3200m on a “Shortcut” over a mountain pass in deep snow, again Up and Up to the summit at around 3500m
and then a Long way down, again through deep snow and on a very slippery path
We eventually made the dirt road in the other side of the mountain and continued to walk on that until we came to a small village and stopped for a bite to eat
We were now in sightof the high ridge which was the location of Talcha Airstrip – However, I had now been walking for more than 10 hours and I was starting to struggle but because of the snow, there were no vehicles on the road even though we were now below the snowline so I had to keep walking. After another hour or so a local came the other way on a horse
so Nirmal flagged him down and I rode the last 1 ½ hours up to Talcha, Nirmal had a cup of tea then kept walking, the horse and local returned to pick him up and an hour later we were safely tucked up in a slightly better lodge than the previous 2 nights at Talcha.
We had a flight booked for the next morning back to Nepalgunj, so although we hadn’t reached our original goal of Rara Lake, I was tired and ready to be back in civilisation and Nirmal had already been out of Kathmandu for over 4 days and had to be back too. so rather than try to change the flight ticket we headed back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj the next day
Everyone was very happy to see the 10am flight arrive, even though it was nearly 4 hours late – Well 10am and 13.45 are almost the same time in Nepal ;-)
But had a bonus and flew over Rara Lake so got to see it in the end – All be it from the air ;-)
So - As the saying goes – “Things have a habit of working out in Nepal, but often, not as you expected then to” -)
Thanks for taking the time to read this, my fist entry on TP :-)
Best Regards Rob