“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”– Mark Twain
Thus wrote Mark Twain, noted American humorist and author, exhorting all and sundry to set off for the unknown, fearless and uninhibited.
A group of six spirited female adventurers (most of them in their 40s) from Canada and France seemed to have taken his advice to heart and sought to climb Mera Peak , Nepal’s highest trekking peak in November, at the onset of chilly winter season. Explore Himalaya had the opportunity to organize the expedition for the group. After the completion of their expedition, the ladies dropped in at our office and the group leader Lou Lamontagne, spoke at length about their trip to Mera Peak and the changes she found in Nepal since her last visit in 2005.
(Expedition members (wearing scarves) with Explore Himalaya’s staff)
Though only one member (Hélène Mineau) could reach the summit, Lou said that they were all happy with the expedition.
To quote Lou – “We would have liked to do the summit but for us not doing the summit is not a disaster. We enjoyed all the aspects of the expedition.. that’s the most important thing.”
Read about their trip in Lou’s own words :
“We were six people – five Canadians(Marie Légaré, Carole CôTÉ, Hélène Mineau, Isabelle Gagnon & Lou Lamontagne) and one French (Severine Tralli). We are a group of friends and we have done a lot of mountaineering and kayaking and outdoor stuff in the past and so we knew each other. I proposed them a trip to Nepal and they said OK. So we went on internet and tried to find a good company. Actually we found your website. We have some friends in Pokhara called 3 Sisters Adventure. They are into trekking also, but they didn’t do Solu Khumbu trekking, just the Annapurna. So we checked with them. We asked if you were a good company and they said you had a good reputation and we could trust you and we went ahead.
Our trek was excellent. It met all our expectations and we are very happy with the way we were received at the airport. We are also very happy with the expedition itself, the way the staff took care of us. We really appreciated all the small little attention, you know, like bed tea and wash water. They (Explore Himalaya’s staff) just generally made sure that our safety and security was on the agenda.
In 2005 I did the Around the Annapurna Trek (21 days), and that was wonderful also. This expedition was much, much harder. Only one member from our group summitted. I had a bad bronchitis problem in Khare just before High Camp. I knew that I couldn’t summit because I was coughing very bad and I had a fever. The other five members went up to High Camp. But four of them got sick with altitude sickness and just one summitted. But that’s okay we would have liked to do the summit but for us not doing the summit is not a disaster. We enjoyed all the aspects of the expedition. So that’s the most important thing.
When I was here in 2005, it was in the middle of People’s War. We witnessed a great military presence everywhere and the Maoists used to stop us and ask for money. We could feel the political upheaval. It was pretty serious at that time and the King was almost out of a job. But now that the Civil War is over, I find more trekkers on the trail and the hotels, tea- houses and lodges doing good business. Things are back to normal.
I would like to come back and visit Dolpo region. This trip was wonderful and we were happy with everything. This was truly a wonderful trip and I am sure we will meet again.”
(Photos Courtesy : Marie Légaré & Isabelle Gagnon)
As part of its welfare scheme for trekking workers, TAAN (Trekking Agents Association of Nepal) has opened a clothing bank for trekking workers in Lukla, Solukhumbu. The clothing bank has 1,000 pairs of high-quality jackets, trousers and shoes. The workers can borrow clothing or shoes for a certain time by depositing a nominal fee. A seven-member management committee comprising of two leaders (central and local) each from three tourism workers unions – Union of Travel, Trekking, Rafting and Airlines Workers, All Nepal Tourism Workers’ Union and Nepal Tourism Workers Association – and representative of TAAN will operate the bank. Trekking workers have hailed this move, asserting that now they can go about their work without having to worry about the cold.
Porters taking a breather on the busy Everest Trail
Plans are underway to open such banks in the trekking regions of Langtang and Annapurna too.
Fishtail Air’s AS350B3 ‘Equiriel’ helicopter flew some French clients to the snowy slopes of Annapurna for some exciting skiing adventure.
In Heli-skiing instead of ski-lifts or hiking , skiers use a helicopter to access an off-trail for downhill skiing. Instead of lugging heavy ski gear and hiking up the rough terrain, skiiers can now access the snowy Himalayan slopes via a helicopter. The Himalayan mountains in Nepal offer some of the best terrain, snow and ski conditions, with the added bonus of a spectacular scenary.
Posted below are some pictures taken during the heli-skiing adventure in the Annapurna on April 2010.
As tourists seem to give this village a miss due to lack of lodges and eateries,the villagers of Dhital in Kaski District, Annapurna region have taken it upon themselves to introduce ‘home-stay’ packages.The village of Dhital offers beautiful mountain scenery and mesmerizing views of snowy peaks.Around 200 houses are offering home stay facilities to tourists.The villagers are hopeful that the introduction of home-stays would encourage tourism in their village thus improving their economic status.
Nepal is planning to air connect Pokhara with Indian cities to attract more visitors. Plans are underway to start linking Lucknow with Pokhara from the first week of March. Buddha Air is planning the first international flight from Pokhara, the second most popular destination in the country after Kathmandu Valley.
Under its upcoming ‘Nepal Tourism Year 2011‘ project, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has envisioned promotion of Pokhara, a picturesque city 200 km west of Kathmandu, as a hot destination for tourism in adventure, pilgrimage and air-sports.
Pokhara is the ultimate destination for aerial adventures hosting Paragliding, Ultra-light aircraft, and future possibility of Skydiving. Pokhara has great potential to become an adventure tourism hotspot, as major trekking routes including Annapurna Circuit and Muktinath start from here. Besides Seti and Kali Gandaki rivers are popular for rafting and kayaking.
Hotspots in Pokhara such as lakeside, caves, Devi’s Fall, International Mountain Museum, and World Peace Pagoda also are also popular among travelers. Every year, Pokhara attracts over 1,25,000 tourists with maximum arrivals from the UK, Japan, China and India.
Our popular adventures in Pokhara & beyond include –