Being tired of my daily busy schedule and enjoying my holiday in a different style, I have planned to go on the Mardi Himal Poon Hill trek. So, I have contacted one of the famous trekking agencies of Nepal; Nepal Dream Path, and booked the Mardi Himal Poon Hill trek for January 2020, the very first trek of my life. According to the representative of the Travel agency, we were going to start the trek from 12th Jan and I had to meet with them on 11th Jan in Pokhara. I was already in Pokhara, so on the 11th of Jan evening, I met the representative of the travel agency in a hotel and discussed the trek. I had also met Max & Heather, A newly married German couple. They were also going to join us on that trek. After the discussion and introduction with each member of the trek, I have returned to my hotel waiting for the next morning to come.
DAY 01: Pokhara – Nayapul – Tikhedhunga – Ulleri
12th Jan 2020, Today was the first day of the trek. Max, Heather, and me with all the gears packed in our bag, were so excited to start our trek. After having a delicious breakfast at Pokhara, we started our journey with the drive to Nayapul. During the drive, I was drawing imaginary pictures of the places we are about to visit during this trek. We reached Nayapul after a drive of one and a half hours. From Nayapul, with full energy, we continued to Tikhedhunga passing through beautiful rice terraces, dense forests, and the ACAP permit checkpoint of Birethati. We reached Tikhedhunga after the trek of 4-5 hours and had lunch there. We had to reach Ulleri for an overnight stay, so we continued our trek on the steep trail to Ulleri. On reaching Ulleri, our guide took us to The Super View Point hotel for an overnight stay. The food, accommodation along hospitality of that hotel was beautiful. In the night, with a warm campfire & drink, I enjoyed the company of the peoples of the same mind kind.
Day 02: Ulleri – Ghorepani
On an early morning, I woke up for a beautiful sunrise at Ulleri. After having breakfast and clicking some photos for memory, we again started our walk aiming to reach Ghorepani via Nangethali. On the way to Ghorepani, passing by blooming rhododendron forest we enjoyed our trek with stunning views of mountains like Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri, Tupche peak, etc. We see many horses and mules carrying goods. After the trek of 5- 6 hours, a beautiful village of Ghorepani with lots of snow welcomed us. On reaching our hotel, we dropped our bags and took a rest for an Hour. At night, after lunch at the hotel, we all gathered and played card games.
Day 03: Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Tadapani
The next day, we woke early in the morning because we had to reach Poon Hill before sunrise. Carrying our personal cameras, with full excitement, after the continuous walk of 1 hour, we reached Poon Hill. Many trekkers were already there but we were also on time. The glorious view of the sun steadily coming out of nowhere made me feel alive. The dim sun rays touching my body created a current all over my body. The beauty of that place was far beyond the imaginary image on my mind. I set myself in between the beautiful natural frame of this place and captured some photos; which I will definitely frame and keep it hanging on the wall of my living room. After one good hour at Poon Hill, we head back to the Ghorepani with a heavy heart, leaving heaven behind maybe for another heaven. After a good meal at Ghorepani, picking up our bags we continued downhill to Tadapani. An adventurous walk down on ice matted slippery trail. The rope was tied for the support to walk; many trees were lying on earth due to the destruction of the ice storm. Finally, we reached a beautiful village in Tadapani for an overnight stay. I was tired and the warm bed made me fall asleep within a few minutes.
Day 04: Tadapani – Ghandruk – Landruk
The next day, the next beautiful destination to go. Today, we hiked to another beautiful Gurung village Ghandruk. Ghandruk is the second largest Gurung village. As soon as we reached Ghandruk, I could see panoramic views of mountains like Himchuli, Annapurna South, and Fishtail right in front of my face. The perfect natural scenery teamed up with traditional Gurung culture, this place is literally god gifted. In Ghandruk, we had an opportunity of tasting authentic Nepali meal (Dhido) and the local Ale also. We dressed in a traditional Gurung dress and clicked some photos with the mountains behind. It was so much fun. Later, our guide explained to us about the Gurung cultures & traditions too.
From Ghandruk, we followed the downhill rock steps passing by beautiful rice terraces towards the suspension bridge of Modi Khola. From there, we continued our trek following the steep up-climb leading us to Landruk. In the hotel, we had Nepali Daal Bhat as our Lunch. Max and Heather told us the stories of their previous tour to Africa. I wished, I also could tell them my stories about the treks/tour but it was my first trek.
Day 05: Landruk to Forest Camp
The next day early morning, we woke up and had our breakfast. We had to cover about 1400m steep climb to forest Camp that day, so after breakfast, we continued our trek. Though the steep was uphill & we were getting tired but the blooming rhododendron, pine, Sal forest along with distant mountain views was decreasing our tiredness. The distant melody of birds and other wild animals was asking our introduction. After a long and physically demanding walk, we reached the forest camp for an overnight stay. There was only 4-5 newly opened hotel and some of them were still under construction. We got lucky to have delicious lamb meat along with traditional daal bhat as dinner. We met our new friend, Heli a local dog always ready to play with us. The beautiful distant lights in Ghandruk village reminded me how far I had come. I was living a life totally different than I used to. That place was quiet & remote with countable people around, but I liked that peace, I liked that quietness of the beautiful nature. I finally got the answer to the question on my mind before deciding to do this trek; will it be really worth it?
Day 06: Forest Camp – Middle Camp
Another day, another steep uphill to climb. Early morning we woke up and enjoyed the views of the surrounding with our warm tea & breakfast. After spending some time in the forest camp, we were ready to leave the place and trek to the Middle camp. Heli came to say Goodbye to us. The uphill slippery trails were passing through the dense forest full of snow. The trek was difficult at least for the first time trekker like me. Our porters were carrying all our bags with a smile saying no problem. Passing through the low camp and multiple resting points, we finally reached Middle camp. A middle camp is a place above the tree lines, somewhere above clouds. We could see the giant fearless mountain ranges Like Annapurna south, Himchuli, Machapuchare, Annapurna III, Mardi Himal penetrating clouds. My eyes were experiencing heaven right in front of me with my jaw dropped. Many airplanes were picking and dropping visitors there. Thanks to our guides and porters who served us with delicious warm dinner and warm tents even in the mountains. We enjoyed our evening playing cards, laughing at the jokes.
Day 07: Middle Camp – High Camp
Today, we have to climb to the highest point of this trek, Mardi Himal high camp. Early in the morning after breakfast, we started our trek to High camp. As the altitude was increasing, the thickness of snow was also increasing; which added more difficulty in trekking & breathing. We were heading towards high camp drinking as much hot water as possible according to the guide’s suggestion. After, all the hard work to reach High Camp, the prize in reaching high camp was worthy. The weather was clear letting us enjoy all the stunning views around us. Beautiful Mt. Machapuchare was right in front of our eyes. We could see all the blooming forests; a great view of Pokhara from where we started our trek. We were lucky that we reached there on time and could see the panoramic views. But, the trekking group right behind us was not lucky enough to see the views. As soon as they arrived at High camp, started a snowfall. We sheltered in a small, cozy tea house made by tin with a few warm meals and tea and some interesting conversation going on.
Day 08: High Camp – Siding village
On that day, we had to cover long distances. So, with morning breakfast and some memories captured on camera, we started heading back to Siding village. Ice matted downhill slippery trail was getting difficult to walk on. Due to the continuous walk of the last 6/7 days, our team was so tired but we had to make it back to Siding Village for an overnight stay. After the walk of 6-7 hours, we finally reached Siding village. We hadn’t taken a shower for days and our clothes were also dirty. We took a hot shower and washed away all the dust of days. I washed some dirty and dusty clothes of mine and we decided to take a rest till the dinner was ready. When dinner was ready, one worker from the hotel came to my room and asked me if I want the dinner delivered to my room. We all gathered in the kitchen and celebrated the success of our trek with delicious meals and some red wine.
Day 09: Siding Village – Pokhara
Today was the final day of our trek. We have no energy left to trek to Pokhara from the village. So, our guide managed a comfortable private jeep to Pokhara. All the members of our team were silent during the drive. I was memorizing all the good and bad experiences that happened during the trek and they might be doing the same. On one hand, I was happy that I have achieved something in my life. On the other hand, I was sad because these beautiful days had come to an end.
We were driving on the bumpy road followed by Mardi Khola’s edge. We could see the continuous flow of the Mardi Khola. Like Mardi Khola, every moment of my life was passing continuously. I wished I could stop the continuous flow of Mardi Khola. I wished I could stop the continuous flow of my life and stuck on the ice somewhere around High camp or Middle camp or Poon Hill. We reached Pokhara after the drive of 2-3 hours. As soon as we had reached Pokhara, we dropped our luggage in the Hotel and went out for a sightseeing tour of the city with the guidance of our experienced guide. We had visited Bat cave, Mahendra cave, Seti River and our guide explained about these places so well. We also had an opportunity of boating on Fewa Lake and visiting the Tal Barahi Temple, A temple that lies in the Middle of the lake. I had captured some scenic photos of the temple and lake. So many other places left remained to visit, we headed back to the Hotel. Our trekking agency had organized the surprise farewell party at the Hotel. All the members of the trekking team wished better luck and good life to each other. We all drank and celebrated the last night together.
Undoubtedly, the decision of my going to this trek is the best decision I have ever made in my life by myself. I was never that happy in my life. Leaving behind the busy life of the city, the trek to the untouched places with unbelievable beauty was really a must-needed break and my holiday couldn’t be so amazing and adventurous without this trek. This trek was the very first trek of my life but definitely not the last one. I am planning to do several treks with the same Travel agency and the same guide and I would strongly like to suggest everyone do the trek. One trek can change the way of your living and the whole perspective of life.