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Nepal Himalayan Trek - My Personal Challenge Then we go down, before going back up again. It would have been so much easier on the legs if they put a bridge across from one village to the next!! We follow the river for most of the way and stop for a swig of Coke every so often. It is really hard work in this heat. I stop to talk to a few English trekkers who are on the last leg – another good excuse to stop! Urba is so quick – he has strapped both of our bags together and is carrying them via a big bandage around his head. He and Mangal are both walking with us, although Urba usually goes ahead and then is sitting waiting for us to catch up. So small, and yet so much strength! At around 4.00pm, Mangal says that the village ahead is where we are staying for the night – Hallelujah! The village is called Tirkhedunga, and is around 1540 metres high. We get a room at the Chandra Guest House – a wooden construction that is three storeys high, and we are on the third floor. There is a toilet at the end of the hall, but only a hole in the floor. I wonder if I will be used to the toilet facilities by the end of the trek? There are also hot showers here – but not exactly what I expected. A pipe is fixed to the wall with a head on it – that is the shower. The floor gets soaked, and there are only a couple of nails to hang your clothes on. But the water is hot, and it is better than nothing. Then it’s off to bed – it’s 7pm – we have a long day tomorrow! We have a 6am wake up call, to be ready to leave straight after breakfast. It looks a strenuous day today, and I think Mangal is not taking any chances that we will still be on the trail after it gets dark! We set off at 7.30am for the trek to Ghorepani. The first half an hour or so is mainly downhill – oh dear! Our net gain in height today should be about 1500 metres, but that doesn’t take into consideration any downs and then back ups. After crossing a couple of iron bridges, we then start the uphill – and it goes on and on and on. The rock steps go on forever. It should take six hours to get to Ghorepani, but I have a feeling it is going to be a bit more than that! We stop for five minute rest breaks every now and then – and boy, do I wish I had been to the gym! Lunch is at 11.30, and we stock up on vegetable fried rice and pasta. It is the most beautiful spot, overlooking the valley and snow covered ‘fishtail’ mountain in the background. Glorious. Off we go again, and this afternoon seems to go on forever. I do not think I have ever felt so tired or pushed my body so

Page 2 of 3 far physically. The steep rock steps take hours. Six hours come and go – and still no sign of Ghorepani. Mangal takes pity on me and offers to carry my backpack – I think the real reason is that he wants to get to where we are going before the sun goes down! We get to Ghorepani – and then he tells us there is a lower Ghorepani and an upper Ghorepani – and guess where we are staying? You’re right, upper! Another twenty minutes when I thought we were almost there! It has taken nine and a half hours from when we set off! We stay in the Sunny Hotel (!), with a European toilet right outside the door, and it even has a flush on it. We feel spoiled rotten! The showers are rubbish but they are hot. The weather here as soon as the sun has gone down is absolutely freezing. A really early start today – wake up call at 4.15am to start the trek to Poon Hill at 4.45am. Poon Hill is supposed to have the most amazing sunrise. We walk directly up for one and a half hours, step after step after step – supposedly it was meant to be 45 minutes. We had to go by torch light, and it was really difficult, as the mountain is really hard to navigate in the dark. By the time we reached the top it was light, and the sky was full of clouds, so no amazing sunrise for us today! The panoramic view from here is something else – if the sun had come up behind those mountains I think it would have definitely been a wow moment. But it didn’t, so we then have to walk all the way down again. Quicker than going up but still hard on the legs after the long day yesterday. Breakfast is served when we get back, and then it is time to pack and start the trek for real for today. I am so tired, I cannot even manage to get my sleeping bag in its travelling bag. We set off at 8.30am, and have a two hour upward start. Who chose this holiday? Mangal is very kind, and carries my backpack for most of the trip. That camera is really heavy – as well as the two litres of water that is in the Camelbak. The walk this morning is through forests – again, nothing as I had imagined. Lunch is a welcome break. The trek from there is mostly downhill, which sounds better, but is just as hard on different muscles. We go through a village called Banthati, and we stop for a cup of tea. We have to move out of the way pretty quickly for a couple of herds of goats that come charging down the track. On the way to market in Pokhara apparently. That’s a long way to take about fifty goats – I wonder where they sleep? We eventually get to Tadapani 12 hours after we started this morning. And I thought yesterday was a hard day! They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – I am still in two minds as to which way this is going to go!