“High up in the Makalu region, trekking along remote trails, and during the season of the great earthquakes…what an adventure!”
Wondering why crossing one of many of Nepal’s high pass worth writing about? Read on to find out why!!
Our Kamzang Journeys trekking team flew into Bhadrapur, in Nepal’s steamy terai, to start our trek along the Great Himalayan Trail. An adventurous road trip from Bhadrapur to tea-station of Illam in our hired jeep marked the beginning of my adventure to Nepal(Travel tip: request anti-nausea tablets from your doctor if you’re thinking of attempting this route). Although the tea station is well known to Nepalis, it is one of Nepal’s best kept secrets for tourists. The tea station of Illam is one of Nepal’s picturesque hill-station where one can tour the beautiful tea plantations, sample local teas and sweets.
After trekking for one more day, we reached Taplejung, the official point where our Kanchenjunga to Makalu Barun trek started. The trial is part of a new route connecting the highest trekking routes in Nepal from east to west. We trekked close to the eastern end and walked past two of the world’s highest mountains, Kanchanjunga and Makalu. Apparently, the route, from Tumlingtar, was the only trail to Everest for early mountaineers such as Shiption in the first half of the 20th Century.One of the major highlight of our Kanchejunga to Makalu Barun trek was camping at remote Olangchun Gola Village, where the Tibetan villagers weave traditional carpets form hand-spun sheep wool, do ‘koras’ around their ancient Buddhist monastery, and make some of Nepal’s best tongba (fermented millet beer).
The Lumba Sumba pass, at 5,160 meters, a sublimely beautiful pass featuring the majestic Kanchejunga (8,598 m) to the west, and Makalu (8,485 m) to the east, the third and fifth highest peaks in the world, respectively. After an early morning startup by crossing a large, pure snowfield, we trekked up to the first of what we discovered was a double pass. The splendid Himalayan panorama from the top of the pass was unreal and we contented ourselves by admiring it from a distance. Gliding down to the Makalu Barun region was equally fun and adventurous.
The Makalu region features the Arun and Tamor rivers, massive river systems which flow from the high Himalayan glaciers, and over the millennium have formed deep gorges, now farmed and populated with villages. Though the trek to this part was remote, our adventure continued as we experienced two major quakes in a village high above a steep sided river valley. We were left with no other options than to walk further. Eventually, after trekking up and down through the shaking landscape, we made it to green fields of cardamom – the end of our month long trip to Nepal.
This post has been excerpted from Kim’s travel diaries which was first up on www.ecs.com.np. Click below to read the full version: