Khopra Ridge trek, Nepal – day 5

Naya Pul to Ghandruk trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles. 

day 1  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6/7

Nov 4, 2019 – Khopra Ridge tenting 3640m  to Tadapani 

It was a cold night in the tent. I had to mummify myself in my ultralight sleeping bag and wear all my layers.

I only slept a couple of hours, the rest of the time listening to an excellent audio book.

At first light I packed up the frozen Hubba quickly (no coffee!) and got moving to warm-up.

n about 90 minutes I made it to Bayeli Guest House for breakfast. The sun was out and it looked a beautiful morning. I was happy to get there.

The Annapurna massif includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). It’s 55 kilometres (34 mi) long. A monster.

I was a tiny ant climbing up and down ridges at around 3000m.

It clouded up early today. Unusual. November normally brings day-after-day of clear skies. Nepalis told me this was atypical weather. Yet this turned out to be one of my favourite days. Different. The autumn colours brightest.

Walking alone through these high grasslands was wonderful.

I’ll be recommending the Khopra Ridge trek to those who want to get away from roads and development. Most is wilderness, well above farms.

Loads are still brought up by horse or porter.

I heard they sometimes carry up to 90kg !

As clouds descended and I descended some vistas reminded me of the Pacific N.W.

There is still much accessible wilderness within the Annapurna Conservation Area.

Without a guide, I accidentally took a different trail than most. My lower track was empty. Quiet. Tranquil.

At this unusual shelter I left a Summit Stone.

Stopping for milk coffee at Isharu, I really enjoyed chatting with the lodge owner. He’d seen Himalayan Black Bear up here.

Everyone expects the Khopra Ridge trek to continue to grow in popularity. It’s part of a trend launched by one man — Mahabir Pun — who was educated at University of Nebraska. 

Mahabir is helping mountain communities to promote new trails close to Annapurna & Dhaulagiri. To build eco-friendly lodges. Some distance from traditional villages. The idea is that Income from lodges goes to support schools and local health clinics.

Trails like Khopra Ridge will replace some existing hikes that have been degraded by road building.

Another nice touch in this section are trash bags at regular intervals on the trail. (Those are for locals, not tourists. Hikers don’t litter here.)

I also liked this day in that it was mostly downhill. 😋

I checked into a good room in Tadapani (2710m). My batteries needed recharged. And I needed a bed. It was only 2pm.

When I awoke from siesta the power had gone out. It was pouring rain.

It’s not supposed to rain here in November. Monsoon arrived late this year. Perhaps everything was pushed later.

As Warren often points out, weather should not be a problem for a hiker properly equipped.

Many were not prepared.

I wandered Tadapani in the rain. Yes, I was carrying good wet weather clothing.

Paint cans with different plants.

Tadapani is not a particularly nice village. Yet it’s a super popular stop — a crossroads for many different hikes. In fact, it’s the official end point for the Khopra Ridge trek. From here I have options.

BEST would be starting up to the Annapurna Sanctuary, an amphitheatre of huge Himalayan peaks.

I’ve done that trip before so will head down — instead — to Ghandruk.

day 1  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6/7

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