Whenever we dreamt about traveling to and around Nepal we never even considered trekking, simply writing it off because we had kids and who goes trekking with kids? Well, apparently lots of people do, as I later discovered whilst perusing Pinterest.
As soon as I realized it was possible to trek with children I knew we had to make it happen, and we did.
After much research, emails sent and googling we settled on the trekking company Adventure Treks Nepal as well as the route; the Ghorepani/Poonhill Trek which is typically a 4 night/5 day trek but we opted to do it in 5 nights/6 days giving us a little break halfway through.
Honestly I feel a little overwhelmed writing about this part of our Nepal trip because it was everything I expected it would be and also nothing like I expected it to be!
For starters we absolutely loved everything about Adventure Treks Nepal; the price was right, the service was second to none, they answered my many, many questions, they provided us with not 1 but 3 porters (2 to carry luggage, 1 to carry Clio!) as well as a guide, we met with the director 2 times before the trek and the guide twice also. I could actually write a whole blog post just on Adventure Treks Nepal and how much we loved them.
For now lets get on to the trekking…
Day 1 Nayapul – Banthanti
The morning of our trek we were collected from our hotel in Pokhara by our guide and 3 porters and driven 1.5 hours to Nayapul (1,070m) where we were meant to start our trek however part way through the driver informed our guide that he was going to be collecting another party from Hile so if we wanted we could drive further. We decided that this was the best option cutting our trekking time down from 5-6 hours to only 3-4.
From Hile (1,475m) we climbed a gazillion stairs to Ulleri (1,960m) where we stopped at our first teahouse for lunch. The teahouses, which are often painted in bright colors, have quite extensive menus which surprised me, especially considering that the only way to get supplies to these mountain villages is by carrying them or using donkeys or horses.
After Ulleri we climbed another gazillion stairs to Banthanti (2,245m) which was our final destination for the day. I am not joking at all, we trekked for around 4 hours, gained 770 meters in elevation and it was all pretty much steps. It really sucked BUT the views were amazing, the teahouses fantastic, the people (both our guides/porters and locals) were incredible.
We were lucky we got to Bathanti when we did because a storm rolled in bringing lots of rain and even thunder and lightning. The power went out and we ate our dinner by candlelight surrounding the fire with everyone else.
Day 2 Banthanti – Ghorepani
The next morning we woke to beautiful clear skies and ate our breakfast on the table outside overlooking the valley. Another wow moment!
And then we climbed more stairs. Seriously, they sucked I can’t even express how sucky those stairs were but along the way we saw some beautiful sites, donkeys and horses which somewhat made up for those dang stairs.It took us 3-4 hours to get to Ghorepani (2,810m) which was our destination for the next 2 nights! The teahouse we stayed in here was much larger than that of the night before but it was really neat, we got an amazing room which had 2 walls of windows giving us breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range. The communal area was large and had another great fire, and the food was some of the best we had on this trip. Also, a total unnecessary surprise, they had wifi!
Elevation gain for day 2, 565 meters.Day 3 Poonhill
This was our only super early start; I think we departed for Poonhill (3,210m) around 4.45am and guess what…more stairs! By this point I was over the stairs situation.
Unfortunately there was a lot of cloud so we didn’t get to witness a beautiful sunrise from the top of Poonhill, it was also really cold but still worth the early morning start.
Most people would head back down to Ghorepani have breakfast and then continue on their way. We contemplated doing this but with the weather not looking great, the kids, early morning start etc we used this as a rest day. Although I am not sure if I would call a 4.45am start, 400 meter elevation gain and a whole bunch of steps a rest day!
Day 4 Ghorepani – Chule
When I think about our trek this is the day that always comes to mind; it snowed, it rained, there was sun, we walked through snow and mud and a rhododendron jungle, it was long (5-6 hours), it was rough but we had so many laughs. Eden did AMAZING.
Unfortunately there were more stairs. I remember our guide saying “don’t worry there are no more stairs” and I turned to where we were heading and could only laugh because otherwise I would have cried, as I saw there were in fact more stairs! Granted not many, but still there were more stairs!
We were originally set to stop on Tadapani but since we were making good time we decided to continue on to Chule, which has a bright pink teahouse and more gorgeous views and the best part a really warm fire which was a blessing as by this point all our clothes were drenched.
It was a whole lot of up and down and for all that walking we only decreased elevation by 170 meters. Day 5 Chule – Ghandruk
Poor Eden woke up with a slight fever, despite that she pushed on through and it wasn’t until we were about 30 minutes out that a porter decided to give her a shoulder ride as we could all tell she was going down hill quickly and when we arrived she skipped lunch and spent the day in bed.
Ghandruk (1,945m) is a really nice wee village and our teahouse really neat too and again surprisingly had wifi! Unfortunately no fire here, of course it wasn’t as cold as other places we had been at having come down in elevation by 695 meters.
Being our last night we enjoyed a delicious meal with our guide and porters as well as some beverages, it was quite sad knowing that we were almost at the end of our trek.
Day 6 Ghandruk – Nayapul
Another long day but with it mostly downhill the 5 hours didn’t seem too long and by lunchtime we were at Nayapul where we chilled out at a restaurant with the porters and guide sharing one last meal together before a driver came to pick us up and drive us the 1.5 hours back to Pokhara.
To tell you the truth, no stories or photos will do Nepal or trekking, Adventure Treks Nepal, the teahouses or the many people you met along the way any justice. I think you really just need to experience it for yourself and its something we absolutely plan on doing again.