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Trekking Nepal – Tolka to Dhampus to Pokara – Day 7 & 8

Local carrying leaves for livestock.

Local carrying leaves for livestock.

You know how sometimes you’re having such a good time you don’t ever want an experience to end?

Well, this is not one of those times.

I am so relieved to find out that this is the last day I have to trek.  Once we arrive in Dhampus, I have the option of taking a jeep back to the city of Pokhara.  Thanks.  I’ll take it.

The walk from Tolka to Dhampus is relatively short and surprisingly (fantastically) flat.  We pass locals who appear as walking bushes, carrying huge loads of leaves to deliver to their livestock.  Another day of good weather provides more spectacular views of snow-peaked mountains.

In a few hours we arrive in the tiny village of Dhampus.  I watch men and women cut stone by hand with chisels and mallets to construct a new building.  They sit in the same uncomfortable position for hours pounding away.  Donkeys stand in the middle of the only dirt road through town.  Chickens wander.  Wheat grows in terraced gardens.  Women lead buffaloes to new pastures.  At dusk, children in soiled clothes play cricket in the roadway.

The guesthouse is only a few years old, but like all things I’ve seen in Nepal, it shows signs of aging far beyond it’s years.  Black mold adds a special touch to the bedroom decor.

I am ready to go.

The next day, Kaji secures a space in a jeep that will take us to Pokhara.  This jeep, with seating for six including the driver, picks up seventeen people – eight in the front and nine in the back.  A stranger is nearly sitting on my lap, but I am lucky to have a seat at all.  As we wind down the mountain, I pray for the brakes to hold out.

Arriving in Pokhara is a bit of a shock – back to the hustle and bustle.  Although Pokhara delivers “Sensory Overload Lite” as compared to Kathmandu.

In Pokhara, I have secured a room for $20 US/night, an exorbitant price for Nepal.  This is the price to be paid for hot water, intermittent electricity, wifi, and a balcony.

Kaji is grateful for his own room and a hot water shower, a luxury he only enjoys when it’s provided by his clients.  His own apartment lacks plumbing and when water is available (five floors down), it must be carried to his room and it is never hot or clean.

I unlace my hiking boots, the same ones that have faithfully carried me through the Camino de Santiago, the Jeju Olle Trail, the shores of New Zealand, and now trekking in Nepal.  Ahhhh, sweet relief.

Someday, perhaps I’ll look back on this experience and be proud and happy that I spent a week trekking in Nepal.  But that time is not now.  I am, however, grateful for Kaji’s guidance and patience, for my health that did indeed carry me through, and for the opportunity.

But now, I am just thankful that I never, ever, ever have to trek in Nepal again.

Did I get myself in over my head?  Yes completely.  Did I learn my lesson?  Probably not.

Photos of the Trek from Tolka to Dhampus and of Pokhara, Nepal:

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