Nepal Expedition 2016
“Nemeste”

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White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 0 (2nd and 3rd April)

 

Our journey out went like clockwork with 6 of the group flying from Heathrow to Deli (Jet Air) and then on to Kathmandu and 3 taking Qatar Air flights from Birmingham to Dubai and then on to Kathmandu.  Graham, Joe and James had arrived first and were eventually met by their Paddle Nepal arranged taxi to be taken to the Hotel (Sacred Valley Hotel).  They spent the rest of the day getting their bearings and discovering the many shops of Thamel District.

 

Kathmandu city travel guidebookThamel is a commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Thamel has been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel. Even though Thamel has been referred to as a "ghetto" by some, many low-budget travellers consider it a hotspot for tourism.

Thamel is distinguished by its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors. Commonly sold goods include food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolens, clothes. Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels and restaurants also line the streets. Cars, cycles rickshaws, two-wheelers and taxis ply these narrow streets alongside hundreds of pedestrians.

There are many restaurants in Thamel that serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas. Thamel also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers. It boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, pubs, clubs, and nightlife along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses. Thamel is home to a wide range of the Nepalese population, and serves both entertainment and employment purposes.

 

 Thamel is a popular tourist district within the capital city of Kathmandu. It's comprised of 5-7 main streets and many more smaller ones that criss cross the area.  Thamel can be difficult to understand when you first arrive. There are no street names. It's best thought of as a mass of unorganized streetTs. There's no real boundary to Thamel as such. But, knowing its centre is a good way not to get lost.

 

Main road in Thamel, Kathmandu

 

Later at our hotel we were treated to an evening meal of Dal Bhat with numerous extra special dishes at the roof top restaurant with several extra large bottles of beer.  The drinks bill turn out to be me more than the meal and we later found beer was about £5 per bottle in Nepal.  More Photos…..

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 1 Trishuli (4th April)

 

We were up early at 6:00am for breakfast – Scrambled egg, ham and toast.  Our Toyota Hiace van arrived to take us through the streets of Kathmandu and on to the Trishuli River at Charaudi.  The road climbs out of the flat bowl of the Kathmandu valley and as we descend down into the Trishuli valley we meet the first of several traffic jams, the first caused by a small accident but the second by a lorry stopped on a bend with its gear box being removed by the driver.  At Charaudi we transfer all our gear onto the Paddle Nepal bus which we will adopt for the remainder of our trip.

 

 

Map of Tishuli River

Our three river guides tying the boats on top of our Paddle Nepal bus which we get to keep for the 2 weeks.

 

 

We all gear up and pad out our boats ready to get on the water.  6 Pipes is off down the first rapid leaving 3 still sorting their boats.  The river is wide – at least 40 metres and the current pours over obstructions in the bed creating many small waves and rapids.  The best rapids are caused when the river is funnelled through narrows when the Trishuli enters small gorges.

 

The first significant rapid we reach is “Ladies delight” around grade 3+ where we try to surf and bounce over the big water.  After about 3 km in the gorge we meet the first of two larger rapids, the first being Gloria.  This is enormous compared to water in the UK with massive wave trains but is relatively straight forward.  One of our guides, Biraj Grg (Biraz), breaks out into an eddie on river left followed by several of the group.  We paddle back up the eddie to try and cross and drop into the face of the first wave which is over head height.  Some reach over the crest with their paddle and get swept downstream while a few are able to be shot down its face and bounce seemingly out of control before shooting out the other side.

 

The second rapid is known as “upset” and regularly flips rafts.  The guide book says that it is “infamous and probably the most photographed rapid on the river.”   There is a monstrous hole and wave here and we follow Biraz in a line (or get swept by the speed of the river).  Most emerge with huge smiles across their faces.  Graham fails to roll (he is in a boat that is too small for him) and has a 3 piece! (Boat, paddle and body go in three different directions but are reunited in the eddy below.  John (the Silver Fox) is also “Balta” (Nepalese for upside down) but all cheer after his third attempt at a roll is successful. 

 

 After about another Kilometre we arrive at an alternative Rodeo Beach and meet three Nepalese playboaters.  David tries to show them what to do in his large burn but eventually gives up and joins the rest of us at our egress point for the short carry up the track to the waiting Paddle Nepal bus.  After tying on the boats and changing we enjoy a late lunch of Dal Bhat before taking the 3 hour bus ride to Polkhara and our hotel, the Coast.  Once in Polkhara we drop in to the Paddle Nepal office to hand over the UK Sterling we have been carrying to pay for everything organised by Paddle Nepal – basically everything from airport taxis, hotels and tea rooms, all transport and boat hire and raft support etc.  This has certainly been the easiest and most relaxing trip I have ever coordinated. 

 

The hotel has fantastic views out over the lake at Polkhara.  After cleaning up we head out into the town to explore and find a good restaurant.  Roy and Graham buy some curtains to wear as trousers; we have to drag Roy out of the many souvenir shops selling local “tat” and eventually look for a restaurant.  I could not persuade the others to try a local so we end up at “the Godfathers Pizzeria”.  The food is good and it has 4.5 stars on trip advisor.      More Photos…..

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 2 Kali Gandaki (5th April)  17km

The Kali Gandaki is one of the famous names of Himalayan Rivers, rising in Mustang in Tibet and flows into the new dam (2001) at the confluence with the Andhi Khola.  This is a fantastic river for non-stop play action, although there are some holes on the river that you wouldn’t want to play in. Expert paddlers would be at home on this river and enjoy and exhaust themselves playing on the waves.  Aspiring and confident intermediates would find this an enjoyable and fulfilling expedition.

 

After a 3 hour bumpy and dusty bus ride we arrived at our access point at Baglung.  From here there was about 2km of fast flowing grey water indicating the origins of the Kali Gandaki as glacial melt water.  After a little while we came across the first hard rapid of the day, Little Brother.  This should always be scouted from the bank as often the rapid changes with the seasons.  There looked to be a clear line down through with a couple of larger stoppers and a rock / hole on the right at the bottom.  We watched as Biraj Grg (Biraz), our guide paddled to show us the line.  6 Pipes did not bother with this and returned to his boat to paddle down straight after Biraz.  This was clearly a mistake as although looking very cool in his shades he eddied out and then took a completely different line falling sideways into the first stopper.  Over he went, struggled with his roll which took several attempts and by this time had been pushed over onto the right hand side.  His cool shades had been lost to the might Gandaki.  Everyone else paddled down in style and made the rapid look easy.

After a short distance we landed on the river right to scout “big brother”.  This is where the rivers main flow hammers into some massive rocks and you have to break out river left to miss an enormous hole.  This time we all learned our lesson and watched as Biraz showed us the line.  We all returned to our kayaks to paddle the rapid.  John (the silver fox) struggled to see the line and was Balta (upside down) in the middle of a massive wave train.  His roll failed him but he kept trying two, three times.  The power of the river was propelling him toward the massive hole on river right.  Fortunately he missed this by scraping down the rocks on extreme river right and was swept over the shoulder of the hole and out to safety.  He had been sucked out of his kayak by the power of the water and says that he never pulled his deck.  His kayak was swiftly emptied in the eddy and we all pointed out how lucky he had been. 

 

The group then paddled down some excellent big water that proved excellent for playing in holes and waves.  We were really enjoying the river and getting used to size of the water.  Still in a steep gorge we spotted several eagles flying high overhead.  The river mellows a little before eventually meeting the Modi Khola.  There is a very high suspension foot bridge marks this point.  The Kali Gandaki is a very holy river and often confluences are used for cremations.  We made for a small beach a few hundred metres down from the Modi Khola and set up camp with the Monkeys.

 

Our support raft was unloaded and we set up camp fairly quickly.  The skies were darkening and far in the distance we heard the rumble of thunder.  Fairly soon strong winds were blowing strongly and Kurt’s tent was being blown over.  Sand was everywhere but as darkness fell the temperatures stared to cool and winds ceased.  Fire Salgie (Roy McHale) had made a large fire from drift wood and we settled down to an excellent meal cooked by our support crew.

 

More Photos…..

 

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 3 Kali Gandaki (6th April) Modi Khola to River camp just before Puri Ghat

 

This morning we woke to a great sun rise.  Most had a great nights sleep on the sand.  Over breakfast we discussed the previous days fun and just marvelled in our surroundings.  The rafters have a very organised system for cleanliness.  Everything has to be washed to ensure that no cross contamination occurs.  Buckets of freshwater are lined up along the flow of the river.  Hands are washed using a small pouring jug with medicated soap ensuring that water is poured over your hands and not back into the clean water.  Dishes are rinsed, then washed with soap and cloth and then rinsed three times in progressively cleaner water.

 

A camp toilet was set up at the far end of the beach.   A helmet on top of a paddle signified that it was free.  There was a square of cloth around 4 rafting paddles with a pit dug in the sand.  Used toilet paper was placed in a plastic bag for later disposal.  Once used you placed a thin layer of sand placed on top to keep things clean relatively smell free.   This system worked extremely well until 3 piece (Graham) used one of the plastic bags to place his poo neatly in.  We think the talk of running the Colorado Canyon and how everything has to be packed out may have confused him a little.

 

Once the shelters and tents were all packed up and placed onto the raft we headed off down river.  The first rapid just below the campsite was aptly named “good morning rapid” and the large waves breaking over us washed those sleepy tears away.  We continued down river enjoying the size of water, mostly large grade 3 with many surf waves and wave trains.  Before long we were all swept down a large rapid called “Rafters Refund”.  Those at the front followed Beraz`s line over the double drop.  Progressively the line of 12 crept closer and closer to the shoulder of the massive hole at the bottom just before the house sized boulder.  John was the first to be stopped in the hole followed by Keith who was backward surfed and then reverse looped.  The remaining paddlers paddled hard to miss the carnage but Stuart went for the left shoulder.  As I rolled up I saw the back of his boat.  As Keith and John emerged from the hole to be swept downstream Stuart was now pinned against the large boulder holding on to a tree at about neck height.  I called for the others to try and help but realistically there was little way anyone could get to the midstream boulder from the bank.

After about 20 seconds Stuart had decided to pull his deck in case he became trapped; the boat filled with water and sank lower and he decided to let go and boat with him still in it floated free and downstream where he was reunited with his paddle.  This was a wakeup call for all.   We continued downstream, often turning back to glance at the Annapurna range or high walls. 

 

After a few more hours we came to a sandy beach and broke out the lunch.  There was another raft just along from the beach which had a small fresh water stream.  Lunch consisted of coleslaw (made in a bag which amazed Roy), bread, salad,  peanut butter and jams, biscuits and slices of melon.

 

A group of local villagers were herding their goats along the beach when there was a commotion and much shouting in Nepalese.   Tiger, tiger was the call from the other group everyone pointed their cameras towards the action.  I seems that a large cat had attacked and killed one of the goats at the back of the beach but had been frighten off but the goat herders.  The elderly lady in charge of the herd took out her smart phone and called the “Sangie” (boss).  After a few minutes he arrived and dead goat was taken from the undergrowth.   This was a significant loss for the villagers but least they had the remains of the goat.   It was most likely an attack from a leopard as we were informed that there were no tigers in Nepal.

 

We headed off downstream but soon came to a bend on the river with a large cave with many bats inside.  We paddled inside to see hundreds of the furry winged creatures hanging from the ceiling.  A little further along we came across several riverside cremations.  It is the tradition in Nepal to burn the bodies of the dead on the banks of the holy rivers, especially at confluences and showed a little respect by paddling on by quietly.

 

As we made our way downstream we took many more photographs before eventually arriving at our campsite.  This was a 3 star site, with a visiting bar.  A local entrepreneur carried his woven basket down to our camping beach and set up a stall of beer and vodka.  When he discovered that 3 of our party did not drink he took out his smart phone and rang up to valley top for James’s order of Coke and Sprite.  Within 30 minutes this was delivered onsite but John and Roy had already purchased all the bottles of beer (apparently for later!).

 

As we set up the tarps for the evening’s camp we were watched by many of the local children.  After the evening meal Roy offered the remaining bowl of pasta and garlic / cheese sauce to them which they soon polished off. Roy also gave them healthy helpings of the very hot green chilly sauce as it was clearly too hot for him as he lacked “Chilly Power!”

 

Later that evening we learned how to catch some of the hundreds of fireflies that drifted around the campsite and debated over the constellations’ above.  We had lanterns lighting up the camp which were made from clear plastic bags half filled with sand with a candle placed within.  This all added to ambience.     More Photos…..

 

 

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 4 Kali Gandaki (7th April)

 

 After a very lazy get up and a fantastic river side breakfast we packed up the raft and set off downstream.  The valley opened up a little and the  river gradually mellowed.  Numerous warm waterfalls fell from the valley sides.  Our trainee river guide swapped into a kayak for this section giving Biraz a turn in the raft.  Unseen by most he swam in the warm water after failing one of his practice rolls.  After a while we pass the remote village of Seti Beni which has yet another cremation so we drift on by.  Soon the steep cliff faces return and all of a sudden there is a rumble from the valley sides above and lots of dust.  Is it a landslide or perhaps an earthquake.  Raju provides the explanation; they are putting in a new road high on the valley side.

 

After a short while we chase bright blue kingfishers down the valley side as we enter the “dog water” which forms the lake before the dam and our get out at Andi Khola.  When paddling across the lake we found a group fishing from a traditional wooden boat – they showed us their catch – five large fish.   Where the relatively small river of Andi Khola flows into the dam was a small track leading up to the waiting bus.  We helped ferry the raft and all the gear up the steep slope, loaded the bus and had our lunch which was waiting in a small raft group shelter consisting of a corrugated iron roof over a steel frame.  Tabby our driver then negotiated the narrow bumpy roads back to our 4 star hotel in Pokhara.   More Photos…..

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 5 Upper Seti (Pokhara) (8th April)  Lhachok to Dam

So today was the river Seti Khola, a continuous grade 3 with some grade 4. The river itself is a funny colour as it is very silty and a milky colour from all the glacial rock ground up from high in the Himalaya.  It is very similar to an alpine river, ie wide, shallow and full of large house sized boulders and rocks.

The put in was easy enough at a metal bridge with a rough track leading down halfway to the river.  The river was technical, eddy hopping as we went down.

There as only two features which really needed scouting. Unfortunately we did not bother with the first one which was a small drop with a boof to the left needed to clear the stopper and large house sized boulder on river right. 

Raju had gone first as this is an ideal place to take photos.  We all made it over with different degrees of style and then came Stuart.  He was aiming too far right and dropped in rather than boofing.  He back looped skywards and was pushed against the large boulder and eventually swam out of the turmoil. He had a small cut to his lip but was soon reunited with his boat.  It made for a good photograph though.

Having learned our lesson we got out and looked at the second rapid.  This has a technical run in and snake around large rocks before emerging into a narrow gorge.

After these two rapids the run down to the get out is good grade 3 and fairly continuous.

A great day in an unbelievable country.  No rolls, no swims today for me J John (Mamma) Cooke             More Photos…..

 

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 5 Peace Pagoda (8th April)

 

Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha or simply the Buddha, was an ascetic (śramaṇa) and sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries.

6 Pipes (Joe Sheppard) after being disappointed that we could not squeeze in another river in the afternoon cam up with the idea of visiting the white domed Peace Pagoda that overlooks our hotel and Phewa Lake. We walked along the beach to the pontoons that hired wooden fishing boats.  We negotiated two boats for the 9 of us.  We had to pay for a life jacket each but proudly informed the guys that we were all kayakers so everything would be ok.  Well it wasn’t, it was clear that our open boat skills were extremely lacking.  Everyone looked on as we went round in circles, totally uncoordinated.  Somehow we made it across to the restaurant on the other side where we were to moor our craft and hand in the lifejackets and paddles for safe keeping.

The trek up to the top was gruelling to say the least, step after step, was it ever going to end?  The actual Peach Pagoda was impressive to say the least and we spent some time at the top looking around and taking photographs.  We respected the rules (shoes off and silence) but he single security guard at the top had a difficult time with several visiting Indian tourists and we observed him blow his whistle several times at some less respectful visitors.

We then headed over to the café for some cold drinks before making the climb back down which was a lot easier than the climb up.  Someone suggested that the first to get to the boats could take one and leave the other for the rest.  Some how Kac Kac Keith and Ben Gunn were left on the beach supping beer and coke while the three Gibbons were going round in circles trying to get the boat back to shore to pick up the two waiting travellers.  After some discussion of where our departure point was we finally made it back in one piece, but not before our open boating skills had taken a severe dent.

More Photos……….

POKHARA WORLD PEACE PAGODA TOURA Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa; a monument to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. World Peace Pagoda is the massive Buddhist stupa which was constructed by Buddhist monks from the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji organisation.

 

Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range and Pokhara valley with the marvellous view of Fewa lake from the top..

 

Standing on top of the Ananda hill, Shanti Stupa adds more beauty to Pokhara Valley. It is a perfect holiday place providing a clear view of the Himalayan range, Fewa Lake and Pokhara city. The hilltop provides a splendid view of sunrise and sunset. TripAdvisor has ranked Shanti Stupa as top second attraction in Pokhara. The pagoda is 7 kilometers from Mahendrapool, the major business spot in Pokhara. There are several ways to reach the peace pagoda. There are hiking trails, cycling tracks and the blacked topped road to the Stupa.

 

There are many trails for hiking. One of the popular and adventurous hiking trails is by crossing the Fewa Lake by a local boat and climb uphill through the local villages that takes about an hour to reach the hilltop. There have been cases of mugging in the hiking trails in previous years. The partial black-topped road from Chorepatan to the Stupa takes about 25 minutes, which can be reached by taxi or private cars. There is no public transports yet available to the foothill of the Stupa.

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 6 Mountain Biking (9th April)

 

Today was booked as a relaxing day off for people to do as they pleased, five of us hired mountain bikes and split into two groups.

 

Roy and David choose one route while Keith, James and John took the option of a longer but supposedly easier one. This involved riding around the lake via the Peace Pagoda (see 8th of April).  so off we went heading out of town early so as to beat the rush hour traffic and heat which is unbelievable.  We headed north east out of Pokhara and then take a small road leading up to the Peace Temple, from here the man in the shop said it was an easy pleasant ride.  By the time we got to the top it was becoming clear it was anything but easy. We pulled into the café and the first litre of water was consumed.

 

Back on the bikes; the hills were endless providing some fantastic views over the lake with impressive mountains as the back drop.  The downhill sections were superb, long, steep and winding; a mix of dirt, grass and stone.  We passed many small farms with Nepalese farmers planting the many terraces for the last of the dry summer season.  Two water buffalo were pulling a traditional wooded plough.

 

Our route took us out and around the lake passing through villages that showed us the rural Nepal in all its glory. Our turning point was a suspension bridge at the far end of the lake and as we started heading back.  We stopped at the first café for drinks.

 

Further down the road we pulled on to a grassy area where the paragliders come into land and watched as they hovered in the sky above us. By now it was way passed lunch time and we headed for a café to get some local food.  A lovely lakeside setting and some really nice food and a drink (Momo`s and special fried rice).  It was only a short hop back to town and off we went riding along what can only be described as tracks not roads.

 

Back at the shop the bikes were returned all safe and sound, eight and a half hours it had taken us, about four litres of water each and the only word to descibe the day,     BRUTAL

 

John Cooke       More Photos……


 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 6 Paragliding (9th April)

Joe and Graham went Paragliding and returned!

 

Grumpy1 and Grumpy 2

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 6 Motorbike trip (9th April)

 

Just returned from my trip around Pokhara on a 500cc Royal Enfield.  One off the bucket list (sorry Helen but the voices made me do it.) 

 

 

Stuart Toulson   More Photos……

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 7 Madi Khola (10th April) Lamarkhet to Karputar

 

We arrived at our put in after about 2 hours of travelling along very narrow and winding roads with an almost vertical drop down into the Madi Khola Valley.  The river was only recently discovered and added to the third addition of the guide book.  Several authors had described how remote and special the river was, “a real gem”.  They were not wrong.

 

Our three guides (Raju, Biraj, and Naresh), who we had now got to know very well knew it was Joe (6 pipes) Sheppard’s birthday and had got a special cake for him.  We interrupted the briefing to present it to him and slices were cut for all to enjoy.  A final pack of the boats; we all had sleeping bags, spare clothes, essentials and a couple of tarps packed into dry bags in the back of the kayaks.  They were noticeably heavier and mostly stern heavy.  We were to paddle with a small, narrow river approach, eddie hopping all the way down. 

Let the nightmare begin !

 

So today is the start of our over-night self supported trip down the Madi Khola, described in the guide book as a class four, shallow rocky river.  As we set off it was eddy hopping down one at a time meandering through large boulders and watching out for each other. The river opened out in places and then back into boulder gardens.  The holes seemed to be magnetic to me but so far I managed to escape them by rolling out.

 

As we continued down the river a lapse in concentration and some lazy paddling put me in a hole from which there was no escape.  I pulled the deck and came out the boat.  Some people thought I was standing up but this was just the power of the water holding me aloft in the foam pile.

 

Further down the river and again not paying attention I got pushed against a large rock, tipped over and while setting up for a roll, hit a rock with my shoulder. I instantly knew I had done some damage and held my shoulder to support it. After a rescue and a bit further down the river I was upside down again and rolled up in a lot of pain, this was getting serious.  The rest of the group got me down to the overnight stop but we had to paddle again tomorrow.  John Cooke   More Photos….

 

 

 

After a full day of 6 hours paddling we stopped on a small sandy beach opposite the small town of Karputar The sun was setting fast and it did not take long to set up camp.  We changed and made our way across the suspension bridge and into the old town.  This traditional Nepalese farming village was extremely rural in character and we were welcomed with the traditional call of “Nameste”.  After looking around we descended to the riverside restaurant where we welcomed warmly by he proprietor and provided with Chai Tea (Piping Hot, Sugary and milky tea which was a favourite of the region).

 

In the fading light there was a cremation taking place on the river bank just below the village.  This the traditional method of dealing with the dead in this region and involves a hot fire on the bank of the river and the ashes and bones being swept away in the summer Monsoon floods.

 

The evening meal was prepared – spicy noodle soup which was excellent followed by our staple of Dhal Bhaat.  There was one solar lamp to cook by and we had candles on the tables.  After several rounds of drinks to celebrate the birthday boy we eventually left the café to kip under one of the two tarps.

 

We awoke early the next morning and packed up before heading over to the riverside again for a breakfast of two boiled eggs and Aaloo (Potatoes)

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 8 Madi Khola (11th April) Karputar to Damauli

 

Early morning and off we went but it was a lower grade and a bucket full of pain killers overnight was enough to get me through it. I had decided to take the next day off to give my shoulder a rest and as we were paddling again for two days it meant I could still do some of the Marsyandi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 9 Marsyandi (12th April)  BhulBhule to Bhode Odur

 

Following our long journey from the Madi Khola, we arrived at sunset at what was to be our home for the next two nights.  We would be staying in the grounds of a small school that was situated next the river.  We quickly de bussed and arranged out kit ready for overnight stay, we were to sleep the night in what looked like a roofed open sided  concrete platform.

Once it was dark we walked to the local village to sample the delights of the "Goat cafe" a single story building, to the left was the kitchen room , to the right was the dining area with two tables and a bed.  In the rear room lived the goats, Roy ( the goat wrangler ) Mchale must have thought that they looked lonely so with a series of whistles that are known only to St Helens goat herders, invited them in.  All was going well until one of the goats jumped up and peed on the owners bed, much to Keith's disgust!!!

 

Following our meal of Daal Bhat, we walked back using the head torches to locate our sleeping platform. Our alarm call was the local children who at six o clock  had their first game of football against our sleeping shelter, we did think about  challenging them to a game, however they looked too good.

 

Once up and packed we breakfasted at the Goat cafe, loaded the bus and headed for the get in.  The guide book states that the road to the get in used to be named "death ride from hell" it certainly has its share of sheer drops, with a few cheeky moments when passing vehicles forced our bus closer to the edge.  In Nepal they use a system of banging on the outside of the vehicle to indicate the driver still has sufficient room to manure.  The driver's Nephew who was along for the trip had been given the role of chief proximity alarm, much to the amusement of the other Nepali staff.

 

As this was to be an empty boat day we quickly loaded at the get in, eager to start paddling.   The river is wide and very powerful with churning grey water and massive boulders. Constant grade 4 or 4+.

Soon falling into a steady rhythm of keeping enough distance between paddlers that you could still see the correct course between the many rocks set by the guide, and not too close in case the paddler in front got into trouble and you needed to avoid them. 

 

The hours rolled by so quickly, it was sometimes hard for me to focus on tackling the section in hand when the scenery was so amazing, it was no river to loose your game face on. I tackled one section, broke out and looked up stream to see Roy's whole boat being lifted out of the water and back looped hitting the boulder behind him.

 

It was a very long day my whole body ached from the constant excursion, so with tired limbs we made the half way point and the get out   We had defiantly earned a cold drink and some warm Daal Bhat. What a fantastic day on the " raging river "

 

Stuart Toulson          More Photos...

 

 

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 10 Marsyandi (13th April)  Paundi to Bimalnagar

 

After an early rise we headed up the hill to the small village for our breakfast. The aroma was not very pleasant however the food was good, egg omelette with fried potatoes. Once we had our breakfast it was back down the hill to get ready for the river. The get on was just down the track from the school from where we had been staying on the playing field.

 

As we set off down river at first the river offered up fairly technical rapids. One noticeable rapid unfortunately catching out our guide, Raju. In the guide book the rapid is described as having a house rock in the middle which creates a terminal hole in high water. However for us the hole was not terminal just very sticky and somewhere none of us wanted to be. The hole had him firstly side surfing, then upside down and finally out of his boat after a couple of failed rolled attempts. At this point though it would only be fair to say that his unfortunate predicament came about due to seeing Ben Gunn making down cleanly. As on one the previous days he had tweaked his shoulder so not really a place to be when carrying an injury.

 

So once he was swimming the boat went free but he was being beginning to be sucked back into the hole. Fortunately Kurt was there and was able to get close enough to present his bow in which he was able to grab hold. After getting away from the hole he was ferried over to the bank to return him to his boat. After a quick breather he was back in his boat and we jam jam on down the rest of the river where the rapids eased to make a comfortable finish to the paddle.

 

David Brockway

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 11 Belephi Khola (14th April) 

 

After we had completed the Lower Marsyandi we embarked on the bus journey across to the East region of Nepal were the next set of rivers we were due to paddle were located. The bus journey coincided with the Nepalese New Year’s day celebrations and the journey through the country side and then through the capital Kathmandu was a great experience. The journey was a slow one as the roads and pavements along the way were jamb packed with colourful revelers all celebrating the New Year. It took around 4 hours to get to Kathmandu and then around 3 hours to get to the Star rafting Camp which was our base for the next few days. We arrived at the camp after dark and in comparison to the heat and hustle & bustle of the constantly jolting and bouncing bus journey the cool and tranquillity of the camp was a welcomed relief. The camp manager met us with the traditional Nepalese greeting of “Namaste” and we ate a meal of “dhal baht” before retiring to the already pitched safari tents for a well earned sleep.

 

The next morning following a relatively late breakfast it was back on the bus for a short 1.5 hour journey to the put in for the Belephi Khola which is one of the smaller tributaries to the Sun Kosi which is the major river of the region. At first the bus followed the main road with the Sun Kosi river flowing on our right side we then came to the confluence of the Belephi and turned left up a much narrower side road which wound its way up a steep sided valley. Various little settlements were perched along the route, most of which just consisted of couple of the roughly built corrugated tin and brick shacks which the locals use as houses and animal shelters. The animal shelters usually housing a lone cow or water buffalo with chickens and goats allowed to seemingly roam free around the settlements finding whatever food they can on the road and valley sides. Every now and then we passed small villages which contained local open fronted shops selling various brightly coloured packaged goods.

 

It was just after one of these villages that as be drove around a bend we came to a road block that had been caused by a small land slip a JCB was already clearing the blockage by filling a large tipper truck with the slipped earth. Whilst the JCB was clearing the road a small traffic jamb was created and the JCB had to widen the road by digging out an embankment so the oncoming traffic could pass each other with inches to spare. We were told by the main guide on the trip Raju that the valley had suffered quite badly in the earthquake that hit Nepal 12 months earlier and there was evidence of structural damage to lots of building we passed on the way up the valley on the opposite site of the river you could also see were massage sections of the mountain side had slipped down towards the river.

 

We eventually got to the get in of the river which in comparison with the other Rivers we had kayaked so far on the trip had much better water quality and instead of the grey silt colour the water of rivers such as the Kali Gandaki and Upper Seti the water of the Belephi were blue and the river ran through a relatively unspoilt valley. In the white water Nepal guide book the river is described as steep but friendly and is classed as 4- boulder garden run this description is pretty accurate but the guide book grades the rivers at November levels which are higher so I found the river to be a fun grade 3+ with the occasional harder rapid one of which was a narrow constriction through huge boulders.

 

At times the sides of the valley were heavy with vegetation with monkeys climbing through the trees and at times it felt as though we were kayaking through some remote jungle valley this illusion didn’t last for long though as we descended the settlements we had passed on our way up became visible and there were gangs of local children swimming in the river. The rapids were pretty continual and we eventually we came to the confluence of the Sun Kosi and then continued down the larger river to our campsite playing on the waves of the larger river as we went.

 

Roy McHale

 

White Water Trip to Nepal – Day 12 Bhote Khosi (15th April)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Team

 

 

 

Raju

Biraj Grg (Biraz)

Naresh Grg (Norris)

 

 

 

 

 

Mamma (John)

Botese (Son) (Joe)

Kac Kac (Keith)

(Leslie or Banza, Ben Gunn, 1 Pack,) Roy McHale