Where We Be
To me this looks like a Nepali version of a David Winter Cottage scene
Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal (Days 27-30)
Thirty days is a long time to hike! We have a high
tolerance for this sort of thing, but even so, we
were about ready to be done and have multiple
days go by without putting packs on our backs at
the crack of dawn to hike to our next destination.
Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed every minute of it,
and without question it was a month we'll never
forget, but at some point it feels good just to rest.

These last four days could have been compressed
down to two, but we spent a wonderful rest day in
Chomrong gorging on pizza and chocolate cake,
and another rest day in Ghandruk just kicking back
and relaxing. Both towns were pleasant enough to
warrant the extra time: the food was great, the
temperatures comfortable, the towns lovely, and
the people friendly. We reveled in the down time.

Our last hard hiking day was from Chomrong to
Ghandruk, when for the last time we struggled up
steep hillsides to reach our destination. From
Ghandruk to Naya Pul (where the trail meets the
road) was an easy hike downhill. From there we
took a 1½-hour taxi ride to Pokhara. We got settled
into our same room at Sacred Valley Inn, ordered
beers to celebrate the end of a very successful
trek, and began the serious business of relaxing
and doing absolutely nothing for one whole week.
We stopped here for a much-needed break during the hike from Chomrong to Ghandruk
Water buffalo cool off in the river
Robin heads confidently towards the last steep climb of the trek
That last climb was a doozy: 430 meters (1,400 feet) up interminable switchbacks
And here we are on the outskirts of Ghandruk, a larger town than most, and quite lovely with its stone buildings
The traditional stone construction in Ghandruk (1,940 m / 6,402 ft) dates back 400 to 500 years
We stayed for two days at the highly livable and utterly peaceful Milan Lodge in Ghandruk
Milan Lodge's flower-filled courtyard was a pleasure
There are high mountains near Ghandruk but we only caught
glimpses of them through the haze that's so common in April
Nepalis rival the Incas of Peru when it comes to building seriously impressive stone trails that go on for miles and miles
It was all downhill from Ghandruk to Naya Pul (1,010 m / 3,333 ft), past increasingly agricultural scenery
Not long after this picture was taken, Robin got baffed off the trail by a donkey! A train of donkeys was coming up the stairs as we were going down them,
and Robin got knocked off by one of their bulky packs. I saw her topple over the edge and came running. It could have been serious but it wasn’t --
she fell into some prickly bushes just a few feet below, bruising her knee (and ego!) but escaping unscathed otherwise.
Robin shows off her war wound (does she look just a little bit sheepish?)
This is Birethanti, the last town before Naya Pul. Only half an hour to go! We stopped to savor the moment and enjoyed a relaxing lunch by the roaring river.
We saw this somewhat amusing sign
throughout our trek, but I only thought to
take a picture of it at our final ACAP
checkpoint in Birethanti (we had to check
in periodically to show our permits).
"Save caresses for the private moments"
is particularly apt. You NEVER see any
kind of physical affection of any kind
between a Nepali man and a woman --
not even hand holding or a simple arm
around the shoulders or (God forbid) a
hug or a kiss. Even if the couple has
been married forever, you just don't see
any holding of any kind in public AT
ALL. Which makes it all the stranger
when you see two Nepali men in public
with their arms casually thrown around
each other or holding hands. But here
that just means they're good buddies
and it has no sexual overtones at all
(i.e., of being gay) as it might in the U.S.
Returning to Pokhara felt like returning to civilization
The very next day I went to a barber's in Pokhara and he shaved off my "trekking beard."
I kinda miss it! I feel like a shorn sheep!