Day 16 Bimthang to Dharapani
Departed Super View Hotel at 7:30 feeling fortunate as there was cloud cover which would lessen the experience for my friends crossing the path today.
It was very quiet on the trail following the Dudh Khola River. As we descended the stark wintery terrain gave way to forest and red and pink rhododendron trees.
Early on a dog, I called “Blackie” joined us accompanying us for 2 ½ hours to Gowa our lunch stop.
Walked on crossing the Marsyangdi River arriving in Dharapani around 14:00. Dharapani is the town where the Manaslu trek intersects with the Annapurna circuit. I was planning to continue on and do the Annapurna Circuit but my conversations with trekking buddy Lance have me wanting to do something different. So will walk on to Besi Sahar and take a few days off in Pokhara before walking a combined Langtang, Gosaikunda Lake, Helambu Trek before heading to Naturopathic Hospital in Rajahar to experience Aryuvedic Medicine.
Many people just take a jeep from Dharapani to Besi Sahar but I have the time and like to walk so will do the final 2 days on foot.
The evening is fun as the family allows me into the kitchen to make a batch of buttered popcorn and we have lots of laughs. The owners cute boisterous little girl enhanced the evening. And the first hot shower in days.
Day 17 Dharapani to Ghume:
The next morning veering south along the Marsyangdi River in a long day to Ghume stopping at the Rainbow Hotel where I was the only guest and had a spectacular view of a waterfall from the restaurant patio. Many trekkers skip this section these days but you can take the old path on the other side of the river away from the dusty dirt road and it is still worthwhile.
Had a nice quiet evening enjoying conversation with the family owners.
Day 18 Ghume to Besi Sahar. The end of the Trek
The last day was pleasant as long as I stayed on the left side of the river. Walked for an hour with an older woman enjoying her companionship until Badi. Unfortunately, missing a shortcut forced me back on the dusty, rocky road with lots of traffic over the final 2 hours.
In Besi Sahar I ran into the Austrian couple who I had last seen at the pass. They had jeeped in yesterday from Dharapani. So together we caught a minivan to Pokhara for a few days of R&R.
Reflecting on the Trek, it was a fantastic journey. The conversations with Lance, the Shangri La like Tsum Valley, the magnificent Manaslu and surrounding peaks were all in my mind. And all the encounters with other trekkers from around the world and the friendly Nepalis. All in all, a wonderful off the beaten track alternative to the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Treks.
It is a bit more expensive as it requires special permits but only about $100. This trek also requires a guide but it is good to support the local economy. Still an incredibly cheap experience at about $45 per day total. For anyone interested, it you have time you can visit 3 of the many Trekking Companies in Thamel, Kathmandu. Negotiate the best price and select the one you are most comfortable with. Or after 8 trips to Nepal, I now just go to Yala Peak Hotel and plan my treks with the friendly and reputable Durga of Mount Trails Trekking. For those with time constraints, they are excellent at setting up turnkey treks where you don’t have to plan any of the details.