Day 8 October 10th 2014
Panchase to Pokhara, Nepal
Well today was an interesting day, to say the least. We started our trek around 8 am after witnessing another gorgeous sunrise over the Annapurna’s. Today’s leg of the trek was all downhill as we needed to get back into the valley to catch our bus to Pokhara. Downhill, sounds lovely… No huffing and puffing, no stairs to climb, no elevation to overcome….. Ya right by the end of today’s trek I was begging to go up hill.
To get down the valley, you had to walk down a lot, I mean 1500+ steps (probably double that) to the bottom. Steps, sounds easy enough… Well because of the rain yesterday the stone steps we climbed got super slippery due to the moss on them. It was worse than walking on ice. To make matters worse most steps were tilted downhill so when you stepped down your foot usually slid off the step. It was dangerous, super slow going and took 5 hours of hell to make it to the bottom.
We stopped mid-way through a cute little village where a local family served us tea. They were house cleaning and painting today which is customary before a festival. As a festival just passed they were supposed to do it then but a family member had died so they were doing it today instead.
After tea we began to meander down yet more steps when out of nowhere I slipped and fell off the stair case 6 feet down into a grass ditch. This Nepali lady was watching us and must have been thinking “crazy foreigner girl, don’t they teach you to walk in your country”. The event was absolutely hilarious I’m sure, and the fall was really not that painful. I fell earlier that day on the other side of my butt so at least now the pain was even.
The rest of our journey down to the valley was just as dangerous, although seeing beautiful waterfalls helped ease the nerves. Every now and then local people would pass us on the trail, either going up the stairs to the villages above or down below. In either case these people were practically running up and down the steps, no slipping or sliding, carrying 50 pound loads and kids on one hip. We were all amazed at how skillfully they tackled the trail. I felt like a 90 year old grandmother with a walking stick in one hand and Mona our guide holding the other.
We finally reached our destination, solid ground at the bottom of the valley. I was so happy I wanted to kiss the ground…. No more stairs ever please!
After lunch we took a jeep on the bumpy road back to Pokhara. Let me emphasize the word bumpy…. We were going 5 km per hour most of the way. The road went through more small villages and we got to see people fishing on the lake. We also saw a hand propelled passenger ferry at one point which was very inventive, sadly could not get a photo.
We arrived back to 3 sisters trekking house just in time for my first shower in 3 days! After hiking 13+ hours and sweating buckets this shower was the best shower I have ever experienced. Before sunset, Cornelia, Sam and I went for a walk to drop off our laundry, exchange money and grab a fresh juice from one of the street vendors along the lake. Such a peaceful moment in time and the juice was to die for!
Barely able to keep my eyes open, I managed to make it to dinner where we were reunited with Keith and Elsa and introduced to the three sisters that owned “3 sisters trekking”. We all had dinner together and shared stories of our adventures of the past four days. The evening ended with a quick presentation from the three sisters on projects “3 sisters” is involved with, most surrounding educating women and providing work opportunities for women of small villages and mothers. Please go to their webpage to read more about their powerful movement to empower women in Nepal! The evening ended with a Nepali birthday cake for Keith and all of us trying to figure out how to set off a fire work (we did not figure it out in the end).