Nepal – The Fun Starts Here

When you travel, if you don’t learn something new about the culture you visit, gain a clearer understanding about your own culture, and learn something about yourself, you might as well stay home.

– Pat Bunyard

Good beer and popcorn on Freak Street

Good beer and popcorn on Freak Street

NEPAL, 16 Oct 2013: My title may be a Nepalese advertisement for beer, but the sentiment is true. It has been an interesting, challenging and fun experience traveling Nepal with Niraj Maharjan and my travel mates of Road Scholar. Niraj has brought vibrancy and passion, humor and pride to his task of leading our little group, and his efforts brought alive what was before my eyes. I have gained much understanding and appreciation for the culture, people and hopes of Nepal.


Drink, Think, Relax

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

– Orson Welles.

KATHMANDU, 15 Oct: Dubious day turns out wonderfully. Out my window I see the Swayambhunath Temple and the rain has stopped. I bid farewell to my wonderful travel mates Teresa and Jim, Susan and Peter, and Jo who left this morning to India and further exciting travels. I fought off the staff who thought I was going too, managed to relax over a hectic breakfast, then arrange for a taxi. My story is not as yet at an end.


CHITWAN – ‘The Heart of the Jungle’



– Peter Fillmore, group participant

CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK, 14 Oct: Unbelievable! It has become our mantra thanks to Peter, who says the word is universally descriptive and can fit any occasion. We use it a lot. Today was no exception. Awoke before dawn to clear views of the Annapurna Range including Annapurna South, Fishtail, Annapurna Three, Four and Two. One remains allusive behind the others. The entire range was lit with the sunrise. All are “UNbelievable!”


Zum Zum – Zoom Zoom

Buy today, bye bye tomorrow. It’s a good time to be a chicken.

– Pat Bunyard.

POKHARA NEPAL, 2700ft, 11 Oct: You can tell the difficulty of the day’s trek by your porter’s shoes. If barefoot or flip flops, it will be an easy day. If wearing tennis shoes, prepare for a demanding day on the trail. If you spot hiking boots, prepare for the worst, get a good book and stay at the lodge.

Snow fall on Annapurna

Snow fall on Annapurna

The mountains are ever changing. Last night is was flames of sunset lighting the peaks. Today, I awake to the sound of rain and gusting winds. Emerged at 4:30 to retrieve laundry and discovered winds were warm but snowing in the mountains. The Annapurna Range to the north have several of the highest peaks in the world and seem close enough to touch. Fishtail to Annapurna South are visible and have snow falling. By 6:30 the sunrise is spectacular while clouds and snow drift among the Annapurnas, possibly dusting as low as 15k feet.


Holy Crap – I Am At The Summit

We must accept life for what it actually is – a challenge to our quality without which we would never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.

– Robert Lewis Stevenson

I’ve always loved a challenge.

– Lana Turner

Yam insured I made it up the terrain behind us

Yam ensured I made it up the terrain behind us

HIMALAYA LODGE, GHANDRUK, 6600ft, 10 Oct: I awoke to a clear view of Fishtail and sunrise over the Annapurnas. Garden fragrances add to the overall beauty and tranquility of Sanctuary Lodge.

After breakfast we trekked along the Modi River Valley through local farms then began to climb out of the valley and up, up, up. Our trail passed through small villages, terraced rice fields and forests with spectacular views of the surrounding valley, Fishtail and occasionally Annapurna South amid the clouds.


Day Two of Annapurna

“Bistari, Bistari” – “Slowly, Slowly”

– Parshuram Dahal, our trek guide.


GURUNG LODGE, MAJGAUN, 4620ft, 7 Oct: Thunder and rain most of night but as a result, at sunrise the snow-capped Annapurnas peeked out from the clouds in all its glory . Annapurna Two, Annapurna Four, Fishtail, Annapurna One and Annapurna South, with other peaks nearby, created an 180-degree vista. Here in one spot I can see four of the tallest peaks in the world. As the sun rose, individual peaks were slowly bathed in light and the clouds alternately hid and exposed the magnificent view as we sipped our morning coffees on the verandas.


On Annapurna’s Gin and Tonic Trail

You will probably only see one or two leeches.

– Mr. Prim, lecturer on hiking Annapurna

BESANTA LODGE, DHAMPUS, 5000ft, 6 Oct: Thunder is rumbling and rolling among the peaks of the Annapurnas and I can hear the steady rain outside my window. This is good for the clearing of clouds and views of the Annapurna Range in the morning; bad for hiking because of the mud and the moisture-loving leeches.