The journey to Poon Hill kick-started as we boarded a private vehicle for an overnight drive of 7 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara after our afternoon flight on Yeti Airlines was cancelled. We reached the beautiful lake city between 1:00 - 2:00am.
Early the next day the expeditionary group consisting of MM (hike leader), Jen, Hollis, Cristina, JDH, 2 guides & 4 porters drove to Nayapul, the starting point of the trek which was organized by Nepal Trailblazer Trekking, a premier adventure company based in Kathmandu. After an hour and a half drive we were off on our journey of a lot of uphill climbing until we reached Tikhedhungga at an altitude of 5,000 feet where we spent the night.
On the third day we moved from Tikhedhungga towards Ghorepani, an elevation gain of 4,100 feet in one day! Ghore = horse -&- pani = water is at an elevation of 9,100 feet. After hiking for three and a half hours we reached Banthanti where the trail changed to thick alpine forests with little streams flowing along the trail and it was pure bliss.
Ghorepani is at the base of Poon Hill. From there you can see many uniformly built blue tin-roofed lodges, and the impressive Mt. Dhaulagiri in the moon light is an incredible sight.
On the fourth day, early at 4:30am, we were climbing steep stone steps towards Poon Hill (3,210 m = 10,530'). It took an hour to reach the top of the hill. As we battled the bitter cold to reach the top amidst the dark sky we could make out the silhouette of mountains. And as the first rays of the morning light broke through the darkness the mountains became visible.
The magnificent range of the Himalayas from Poon Hill is a sight to behold! With Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Nilgiri, Himchuli, Annapurna South, Machapuchere, Fishtail, and many more -- the vista was a gorgeous spectacle!
After about an hour and a half we started descending back to Ghorepani. After breakfast on the morning of November 20 Michael Martin & Jen parted company with Hollis, Cristina, and JDH and trekked to Tatopani so as to catch a 20 minute flight to Jomsom and the Upper Mustang Region. Hollis, Cristina, & JDH hiked towards Ghandruk through Tadapani. The initial walk was uphill to Deurali which is over 9,840 feet high. Then we started hiking downhill. The night was spent at Ban Thanti.
On the fifth day we reached Ghandruk (6,230'). Ghandruk offers a closer view of Annapurna South and Machapuchure. From watching the mountains from this vantage point we could understand why it is called Mt. Fishtail since it looks exactly like the tail end of a fish.
The sixth day was the last day of the trek. After a few hours walk we reached Birethanti where we lodged overnight at a hotel on the bank of the Modi Khola River. The soothing sound of the water cascading down the river led to a goodnight's sleep.
In the morning we drove to Nayapul and onward back to Pokhara. After spending the night in Pokhara, where we had a splendid dinner lakeside, we drove 5 hours to Chitwan National Park the following day. Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984.
We spent two days in Chitwan where we went on safaris via jeep and on the back of an elephant in an elephant convoy. We saw rhinos, wild pigs, monkeys, two species of deer, and migrating birds. We also took a canoe trip down a cayman infested river; the reinforced hollowed out log which served as our 10 person canoe sat very low in the water!
On the last two days of our adventure Hollis, Cristina, and I became bona fide tourists exploring Kathmandu with tour book in hand. BTW, we also took an aerial sightseeing tour of the Himalayan Range which includes Mt. Everest. This time Yeti Airlines did not disappoint us and the weather was perfect. What a sight to behold!!
I now understand why MM has made 3 trips there so far and why he plans to return one day. Hollis wants to return to trek Upper Mustang in May during the festival, or maybe during the summer. Who knows, I may join her :-)
Thanks for your trip report, Jose! I'm glad you had a good adventure!