Nepal and the Gosainkunda April 14—April 22, 2011
Kathmandu is a crazy, yet very entertaining city. The hustle and bustle was a bit overwhelming at first, but once I was familiar with the city it became much more enjoyable. The roads are particularly interesting as there are no street signs and no street lights. It is pretty much a free for all, and on many of the smaller side streets there are no sidewalks. So with the combination of cars, motor bikes, bicycles, and people on foot, the streets can be a little crowded, but exciting.
I chose the eight day Gosainkunda Trek because it was close to Kathmandu, it crossed some alpine lakes, and it would be good preparation for a longer trek. I had to travel from Kathmandu to Dhunche; it was journey of 117Km that tookeight hours. All the seats on the bus were full and I did not have much leg room. Once the seats were full and the baggage was strapped to the roof, any extra passengers and luggage went into the isle of the bus. Once the isle was full any extra people would sit on the roof. I had no idea it was possible to fit so many people on a single bus. A way to find more room was foundevery time that someone needed a ride. It was not a good experience, but it was an experience.
Dhunche 1950m - Sing Gompa 3300m
The first day was tough, with more than 1300m of elevation gain through a dense forest, however, I walked at a solid pace. The higher I climbed the thinner the air got and the harder the walking became. Towards the end I was walking for one minute and then resting for ten seconds. It was supposed to be a six to eight hour trek to Sing Gompa but I did it in fours hours so I was pleased.
Sing Gompa 3300m - Laurebina Yak 3920m
A much easier day than yesterday—it wasa two and half hour day; it is wise to take some shorter days to aid in acclimatization.
Laurebina Yak 3920m - Gosainkund 4400m
This was an amazing two hour walk. Soon from leaving Laurebina Yak I climbed above the tree line and was suddenly in alpine territory. After walking some narrow paths, and looking at the steep drop off the side, I got a view of the alpine lake town of Gosainkunda. As I arrived it began snowing. The little buildings of the town were painted white, so was the nearby lake, as were the mountains that loomed in the background. I had been sleeping in my tent for the first few nights of the trek, but I decided to stay in a hotel. The hotel was nice as it provided a place of shelter. However, there was no heating, which is not surprising because it was two dollars for a bed and the small village was in the middle of nowhere. I eventually got so cold that all I could do was clutchmy sleeping bag and listen to music. Once the snow ceased—and the sun came out—I went for a walk. I climbed a nearby peak toget a goodvantage point of the surrounding area. It was well worth the effort; everything was majestically white.
Gosainkunda 4400m - Tharepati 3640m
Today I climbed to the high point of the trek: the Laurebina La, 4610m. I was not the first person out on the walk today, which turned out to be a blessing as I was able to follow the foot steps that where made in the snow. Once crossing the pass I was faced with a massive descent to Phedi, 3740m. Following Phedi I made my way to Gopte, 3440m. This was not an easy walk, as there was no flat at all, and the track constantly went up and down. I considered staying at Gopte, but I met a guy from Wales who was pressing onto to the Tharepati, so I ended up finishing in the day with him.
Tharepati 3640m - Chipling 2170m
It was another day of descending, which was turning out to be rather hard on the body. Again I ran into my friend from Wales, and again we pressed on to a further village. It was a tough day, as it was quite hot and I suffered from dehydration. I spent about seven dollars in Chipling and that got me two good meals and a nights of accommodation. After seven hours of hard walking, a big Nepali dinner, and a game of Rummy, I was tired and went to bed shortly after 8pm.
Chipling 2170m - Sundarijal 1350m
Today was not supposed to be difficult, but Dan—my friend from Wales—and I made a wrong turn. This meant an extra thirty minutes of climbing. Despite the delay, we got to the last town on the Gosainkunda Trek of Sundarijal and from there I was able to get a bus back to Kathamandu. All in all it was a great trek. I ended up completing Gosaikunda in six days instead of eight. A great way to make this trip longer would be to add the Langtang Valley Trek to the Gosainkund Trek. My first trek in Nepal is over and now it is time to plan a longer one.