Trisuli Bazaar it was thankfully only
a short distance, jam-packed in the back of an
open-topped lorry under a blazing-hot, sub-tropical sun, along the rough, pot-holed road to the
cluster of shops and houses at the small village of Betrawati - the starting point for our 14 day
trek from the Trisuli River Valley through the rarely visited wilderness territory of the Ganesh
Himal to finish at the ancient royal capital of Gorkha beyond the other great river valley of the
the next two days we
from the riverside paddies of ripe, golden rice through
terraced fields of millet and maize and picturesque hill-villages then forests of rhododendron and
chir pine to reach the crest of the long ridge running due north above the turbulent Trisuli.
beneath the ridgetop
on a grassy
plateau enclosed in a rocky amphitheatre I looked out to
the east to the familiar summit-pyramid of the nearby 7000metre Langtang Lirung protruding like an
island from a vast sea of cloud
next morning as we marched
crags of the broad crest a spectacular himalayan panorama
unfolded:- the gleaming, white massifs of the Annapurnas and the Manaslu Himal to the west; the
pointed peaks of the Ganesh Himal ranging the northern horizon on the frontier with Tibet .
on faint trails
gloomy, leech-infested forests and over steep,
uncultivated hillsides we reached the terraced fields surrounding the Tamang village of Tibling and
encamped beside a small gompa near the schoolhouse. It was the first permanent settlement
encountered in six days trekking.
was awoken by a movement of
I was using for a pillow. I raised my head to see the
bag disappear. Rushing out of my tent I shouted on my trekking staff ensconced in the gompa but the
thief, or thieves, had vanished. The sides of the tent had been slashed with a razor blade,
discarded on the grass, and my 'Goretex' jacket, medical kit, and the bag with all my shirts
surreptitiously removed. Fortunately Lalu, our cook, now on his fifth trek with me, was able to
lend me one that I had given him at the beginning of the trek. The thought of the further seven
days still to go without even the simplest first-aid box was disturbing.
the huddle of
with their wooden-slatted roofs the trail dropped to the
raging waters of a river before re-ascending on a steep, stone stairway to the larger village of
Shertung perched on a terraced hillside overlooking rugged mountains cleft by deep valleys.
of crimson buckwheat and yellow mustard we came to
Bharang and encamped beside the stupa ( Buddhist shrine ) at the village centre besieged by a host
of clammering, curious children intrigued by our plethora of camping and kitchen equipment.
morning the trail plunged
to a rickety
suspension bridge across a deep gorge at the confluence
of the Ankhu Khola and Laba Khola before traversing a narrow ledge along a cliff face and entering
dense forest to emerge on the flat, farmlands around the sprawling, isolated settlement of Laba.
The opposite side of the valley was savagely scarred by a recent massive landslip - possibly the
result of deforestation and poor land use techniques. At the village store I received a smart
salute from the owner - an ex-soldier from the Gurkhas.
above the village
and forest gained a nice camp-site in a small pasture
grazed by a herd of bulls - fortunately docile. That night the staff tent was overwhelmed by the
torrential rain of a fierce thunder and lightning storm but refuge was close at hand in a nearby
the morning we resumed the
dense jungle. Lalu had been on the route before but had
difficulty in following the faint, little-used trail through the featureless forest and several
times we had to backtrack. At one point Nima, our "kitchenboy", on his third trek with me, slipped
on the jumbled, slimy tree-roots and fell dropping his doko with an almighty crash but no damage
was not until early
afternoon that we
reached the old moss-covered chorten and mani-stones
marking the top of the Monje Bhanjyang - the gateway to the Buri Gandaki Valley.
the pass we dropped
slippery paths, at times near-vertical mud shutes, before
finally emerging from the extensive jungle to spy the silver ribbon of the Buri Gandaki confined
in its narrow valley far below. On the horizon loomed the white cone of the Baudha Peak and the
serrated summits of the Manaslu Himal. We encamped near a cluster of wickerwork huts on narrow
terraced fields still high on the hillside above the valley floor.
morning we continued
the valley side, descending steadily through
increasingly cultivated countryside and small villages of mud-walled, thatch-roofed houses. To
the north the head of the valley was dominated by the twin summits of the 7000metre massif of the
the riverside a broad
downstream to the major town of Arughat Bazaar with its
wide, flag-stoned streets, three-storied, tin-roofed, shop-houses and local hydro-electric scheme.
Beyond Arughat our route followed the busy trade route along the Muldi Khola, crisscrossing from
bank to bank through rice paddies and small gorges with long strings of heavily laden porters
carrying gargantuan loads from the roadhead at Gorkha.
the small hill village of
the head of the Muldi Khola, a final roller-coaster of
a day over the now almost continuously populated hill-tops brought us to the walled temple above
Gorkha and a knee-jarring drop down an interminable, stone stairway to the hustle and bustle of the
noisy, congested streets of the ancient royal capital of the Gurungs - the starting point for my
treks around the Manaslu Himal and very first one around the Annapurnas.