Sunday, February 22, 2009

14-17 February – World’s Deepest Gorge, Nepal

We wanted to get closer to the mountains and explore the Annapurna region by car. But we did not know how far we could drive. Large parts of Nepal are only accessible by foot, and we did not want to trek for three weeks along the Annapurna Circuit in the mountains with the kids. Lucky us, the trekking path to Jomsom was broadened to a cow path last year, and we could actually bump along that track in low gear until our thirst for mountains was quenched.
We crawled and bounced through what is called the deepest gorge in the world – Kali Gandaki. To the west was Dhaulagiri (8167m), looking like a dragon’s back, with glaciers rolling down into the valley. To the east were the Annapurna mountains, dominated by Annapurna I (8091m). We were driving at 1200-2500m altitude, straining our necks while looking up at all these amazing mountains.
The valleys are surprisingly fertile. The villagers grow citrus fruits, bananas, wheat and vegetables up to a very high altitude.
We turned around just south of Jomsom. We had reached the best viewing spots and were now at 2600 meters above sea level. We wanted to descend to lower altitude to avoid sub-zero temperatures in the tent at night. The next day we dipped our feet in the thermal hot springs in Tatopani before continuing south towards Pokhara.
We washed the car in the river next to our camp site outside Pokhara. The next morning we woke up and saw that we had a flat tyre – our first on this trip. All our tyres are really worn out and we had planned to buy new ones in Kathmandu. The kids helped to change to a spare tyre and they found the whole exercise very exciting!

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