Trekking to Mardi Himal Base Camp from Pokhara
The Mardi Himal Basecamp trek winds through lush forrest, fragrant with rhododendrons. There are plenty of opportunities to gaze at the mountains from windows between the trees. Each day, the mountains grow closer and closer, but they’re always visible. By the time you’re right below them, it feels like greeting an old friend.
After a 12 hour flight from Philadelphia to Doha, Quatar, a 12 hour layover in the Doha airport, a 5 hour flight from Doha to Kathmandu, Nepal, and a 45 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Nepal, it felt good to arrive at the Sacred Valley Inn in Pokhara.
Through the hotel, we booked a trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp, hiring a guide and 3 porters for the journey. We store some of our suitcases at the Sacred Valley Inn during out trek, so we only need to bring what we need for our trek.
(check out this other post about what you should know before trekking in Nepal).
Day 1: Car Ride to Kande & Hike to Pitam-Deurali
Our van drops us off at the end of a paved road, high in what, to me, is a mountain, but to the Nepalese is a hill. The very start of the trail has stone steps climbing through villages. We see a bit of the forrest, but our guide, Krishna, informs us that we’ll enter the most beautiful parts of the woods on day 2. The marigolds in Nepal are absolutely stunning. Wild ones line the trail throughout the first day of our trek.
We stop at Australian Camp for lunch, which is my first time having dal bhat, a traditional Nepalese dish. It consists of rice, sautéed greens, curry, pickled veggies, bread, and something that I can only describe as a cracker. I eat mine with a fork. however, at the end of the trek, I notice how the Nepalese eat it. They mix it all together and use their hands to eat. I wish I would have noticed this earlier, I would have eaten it that way from the start!
At the tea house where we eat lunch, I get the chance to do something I saw local children doing the day before: swing on a swing! These swings hang from groups of trees that have been bowed together.
We spend the night at Forest Camp, which has a large stone patio. It’s here that we meet our friend, Sesame the dog, who will end up being a faithful companion during our trip.
In November, the weather in Nepal is warm and sunny, but the higher you go up, the colder it gets. At around 4 PM, chilly winds set in on the mountains.
Day 2: Trek from Nice View Hotel in Pitam Deurali to Low Camp
When we wake up, we see a spectacular sunrise. We have a breakfast of eggs, porridge, potatoes, bread, and masala tea before hitting the trail.
The next portion of our trek takes us through a surprisingly lush forrest. Moss drips from the branches, and huge rhododendron trees line the path. Streams flow around us, occasionally crossing underneath the trail.
We take plenty of breaks but keep trekking on at a steady pace. As the sun rises, so do the temperatures.
At night, we arrive at Kokar Forest Camp, which features a large, lush meadow where we sit and rest up until the sun sets. There are also chickens running freely among large cannabis plants growing wildly. It is here that we once again run into Sesame. The owners of the teahouse feed him some prized scraps: a water-buffalo head (I spared you the photo in case you’re squeamish).