Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Trekking in Nepal – Day 5 – Tadupani to Kalipani

If Pun Hill was the overture to the Himalayas, the road to Kalopani is the main movement – we walked all day in a lush landscape decked with marigolds and bougainvillea and ringed by snow peaks.

This was an easy but long walk – 8 KM. Most tours break this segment at Ghasa; our guides had combined what was normally a two day stint into one in order to provide some wiggle room in our schedule for returning to Kathmandu (a very good decision, as it turned out!).

We lunched at a stunning spot overlooking the Kali Gandaki river gorge, with the beautiful Rupse Chharara falls cascading 5000+ feet down the neighboring mountain. We then crossed the first of several spectacular suspension bridges over “the deepest gorge in the world.”  (This is somewhat of an exaggeration, since they count from the top of the surrounding mountains, not from the adjoining roadbed.)

At Ghasa DB decided on a different adventure –at 3PM she could not face another three hours of walking and decided to take the public bus to  (brave lass!).  DB and I kept on to thrill at alpenglow on the peaks, then the full moon rising over the mountains, and arriving at our guest house by moonlight. Bena, our guide, had gone ahead with Dianne, and the three assistants led us on the shortcuts- including a clamber up and across a rocky, pebbly, thin trail across the face of a cliff where we were literally sidling along the trail in the half-dark clinging with our fingertips… we decided we would rather have walked around, thanks, but once started there was no returning – and by that time we were too tired to be actually scared.  The two friendly dogs romping up and down the path around us were not helpful.  And then the full moon rose over the mountains, bathing everything in a silver light almost as bright as day.

Kalopani, like most Nepalese towns, closes at dusk.  We plodded through the town by moonlight, passed by  an occasional motorbike or bus, my feet complaining about every picturesque cobblestone they encountered.  Happily, our trek ended at the Kalopani Guest House, which to our eyes seemed as luxurious as a  Ritz Carlton.  We had a large room with wood paneling, and our own gleaming white ceramic tile bathroom!

The dining room boasted a carved and mirrored bar, a long table occuppied by high-spirited Germans,  and a high-speed internet connection. The charcoal brazier placed under our dinner table to warm our feet was the crowning touch. DB threatened to marry the smiling, English-speaking proprietor, but he demurred on grounds that his existing wife would object.  He explained that he and his family had recently invested their pooled savings to upgrade the guest house in hopes of attracting more tourists, and urged us to spread the word to recruit more trekkers among our friends.  He looked all of eighteen.

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