Join Caritas Australia on their Nepal Trekking in Solidarity
With stunning Himalayan views, high passes, traditional teahouses, tiny hamlets, prayer flags and hot springs, the Annapurna region is among the best trekking destinations in the world. And as part of the Caritas Australia’s Nepal Trekking in Solidarity, you will experience it all.
Beginning in Kathmandu, your eyes will be open to the devastation that the April 2015 earthquake caused this country. Though confronting, it as an experience you will never forget. You will discover the history and culture of Nepal’s colourful and chaotic capital city and how the locals are striving every day to rebuild their homes and lives.
You’ll then escape the city limits, trekking through terraced rice fields, across clear mountain rivers and into dense rhododendron forest, following narrow paths between some of the highest mountains in the world.
As part of this adventure, you will spend 6 days trekking the Annapurna region, and spend your nights in traditional tea lodges in verdant valleys and at the foot of spectacular mountains.
Throughout your challenge, you will visit our Caritas Australia-supported projects and learn firsthand how your fundraising supports resilient Nepalese communities to create lasting change in their own lives.
Funds raised in this adventure will help these and other projects in Nepal, such as cooperatives, farm field schools and earthquake recovery. You will help empower marginalised communities in Nepal to manage their own development and become self-sufficient.
Join Caritas Australia on their Nepal Trekking in Solidarity
Almost two years after Nepal’s devastating earthquake, the community still struggles to rebuild their lives.
Join Caritas Australia and their Nepal Trekking in Solidarity and you will help several projects in Nepal, such as cooperatives, farmer field schools and earthquake recovery.
What your donations can do:
$100 could provide a group of 15 female farmers with vegetable seeds, so they can grow sustainable food
$300 could provide a three-day training course for 10-15 people, so they can learn to raise and sell fish
$400 could provide access to ‘Farmer Field School’, so a farmer can learn new techniques and organic farming practices
$1000 could provide training for one student on Farmer Field School at masters level in a university for 21 weeks.
Every step you take will help Caritas end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.
Friday 10th- Saturday 11th November 2017
After a long time travelling (24 hours on the go for some of us), we got to Kathmandu around midnight on Friday night. The hotel Vajra was a very pleasant surprise, with a peaceful, fragrant garden to greet us.
We started day 2 with a trip to Assumption Church for a local Mass, followed by a tour of the church (it was pointed out that the paintings inside were done by a Buddhist monk) and then on to the Caritas Nepal office for a presentation on the humanitarian issues faced in Nepal and the work of Caritas in addressing these. This really put into perspective the reasons the team has been fund raising.
The rest of the day was dedicated to sight seeing, with 3 world heritage sites on the bill – Boudhanath, the largest stupa in the world; Pashupatinath, a Hindu cremation site on the banks of a river; Durbar square with signs of destruction still very apparent; and as dusk was coming on we finished our tour high above the city at Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, with fine views and hoardes of squabbling monkeys.
We’ve all had a brilliant day, now worn out with the travel catching up we are grateful for a comfortable bed!
Tomorrow we fly to Pokhara, and will visit a Caritas project assisting local farmers.
Sunday 12th November 2017
Today, day 3 of our trip, was a very busy and inspiring day. It started with a fine breakfast in our beautiful hotel in Kathmandu before heading off to board a flight to Pokhara.
This would have to rate as one of the most scenic flights in the world, as we ran along the southern edge of the Himalayas, over terraced foothills and patches of forest. The Annapurna range with Manaslu and the sacred Fishtail were prominent among the peaks.
After a somewhat indulgent lunch, we headed off to the Caritas Nepal office and were warmly greeted with garlands of marigolds and ceremonial scarves. After a very enlightening presentation, we took a scenic bus ride out to a village which has benefitted from the Farmer Field SC training and follow up support provided by Caritas.
Amongst the thriving veges, chooks and cows, we heard stories of how the villager’s lives have improved. It is often the women left to run the farm and raise the kids in this area, as men go overseas to work, and Caritas focuses on supporting these hardy women.
After more garlands,namastes, tea, stories and popcorn, we reluctantly left this happy little village and headed back to Pokhara to face the first trekking challenge – complying with the 7.5kg weight limit for our baggage!
Monday 13th November 2017
So the team all made it through day one of the trek in fine style. They danced up the 3500 steps in 2 hours with a pause here and there, and no issues to speak of. Jacinta’s phone told us that she climbed 347 floors with 28028 steps.
We started in villages, full of flowers and pretty gardens, and soon got on to the foot path and away from the jeeps. We passed through lush forests and passed over clear rushing streams on suspension bridges. Far from piping down when we hit the stairs, Jacinta led us in a rousing rendition of the bear went over the mountain.
Dinner is now on its way, and the team are warm, happy, hungry and excited to wake up in the Himalayas tomorrow.
Tuesday 14th November 2017
Today the team had an easier day, with the climb to Ghorepani taking about 5 easy hours. Ghorepani means “horse water”, as it was a stop on the old trading route to Tibet. We followed the ancient stone stepped path through a majestic rhododendron forest, huge trees covered in moss and epiphytes.
We stopped along the way to drink tea and chat to our guides and porters, a quality bunch, and take countless photos that could never do justice to the peaceful ambience of the forest.
We arrived in Ghorepani, a blue village nestled in a gully, just when it was lunch time as had a great meal. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the village, snoozing and playing cards. Dinner came along just in the nick of time, then early bed for our big poon hill walk tomorrow at 5am.
Another awesome day.
Wednesday 15th November 2017
Poon Hill hike was great, 6 of the team went up, Gavan and Jan stayed back. Maybe 150 people on the top, very busy, but very beautiful. Magic Sunrise with clear skies and views forever.
After a well deserved brekky we headed off for Tadapani, starting with a steady climb (group photo at top of climb) with more stunning views of the mountains.
The afternoon was spent along undulating paths through ancient mossy forests before dropping down a gully and following a path past clear rushing streams and small waterfalls.
After 8 hours of trekking we arrived in Tadapani, completely unprepared for the view of sunset on the Annapurna range that greeted us. As darkness settled we retired to the warm dining room for another delicious dinner. There was no power, as most of the village were away at a buffalo sacrifice, so we made do with torches candles and flat batteries.
Thursday 16th November 2017
Tadapani to Ghandruk
Today was a shorter stretch, dropping down steadily through more forests that reminded us at times of New Zealand or Tasmania. The walking was easy and the weather perfect.
Monkeys were spotted by some, others had to make do with water buffalo, ponies and chickens.
We arrived in the fascinating hillside village of Ghandruk with lunch waiting for us, and then set about enjoying the afternoon relaxing and exploring the village.
At dinner the team offered their thoughts on the day, and the trip so far:
Don’t expect to lose weight!
Beware pony and mule trains.
The trails have an amazing variety of traffic – people and animals of many kinds.
We have met some very nice and interesting people on the way.
The forests are magical
Views from accommodation have been stunning.
The hospitality has been awesome – warm and generous spirits abound.
Water is abundant and the farmers among us have trouble dealing with all the dripping taps.
Ghandruk to Pothana
Today was another challenging day for the team, with a long trek of 21km and some very steep ups and downs. We dropped down one side of a valley to cross the largest river we have seen so far, and then climbed a very steep section of stairs for longer than most of the team thought was sensible. The beautiful views down the valley and across the terraced rice fields was some consolation though.
Things started looking up when we stopped for tea at a lovely little guest house near the top of our climb at Landruk. Stopping at these little places certainly adds a degree of civility to the whole process, and really gives us all something to look forward to during the mornings trekking. We continued on and up, soon reaching a dirt road (with cars!) which led us along relatively easily until lunch, when we stopped at another guest house for a quality lunch of soup and noodles.
After lunch we continued along the road toward Pothana, and as the afternoon wore on and weariness set in the trek started to become a bit more of a trudge and conversation dwindled All of a sudden Ras, our guide, left the road and followed a stone path through a forest clearing. One more corner and we arrived in Pothana, quickly forgetting the rigours of the day as an exceptional sunset panorama of the Annapurna range appeared before us.
We gathered on a hill above the guest house to watch the sun go down, flaring pink all over the snowy peaks, before settling in to our simple rooms. The hot showers were lovely.
We enjoyed a special dhal baht meal for our last dinner of the trek, joined by our 4 porters and 2 guides. It was our chance to show our appreciation for all the hard work these people had put in to make the trek possible (and enjoyable) for us, and it was returned by the local crew singing some traditional songs for us, then dragging us all up to join them for some dancing. We all did our best to mimic the Nepali moves that the boys were busting, but could use some more practice, generally. Except for Jacinta, who has a natural Bollywood style.
Pothana to Pokhara.
Last day of trekking.
Today most of us were up early to see one of the best sun rises yet over Annapurna South and Machu Puchre.
A lazy breakfast in the garden followed, in a truly spectacular setting overlooking the Himalayas, one of the real highlights of the trip.
We eventually set off slowly down the hill toward Pokhara, an easy stretch through a more rainforest-type landscape, passing waterfalls and streams along the way.
Saturday is the leisure and socialising day for the Nepalese. We encountered many picnickers enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Eagles soaring delighted us all and before we knew it we had arrived at the finish point. Final farewells to our treasured porters and we were on our way back to Pokhara, the growing city that is the gateway for many trekkers to the Himalayas.
The afternoon was spent with showering, lunching, wandering, shopping and swimming for some. Dinner completed our day, a Nepali feast in a restaurant by the famous Pokhara Lakeside.
Pokhara to Kathmandu
After a night where barking dogs keep some of the team awake in the early hours, we tucked into a buffet breakfast before heading to Pokhara airport for the flight to Kathmandu. This 20 minute long spectacular flight costs a fair bit more than a bus, but the bus takes 8 hours on a good day. No brainer!
The transition to the hectic Kathmandu traffic was a bit hard to take, but we were soon safe within the walls of the peaceful Vajra hotel and enjoying lunch.
Raj, our guide, took us for an adventure to Thamel, a tourist market area, in the afternoon where souvenirs of the highest quality and ethical standards were sought and bought.
We capped the day off with another great dinner at one of Raj’s specially picked restaurants in Thamel before following him home like a trail of ducklings, dodging mopeds, rickshaws cars and people all the way.
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