Saturday, 9 February 2013

To the trail head

Using we hooked up with Toby Power, a likeable Californian in search of someone to share a private jeep to Syabrubesi, the start point for our trek to Langtang.

To meet Toby, we relocated from Bhaktapur to the very Tibetan Boudhanath. We instantly fell in love with Boudhanath and, given its location just 20 minutes from Thamel, Boudha will be our future base for Nepal trips (until we find another place to fall in love with in Nepal...)

The $200 seven hour jeep ride (including lunch stop) was bliss compared with our previous transport in 2000 - a $4 10-12 hour desperately crowded public bus trip. A third alternative started up just two weeks ago; a $6 5-6 hour Express Bus, seat guaranteed, no stops. We still needed to load up on the Kwells for the twisty, fast ride, driven by someone in a hurry, of course. And we still needed to cross the alarming landslides. As well as the one that's been there for 20 years, there are now another two major slips, one of which happened in January 2013. The earth was sodden and heavy with rain; our hearts were in our mouths.

The permit to enter Langtang National Park is now a whopping 3000 rupees ($30) per person, a 66% increase on 2012 prices! In addition, we had secured the obligatory TIMS card from Kathmandu for $20 each. Thankfully Tom was free, being under 10.
The plan was to hike up the valley to Kyanjin Gompa, then back down and over the 4900m pass, Laurebina La, to the Helambu region, from where we could trek back to Kathmandu. Anything to avoid another heart stopping drive over those landslides! If the pass remained impassable, Plan B was to trek the Tamang Heritage Trail which conveniently branches off the Langtang Valley.
Arriving at Syabrubesi, we stayed at Peaceful Lodge and indulged in a beer. We knew the prices would hike up as we hiked up the valley; the price of being carried in on a porter's head.
We met our porter, Sandesh Tamang, who we had organized through Azimut Nepal, one of over 1000 trekking agencies in Kathmandu. He seemed friendly. We were ready to go!
Shane, Helen, Rosie and Tom

Location:Boudha Main Road,,Nepal

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