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The Mesmerizing Trek to Poon Hill -The Best Trekking in Nepal

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“Wake me up when September ends and I will have best days of my life”.

This statement holds true for me. October 2014 brought new adventure in my life when I accomplished a breathtaking trek to Poon Hill, over 3200 meters in altitude, near Ghorepani village of Myagdi district, Nepal. It presents scenery of over fifteen majestic Himalayan ranges.

At the start of October, two other friends and I planned to do something adventurous. We decided to go trekking, and contemplated a few options before eventually deciding to go on the Ghorepani and Poon Hill trek via Ghandruk. Ghandruk is known for its typical ethnic community village and is also the base station for Annapurna Base Camp trekking.

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We gathered at Pokhara (above) on the first day, the place where you begin many trekking routes, including the Annapurna Base Camp trek. This city is known for its diversified beauty, its lakes, paragliding, Devil’s Falls (water gorges), and its stunning view of mountain ranges.

The next day, early in the morning, we took the bus up from Pokhara and reached the base of Ghandruk, after approximately a three hour drive. Half of the road was black topped, while half was gravel, but the journey was joyful because I was in the company of good friends.

What else do you need when you have the best of your friends in the long journey beside you? I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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At the bus stop, typical Nepalese hotels were there to welcome us. We had a delicious Nepali lunch (dhal-bhat, tarkati ‘rice, cereal and vegetable’) at the hotel picture above. After lunch, we started our trek up towards Ghandruk.

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We were surrounded by rice fields on either side of the trail and beautiful landscapes.

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Donkeys are used by local people as a means of transport, which was new to me. I could see numbers of donkeys carrying goods, food stuffs and even LPG cylinders on the hills to and fro between Ghandruk and the market. We saw the ethnic communities Gurung and Tamang. I was overwhelmed to see the amazing culture of the local ethnic community Ghandruk and their hospitality. This village is gifted with peculiar weather and landscapes that can attract and hypnotize anyone. It was close to full moon day and I could see the moon kissing those white snowy mountain ranges at night. The stars were so clear and twinkling, I just wished I could hold onto this moment for a lifetime.

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This would be the perfect place for friends and couples to spend days so close to nature, sitting on the lap of mountain. I could see Annapurna (above) to the south and Mt. Fishtail clean and clear from our hotel. Outside my hotel room, resting on a chair, the cold breeze caressed my skin, spreading magic through me. I felt deep mental peace, and went to sleep completely satisfied.

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On third day, we started our trek to Ghorepani, our final destination, at 8 in the morning. Through dense forests of pine oak, rhododendron and many other plants we walked surrounded by greenery. The magical sounds of springs (like the one above) along the route magnified the beauty in our travel. Murmurs of birds in the forests and sounds of insects made us feel that we were travelling in the middle of forest. The trail is well maintained, with directions provided at the junctions. There are also hotels every few hours where you can rest, have some lunch, enjoy a hot drink or simply chat with friends. It seemed to me that every other traveler was really enjoying his or her trip.

After four and half hours of continuous uphill walking in the middle of the forest, we reached Banthanti where we stopped for lunch at a hotel. It may have simply been due to the cold weather and purity of water, or the fact that we were really hungry, but lunch was appetizing and delicious.

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After eating and resting, we resumed our walk. On both sides of the trail we could see fallen trees’ logs, lichen on the log and different species of plants. Once we reached flatter landscapes (above) we were greeted by herds of sheep grazing on the open field. This was actually my first experience seeing sheep grazing on steep hills in large numbers. I could also see Ghorepani from that point of hill. My happiness could not have been greater after seeing Poon Hill tower and houses at Ghorepani. After walking for more than 6 hours on that day, I was exhausted. After a further one and a half hours’s descent, we reached majestic Ghorepani.

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As soon as we found a hotel, I threw my bags inside the room and ran outside to take pictures. I needed to capture these mountain ranges and landscapes (pictured above). As it was dusk, the mountain was looking even more beautiful, with golden lights striking snow peaks of Himalayan ranges.

From our hotel room we had a spectacular view of the mountain ranges. In the evening, the moon and mountain together looked so beautiful and magical. The moon was spreading its light onto the mountain, which shone like silver.

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Our alarm clock went off at 3 o’clock the next morning, and we gathered together with other tourists outside our hotel, on our way to experience dawn over Poon Hill. There were hundreds of tourists marching in the same destination. I could not imagine that Poon Hill could hold that number of tourists, yet when we reached the top of Poon Hill, I was even more shocked to find another 700 or so tourists there.

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Dawn arrived from the east just a few minutes after we reached Poon Hill. Wow. As the sun rose, it created a golden lining in the sky over clouds. The first sunshine kissed the beautiful Dhaulagiri range, Annapurna, Mt. Fishtail and then the other ranges.

What a magical place Poon Hill is. I lack the appropriate words to explain the beauty of this magical place. If you make it there, you will definitely fall in love with this place.

I wanted to capture every moment, from the sunshine to the gold form of the mountain. My eyes felt refreshed, unforgettable memories were forming and my heart felt as pure as nature. My friends and I just jumped for joy, unable to stop expressing our happiness.

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After spending a couple of hours at Poon Hill, we descended back to our hotel and packed our bags, ready to continue our journey. It was quite an easy trail as most of the time we were descending from Ghorepani. The high steep hill of Ulleri is the most difficult part of the trek, but as we were going downwards, it felt relatively easy. We passed a few tourists who were climbing that steep hill, and felt grateful we’d taken the opposite route. This steep hill was main reason we chose the route that we followed. We again passed through dense forests and enjoyed listening to the sounds of waterfalls and springs.

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Upon reaching the base of Ulleri (pictured above), we got in a jeep that took us to Nayapul and then to Pokhara. Although I was suffering a bit from a pain in my knee from all of that walking, I was happy to have completed a challenging dream of mine. I felt relief and joy once I reached to Pokhara. Five days trekking had given me life lessons, happiness and joy and beautiful memories that I will treasure forever.

The nature of my homeland Nepal continues to inspire me, and there are so many places to visit. Most importantly, this part of Nepal (trekking route) has not been affected by the earthquakes that took place on 25th April 2015 and 12th May 2015, and it’s therefore safe for tourists.

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MEET THE LOCAL: ANIL CHAUDHARY

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