Theend of the Khopra Ridge trek (according to Lonely Planet) is Tadapani.
Unexpected rain resulted in a power failure for most of the night.
For trekkers that means Kindle light dinner.
Did you see what I did there? 😀
As usual on this trip, next morning skies were clear.
This has been the best vista so far of my favourite peak – Machapuchare.
After evening rain, the village was washed clean.
Lodges in Nepal are very similar. There’s not much difference between yours and HOTEL MAGNIFICENT.
From Tadapani it’s easy to get back to Pokhara in a day. But I decided, instead, to spend one more mountain night in Ghandruk, a Gurung village, famed starting point for many treks.
Ghandruk was only a couple of hours downhill stroll. A very easy day for me.
Lonely Planet recommended Hotel Trekkers Inn in Ghandruk which had won many hospitality awards over the years. It’s good, but not much different than any other IMHO.
As prices are fixed at all lodges in each village, they try to match each other in features, as well.
Hotel Trekkers Inn did have good food including some menu items I’d not seen anywhere else. I tried the Moussaka … tasty, but unrelated in any way to Moussaka.
And also the local smoked, dried, spiced meat called sukuti,
In the restaurant I met a young American who will be volunteer teaching at the largest school in the area. She’ll be living at Hotel Trekkers Inn for the next 2 months.
We both met a Brit who’s an old Nepal hand. This trip he’s come to photograph the Kulung’ honey hunters‘, men who climb bamboo rope ladders to harvest the world’s largest bees. An interesting man.
Pro tip – bring a tiny luggage lock for your room. What they provide are bulky and awkward.
The Khopra Ridge Trek I just finished is excellent.
In fact, Nepal needs more like it. And there is plenty of opportunity to develop more trails in higher, less developed spurs of the Annapurna massif.
Widely circulated in local lodges is this 2014 article by Donatella Lorch who lives in Kathmandu:
… The tea-houses and lodges are packed. Hikers have to share the stone steps with Nepal tourism’s unsung heroes: the unending series of mule convoys, loaded down with everything from water and food to cooking propane, kerosene, mattresses, stones and bags of cement to feed the mountain region’s lodge construction boom. …
I set an early alarm. BUT everyone in my lodge had already headed up to Poon Hill before I awoke.
Not having people to follow, I used trusty Maps.me offline to find the trail.
It takes about an hour from Ghorepani (2870m) to climb to the famous Poon Hill viewpoint (3210m).
Though I’d heard plenty of complaints about the crowds, I really enjoyed dawn looking over at Dhalagiri and Annapurna.
An ideal time to use my PeakFinder app: Dhaulagiri I (8167m), Tukuche (6920m), Nilgiri (6940m), Annapurna South, Annapurna I (8091m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Tarke Kang (formerly known as Glacier Dome; 7193m). And Fishtail, of course.
The Pokhara – Jomson planes zipped past frequently.
One of the last to arrive, I was also one of the last to leave.
My $4 room in Ghorepani had a million dollar view.
After climbing all the way UP to Ghorepani yesterday, I now dropped 900m to the Ghar Khola river. It was fast and enjoyable to descend instead of climbing. The non-motorized trail stays far away from new road building.
And Interesting seeing where the farms were at with winter coming.
Many are trying to encourage farmers to switch to petrotoxin fuels. But everywhere I looked, families and lodges were using free firewood, instead.
Up to Ghorepani the buildings all had blue corrugated iron roofs. Here they have more stone houses, many retaining traditional rock-slab shingles.
After crossing the Ghar Khola it was UP again to Swanta (2270m).
The increasing popularity of Khopra Ridge is evident here with the number of new lodges recently built or under construction.
Swanta is the prettiest village so far. Super clean.
But I carried on up the mountain on a narrow path through bamboo forrest.
I was hungry by the time I reached Evergreen Rest Cottage (2540m) for lunch.
Egg noodle soup is my regular lunch feed.
The restaurant is in an isolated, lovely spot close to waterfall, hydroelectric and lumber cutting yard.
I reached Dhan Kharka (3020m) by about 3:30pm. Happy to stop, I lay down for siesta.
Though Ghoripani had no mobile phone reception for my network, Dhan Kharka did — IF I walked out to a rocky point away from the lodge. I was able to post some things online celebrating my 62nd birthday — November 2nd.