Richard Goodey, the co-founder of Lost Earth Adventures Company, made his way all over to the Annapurnas – Annapurna Base Camp, Poon Hill and Mardi Himal. Here is a brief tale of his journey in between the mountains.
Goodey’s journey started off at Kathmandu. Then he made his way to Pokhara(the gateway of the Annapurnas) on his motorbike. En route from Kathmandu to Pokhara took him around 6 hours. Motorbike was not quite a comfortable and convenient choice for a 6 hour long road trip but the quality brakes and brand new horn were to be thanked for easing the whole situation to a certain extent.
His trek officially started the next day after a 30 minutes jeep ride from Nayapul, the trailhead of the Annapurna Sanctuary. Goodey is a very optimistic person and he loved challenging himself. He was very envious of one of his tour guides named Will McEvoy, who completed the trail across the Langtang Valley and Gosainkunda Lakes in just 4 days .
His backpack for the next 11 days weighed 5.5 kg( which also included 1 kg water). Mountain Equipment had provided him with few garments to test in Nepal, like the Modus base layer that he wore everyday for the next week. It turned out to be quite effective in the +30 jungle weather as well as all the way to the lofty, chiller heights of the Mardi Himal Base Camp (4450m). During night, he slept in his matrix thermals and underblankets provided by the teahouses. Apart from these, his backpack included few extra bit of essential items like first aid kit, camera, map, compass and head torch. Everything else was basically available in the villages. Goodey felt redeemed to be able to run freely in the hills without having to be laden down by the heavy bags.
Starting from where the jeep left him, he had 2000m of climb to cover across 30 km. He made his way forward relying on the compass, the rivers, common villagers and the contours of the land to guide him the way. Eventually, after a whole long day, he reached Ghorepani. Hungry and tired, he devoured a full tube of Pringles, sated quantity of dal – bhat. Goodey ended the day by rejuvenating himself by a gas powered hot shower.
The next morning, Goodey ran to the top of the Poon Hill (at 3200m). Poon Hill offers a splendid panoramic view. Though the weather seemed temperamental from monsoon, he managed to snap a glance of Mount Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest mountain in the world. At around 6:30 pm, Goodey arrived at Chomrong in the dark, all covered in mud, happy as a pig in mud.
The next day had its own challenges with one more 2000m of climb to cover across 25km. The air had distinctly started getting thin now. Goodey ran the flats and walked quickly on the ups. He managed to get to the village of himalayas in 6 hours and eventually to the Machhapuchhre Base Camp(3700m) in the next 2 hours.
The following morning, Goodey walked to Annapurna Base camp while it was chilly pre-dawn. He enjoyed the majestic view of sun rising across the immense south face of Annapurna with a breakfast of Tibetan tea, bread and honey. He was absolutely stunned by the beauty of the white snow- capped peaks and white meadowed flowers which was so full of life from the monsoon rains. Moments like these gave him the urge to return back to the Himalayas time and again.
Making his way fast through the lower valleys, Goodey finally reached at Chomrong where he met his old friend and Lost Earth Adventures Guide, Dipak Bhatta. They relaxed in Panorama teahouse to savor the magnificent views of the Annapurna Range and Machhapuchhre.
The following day, their adventure continued and they proceeded towards their next destination – Mardi Himal. They started off their day by reinvigorating themselves in the Jhinu Dhanda hot springs.
The trekking trail to Mardi Himal was rather tough and difficult to follow. Fortunately, they met a man who gave them distances between the villages. They stocked some foods before venturing into the jungle. Despite of all the hindrances they faced on the trail, they made it to the village in 1 hour 45 mins.
They were greeted by an older gurung woman aged 84 years old offered them squeezed buffalo milk, warmed over the fire. She told them that she often makes the journey to pokhara on foot, a 5 day trek!! Goodey found the gurung people in that area to be extremely warm and kind- hearted. Originally from tibetan background, Nepali is their secondary language.
Goodey is originally from UK. While in UK, he is always occupied with tons of works and hustle and bustle of the city. He appreciates the slower pace of life found in Nepal. The next morning, they moved along the crest of the ridge . They stopped by in every little teahouse dotted along the way, drank tea and listen to their stories. Finally at the end of the ridge, they met two Army officers who served alongside the Gurkhas. That night, they shared sip of their two potent “Indian scotch”.
The following morning, 4 of them moved forward to the Mardi Himal Base Camp. They followed the outline of the path that increased in pitch and hurdles as it rose higher into the night sky. Ultimately, they made it to the summit where they watched the morning glow on the Annapurna and machhapuchhre Himal and were left awestruck. A 360-degree view of the Greater Himalayan Range, standing 8 kilometres high was directly in front of them and the view was breathtaking.
After a minute of savouring the experience, they had to make their way back down the ridge. Goodey wanted to stay a little longer but they were under the clock and had to make it back to Pokhara. After 3000m of moving down and 12 hours walk, they reached Sidling village. After walking for 1 more hour, they finally found a jeep and sighed a breath of relief.
Eventually, Goodey along with his friends made his way back to kathmandu right on time. They were excited to meet the first client of the season the following day. The season was officially about to start.
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Courtesy : Lost Earth Adventures