Nepal Part 3- Thoughts on the Poon Hill Trek

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

For all Nepal posts so far, see here!

After volunteering in the village, we traveled back to Kathmandu for a day before jetting off again for our trekking journey. We were to do the Poon Hill trek and were told it was going to quite 'leisurely', nothing hardcore, perhaps a few hours a day of work complete with beautiful scenery. Plus we were going to pay porters to carry our backpacks for us, easy peasy! All I can say now is HAH! Leisurely walk my a$$! Lydia later confessed that she watered it down a little in her description otherwise no one would agree to go :P. She's a smart one.

Before we left Perth, we each had to prove we had to do 5 rounds of Jacob's ladder at Kings Park (1 round is up and down)- that's 2420 steps altogether. I practically died every time I went which should have been an indicator of the pain I was going to feel at Poon Hill.

But let's backtrack for a bit. Look at my pretty henna tattoo I got in Kathmandu! A sweet girl said she would do it for free because I was 'pretty' and then as she continued drawing she started asking for payment. That's how they trick you- so be forewarned. I did pay her though because well... I felt bad. I'm an easy target I know.

At the airport waiting for our flight to Pokhara.

There are so many ways to use a headband!...Bored much?

This was our 'private jet' as I like to call it. Our team were the only passengers on the plane and there was 1 flight attendant. There were only 8 windows overall- it was ridiculously tiny and that meant you felt every jostle and bump tenfold. I'm not gonna lie, my palms were sweating the entire time and I was so glad to be off that plane!

And then we started trekking! The first day was the easiest by far and I started off in quite good spirits because the scenery was so beautiful.
We hired a group of porters to carry our backpacks for us which sounds like it defeats the purpose of trekking. But seriously, these guys were lifesavers. If we did not have them I would probably still be stuck on Poon Hill wallowing in agony and donkey poo. Long story short, most of us would not have been able to do it without their help. Only Yanto and Si Pho managed to carry their own packs the whole way. 

So much credit to our porters- some of them carried 3 of our packs at once! It must be a wonderful job for your health, being paid to exercise all day.
So many wonderfully rickety bridges to cross!

6 hours of trekking uphill later, we were all fairly stuffed and stayed at a tea house overnight. On the way we picked up a friend, a big shaggy stray whom we affectionately named 'Baby'. He followed our group all the way up to the top of Poon Hill and refused to follow other trekkers!

I went to the toilet in the night and when I came back I found Baby sleeping in our room. I let him stay :).

Day 2 was the worst because the stairs started. I will never look at stairs the same way again. We climbed over 3300 stone stairs in one day, which is quite ambitious according to the locals- apparently most people split it into 2-3 days! And let me tell you, these stairs are nothing like normal stairs. They are uneven, some extremely steep, unsteady, covered in donkey poo and in some areas slippery from streams coming down the hill. Not to mention I was sore from the previous day...
The scenery was wasted on me because my head was down staring at the stairs the whole time trying to avoid donkey poo or falling over on a slippery rock.
Cloud alert!

By tea time I was in absolute agony. I trekked in absolute silence because of the pain- I actually had blisters in all the usual places as well as underneath my toenails (!!!!!) although I didn't know at the time. I just kept trudging.

There was another incident that dampened my spirits immensely. There was another Australian tourist there who was well... A douchebag. My dougebag sensing skills are very sensitive these days. Anyway as we were resting, he started tapping his poor little porter (carrying two of his packs!) with his trekking stick saying 'Go donkey, go!' as he pushed him with his other hand up the hill.

My blood was boiling for the rest of the day. I honestly don't care if it was a joke. You don't treat people like that. Ever.  In Japan I also had some angry moments involving rude Australian tourists. Obviously not all Aussies are horrible, they are mostly nice, but I'm not surprised at all when I hear reports of other countries hating Australian tourists.

Then the stony setting changed to a rainforest! Probably the prettiest area to be in whilst dying from pain.
Look closely at his face. That's pure, undisguised pain right there!
 

A billion steps later we were barely able to move, Yanto being a lot worse off because he was wearing a pack. Each step was a mental challenge and we snailed up them so slowly. We got super excited when we saw this archway- it seemed like a sort of finish line! Then we passed it and the town was dead. There was still a fair way to go. I don't know how my legs managed it, but I made it.

I'm super glad and proud that I did it, but seriously. I am never going trekking again.

But I can always console myself with the view from our tea house! Level with the clouds yo.


Look at how clearly you can see the mountains! Surreal. Absolutely breathtaking.

This was taken the morning after. No way Yanto could have jumped after that 8 hour trek!

Day 3- All photos courtesy of Yanto because I thought I was sick. What really happened was that the blankets were too warm (never encountered that in Nepal) and I was sweating like mad so I was convinced I caught a fever! I really regret not getting up at 5am to watch the sunrise which is what everyone else did. Enjoy the photos. 

Apparently it was so cold, snot was freezing halfway down noses!


This says 'Yanto & Kine'

I won't even talk about going down the hill that day. There were tears, let's just leave it at that :P.

All in all trekking simply isn't my thing. I don't mind roughing it: not having hot showers, sleeping on the floor etc. But this level of physical exertion was just too extreme for me. 

Kine

8 comments:

  1. Amazing pics, seems like you had a wonderful time. I have never been to Nepal but would love to one day! I recently went on a trip too but it was a coastal caravan road trip... barely as physically taxing as your trip! MakeMeUpMandy

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    1. Hi Mandy! It certainly was an experience of a lifetime, volunteering then trekking :). A coastal caravan trip sounds lovely and relaxing, I would love to do one one day! Off to stalk your blog now ;)

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  2. Oh my god you are amazing for pulling all that off. I couldn't even do 500 stairs >...> how did you do so much?! And didn't your feet hurt so much coming down still? :( Oh I hope you got good relaxation after. And I don't know the word ummm "porter?" but you mean that was a person carrying that guys bags? How incredibly rude! I would push him off the mountain :@

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    1. Haha I am quite proud of myself too! I just told myself that I had to keep up with the team otherwise I would literally get left behind on the mountain :P. Coming down was actually more painful because you use different muscles and all the stress is put on your knees :(. Some of us got massages after which was lovely!

      And yes, porters carry your bags for you. I wanted to push him off the mountain too, grrrr.

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  3. Oh man! What an adventure! The sights mustve been absolutely beautiful. It wouldve been great if you guys came across a waterfall.

    Baby looks gorgeous ^^ My mum always warns me about patting stray dogs in third world countries....but I always give them a good rub when shes not looking haha.

    Did Yanto really jump that high?! I am quite impressed as it looks as if it may have been photoshopped. xD

    But sounds like a really good experience! Would love to try something like this out sometime ^^ Thanks for sharing

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    1. The scenery was breathtaking, and we actually did pass a few waterfalls! I was just too pooped to take photos of them. I can't believe we were level with the clouds! Baby was the sweetest dog ever, I couldn't not pat him- I just love dogs so I always take the risk :P You should definitely go on a trip like this, it really is life changing. I already have another volunteer trip to India lined up for December, fingers crossed it goes through...

      Haha my photoshop skills are not that good! Yanto jumped off the top of the railing behind him! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post ^^

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    2. HNGHHH! Super jealous :(
      Actually, would you be able to advise on the best way to look into volunteer trips - it's definitely something I would love to do, but I don't even know where to begin @_@

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    3. Nhi, of course! The Nepal trip was organised through Yanto's church. Churches are a great way to get into volunteering, many larger churches organise several trips throughout the year and you don't have to be religious to go (I'm not)! So ask around to any friends that belong to churches and they can keep you informed. Another way is through Uni- keep an ear out for volunteer posters around campus and go along to their info sessions. If none of these work out I'm sure a simple "perth overseas volunteer" will come up with loads of trips!

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