Trek Day 4 Tadapani – Landruk

by Annalise on March 11, 2010

Prior to breakfast in Tadapani, we’d thought we might do a long trek heading straight down via Ghandruk and on to Nayapul to see if we could catch the last bus back into Pokhara and ultimately return to Kathmandu a day earlier. I was thinking I should head early to get a start on the final packing and cleaning, assuming we’d be able to change our flight reservations (usually easy to do and at no extra cost with the regional airlines in Nepal).
Trek Day 4

As I enjoyed the view and my warm porridge in the outdoor sunlight I realized what a ridiculous plan that was; you’d think I couldn’t wait to get off the trail and out of these mountains and head back to the city for those domestic tasks. Actually I was lamenting the fact that we didn’t have more time to travel deeper into the Annapurna range as many of our fellow trekkers were doing. Some were headed for the Annapurna Base Camp, a completely achievable trek that I so wished to do. Having said that, Robin didn’t quite share my enthusiasm over the suggestion that we continue East from Ghundruk rather than head straight South. The gentler descent South from Ghundruk could have been completed in one long or two short days but the more challenging route across the steep river between Ghundruk and Landruk promised more spectacular views and 6 additional hours of trekking. I was determined as we were able to do this within our current hotel and flight plans. Robin agreed although reluctantly.

The trek to Ghundruk from Tadapani was a continuation of that beautiful Rhododendron Forest with some steep climbs and descents. We stopped for lunch and then turned East, down the steep river valley to the point where we’d need to climb back up the other side to our evening’s destination.

As the rain started to fall on our downward path, Robin’s mood also fell. He had been marginally agreeable to this extended trek plan and the rain narrowed that margin considerably. The steep stones of the downward path became quite slippery and we had to slow our pace. At the bottom of the river valley I paused for a break and some photos before crossing the bridge and starting to climb. Robin in his frustration climbed on strongly ahead. Half way up the other side the rain really began to pelt and the winds picked up dramatically. On several occasions we took shelter behind a steep bank of a terraced field and counted out the seconds between lightening and thunder. Being hunkered in behind a dirt wall, soaking wet and questioning the wisdom of climbing in a lightening storm brought comic relief to the otherwise gray afternoon. There have been few times when Robin displayed any typical teenage moodiness and in character it passed as quickly and quietly as it had arrived. The remainder of our climb was with us joking and laughing at the conditions and when we finally reached the first levels of Landruk we were immediately welcomed into shelter at the house of an elderly woman.

I’m most grateful for having learned a few words of Nepali in situations like this. I could properly express our gratitude to this lady and share a bit of conversation. Within her tiny and tidy house, she told us about her children and grandchildren and marvelled at how very ‘thulo mero chora’ was for thirteen (very tall my son!). As we watching the rain, several trekking friends also emerged, now in weather worse than our own. Keith the Irishman along with Marie-Lise and Jeanine, two retired French ladies (along with Pasang, their porter) appeared. We bid farewell to our Nepali friend and all went looking for a guest house to stay the night.

Not much farther up the town (another vertical municipality) we found Maya’s Guest House. There everyone found very nice rooms. And… what the ‘hot’ showers lacked in heat, the hosts made up for in their hospitality.
Trek Day 4
The mother of the house invited us with an warm open smile to join them in their living dining area where her daughter, aged about 16, was using a manual loom to weave the traditional carrying sling of the Gurung people. These are worn on the backs of the men to carry heavy loads. It was fascinating to watch her work quietly with such steady and measured movements to make this extraordinarily strong fabric. Later, everyone moved out to the large garden and enjoyed the sun to hang our wet things to dry and just stretch out. Robin got his chanter out and attracted a small but enthusiastic audience. I did a bit of yoga and the French ladies sat to read their books. Our Irish friend Keith in his usual humor told the mom how very lovely her daughter was and that he hoped to marry her. The mother looked only a bit shocked and told him he’d better be strong and have good legs. Without missing a beat, Keith lifted his pant leg a bit hoping to impress. She only giggled and shock her head with a smile. When the father arrived, Keith shared his intentions with him as well, adding that he would start a chicken farm in the area. The father took the proposal in stride, everyone laughing. When dinners were served however we noted that we all enjoyed nice hot meals with the exception of Keith. Somehow his soup was only luke warm and the bread looked to be a day old. We learned later that the daughter was that evening’s cook. She had apparently cast her own vote on his ideas! Too funny!
Trek Day 4
Trek Day 4
We visited with the French ladies and their porter; Robin practicing his French for a bit. Speaking with Pasang we learned that he had summited Everest twice! He had such humility that he wouldn’t have said anything had we not discovered it through many questions; even his French clients were unaware of this until then. Pasang said it really was not something he should boast about as he knew a Nepali man who’d summited as a porter on Everest 19 times; he felt his was inconsequential in comparison. As we talked though we had the opportunity to ask more about his experience and it was a delight to have him open up a bit and talk first hand about the challenges of being a porter on such an expedition.
Trek Day 5
Trek Day 5
Upon leaving Landruk the following morning, we came upon a farm standing alone on the pathway and a girl came out asking for any antiseptic we may have as she’d badly cut her finger. We stopped and offered what we had and as we tended to this, visited again with the family. The grandmother of the house asked for a photo and later asked if we could print one off for her. Pasang immediately agreed to print my photos off and get a copy back to the family on his next trip, providing me with his email address and website. I wasn’t even his client! Having seen his website I’m very confident they’ll get their photos. The website is: www.bravesherpa.com For anyone ever planning on trekking in Nepal, I can provide a recommendation to this gentleman. In spite of his climbing achievements and the breadth of his services, he never rushed two ladies but quietly added insight and opportunities to enhance theirtrekking experience.

The whole of our Landruk stay was full of friendly encounters and we enjoyed the lightness of the sun’s return and the fact that there was only one day of trekking remaining until we were back to Pokhara.

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