The majority of tourists heading to Nepal do so to trek. With the highest mountain range on earth and Everest calling Nepal home, the rugged snow capped Himalayas have been drawing adventurers keen to get high for years. But in addition Nepal is still a country that is still largely inaccessible by road. In fact, the vast majority of the country remains accessible only on foot. With a world full of well trodden paths and cemented highways Nepal offers what few other countries can.
The treks vary in their difficulty from the notorious 3 week Everest Base camp trek taking the individual to the foot of the great Mountain. To the Annapurna circuit which is regarded by many to be the best trek in the world. The varying geography of the land is rarely flat and walks taking in altitude of 6000m are normal.
I spent an awful lot of time trying to find a trek that would suit us. The old adage of you only being as quick as the slowest walker is true. Not just that but with Abi only being petite I couldn’t exactly stick a 40 litre ruck sack on her back and make her yomp for 30 miles.
After lots of research I found a village that sits some 2000m high on the fringes of the Kathmandu valley. Nargarkot exists for just one reason – Tourism. Due to the altitude and locality at the summit of the Kathmandu Valley ridge, facing North you get completely uninterrupted views of the Langtang range of the Himalayas. So uninterrupted are the views that supposedly on a particularly clear day you can see Everest. It is said that there is no where else in the world that gives such uninterrupted views of the Himalayas. So of course when we turned up it was completely overcast and we couldn’t see the end of the garden of the hotel, not a single mountain in sight. We had taken a taxi from Kathmandu which took about an hour and had paid 1800 Rupees for the dangerous journey in which the driver didn’t seem to understand the concept of a blind corner and a six thousand foot drop to our right. About 20 near misses later we pulled up into the village perched on the side of a ridge. Even the down hills go up hill in Nargarkot, and for those that turn up and are clouded in like we were all you can really do is relax. There is genuinely not a single other thing to do as the village has no temples, attractions or anything other than the view which draws people from across the globe. We seemed to be the only tourists in town and I got very bored, very quickly with all the uphill-ness. So much so I dedicated the day to sorting the next stage of the trip and getting to India.
The hotel we stayed at had free wifi but there was a power cut. Suspicious that the owner was just trying to save a few bob on the leccy bill we did a bit of investigating. Turns out the entire locality had been without power since the previous day, with no one knowing what was going on, or when it might come back on we resigned to the room to watch a movie on the iPad. We started to watch Get the Gringo and it was really good, then, suddenly half way through people started speaking Spanish and there were no subtitles.
The day really dragged and it wasn’t like we were in some authentic Nepalese village, we literally had nothing to do but look out into the white abyss imagining the view we were being denied.
We played Uno by candlelight and I drank genuine Russian Vodka brewed down the road in Pokhara. At just a quid for the bottle it was money well spent. At about 9pm we decided to go on the hunt for electricity and headed down the hill to the village. We found somewhere with a generator and ordered finger chips, beer and fanta. We were kicked out about half eleven and it was torrential rain outside. I tried to convince the guy to let us stay until it stopped and he laughed saying it wasn’t going to. In absolute darkness we headed back up the hill, it was about a half mile walk to our hotel. We pretty much ran the whole way, it was as dark as if our eyes had been shut as we made our way up through the forest.
Once at the hotel I was dying, seriously. Vodka, beer, rain and a massive hill in darkness do not mix. At the gate of our hotel we realised it had been locked from the inside. I was kicking the gate trying to wake someone but no one came. The only option was to throw Charlie over the wall. I threw him as high as I could and it just wasn’t happening, but, next to the hotel was a shop. It was a typical open air affair with a gate at the front, but at the back, there was a gap between the roof and the rear wall. Through that gap was our hotel. This was in absolute darkness and I knew there was massive risk involved in what we were about to do. Nonetheless seeing Charlie try and squeeze himself through the gap at the top of the gate was funny. Hearing him hit the floor once through was even funnier. No idea what he knocked over but there was a huge crash, dogs starting barking and quickly he climbed over the counter and started to climb through the hole between the roof and the rear wall. Me and Abi were by now absolutely soaking wet, laughing our heads off and trying to guide Charlie where he needed to be. Then I heard it “Dad, im stuck” Of course me and Abi by this point could barely breath from laughing. “No dad, seriously I am proper stuck” Well that was it, we were stranded outside our hotel high up some mountain. It was past midnight, complete darkness and Charlie was stuck trying to escape from a shop he had just broken into. Now, money can get you out of a lot of things but this was not one of those things, and as funny as it was we were in trouble.
I climbed up onto the gate and tried to wiggle the roof from my side, it was a ridiculous idea and didn’t work. Suddenly I heard a door get unlocked “Be quiet Charlie” I stupidly said. Me and Abi hid behind the gate, “what are you doing” I heard the guy say to Charlie “We are locked outside” replied Charlie half wedged between a wall and a roof. With that the guy came and opened the gate. I helped Charlie escape and the guy said “Why you was in the shop” I just responded “No idea” grabbed Charlie and walked to our bungalow knowing we had to leave early in the morning. Very early.