This is Henry, writing from Dhulikhel where we arrived yesterday at the conclusion of our “warm up” or “Teahouse” Trek. We had an amazing three day, 48 km walk along the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. We were also joined by two Sherpa guides, Kaji and Pasang, both from Lukla in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Leaving from Sundarijal on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu, we spent the first day walking almost entirely uphill, through dense jungle on paths that have been used by farmers and traders for hundreds if not thousands of years. Eventually we arrived in the village of Chisapani, where we got our first real look at profound earthquake damage as we were greeted by the sight of a large guesthouse completely shifted off its foundation and leaning forward at a 15 degree angle. We had a second, happier first sighting the next morning when we awoke to find that the clouds had cleared, providing our first views of the Himalayas, including Langtang Peak and the Ganesh Himal. Our middle day of trekking was much longer than the first but also significantly flatter, as we wound through the hills towards our destination of Nagarkot, enjoying the views of the Himalayas above us and terrace farms below. We also encountered a pair of monkeys along the way, another first for many people in the group!
The final day of the trek was largely spent walking downhill of Nagarkot towards the town of Dhulikhel. Nevertheless the trail did occasionally kick skyward with just as much intensity as it plunged down. We passed through countless potatoe fields and tiny hillside villages along the way. I enjoyed talking with Pasang, who kept me entertained with stories about climbing in the Himalayas with one of my personal heroes, the late Ueli Steck, as well as about being at 21,000 feet on Mt. Everest during the massive earthquake two years ago.
Eventually we wandered out of the hills and onto the streets of Dhulikel, where we have been for the past day. We leave tomorrow for our two week village homestay. I can’t wait for this next phase of the trip, as well as our higher elevation, 17 day trek that will follow it!