My 16 year old daughter, Sophie-Anne has just returned from a school trip to Nepal where she spent two weeks trekking, doing community work in a local school and finally visiting a nature reserve where she rode on elephants to spot rhino and other wildlife. Here she gives her impressions of the trek through the foothills of the Annapurna Range braving leeches and monsoon rain.
The town of Pokhara in Nepal is famed as a starting point for many brave adventurous hikers, so some may have been surprised to find a group of 20 teenage girls clad in newly bought hiking gear, with no mobiles in sight, ready to start the day.
Although some faces were slightly worried looking around at the impressive scenery the Himalayas has to offer I would say there was a general appetite for adventure among the group. As the day went on the sun crawled out behind its cloud and everyone soon felt the heat; refuge was found in the scarcest bits of shade from towering greenery and in cool clear mountain streams.
In times of intense heat everyone, even the most vain of teenagers turned desperate; the khaki hats made an appearance and the hair was scraped back. We soon discovered what leeches looked like and even though they were a lot smaller than we had imagined, we all remained tense and quiet as we waited for the first victim.
Despite the heat and temptation to literally bathe in the paddy fields, everyone admired the amazing landscape. All of the locals we met passing through villages were heartwarmingly friendly and all quick to spread a smile. All along the trek there are lodges that are tourist friendly, and at the end of each trekking day we stayed in one of these lodges. The lodges are all quite similar in style, all being basic and comfortable with a similar menu and helpful staff.
After a peaceful night in one of these lodges we woke to pouring rain, we went in Monsoon season and I had expected this decision would haunt us sooner or later. It was the worst rain I have ever seen and I live in England! Everyone was tired but being surrounded by friends and a group made an unbeatable support system, during the day each individual had to adapt to cope with the situations. I can tell you that walking uphill through monsoon rain being completely soaked to the skin is a world away from the normal daily life we all had at home.
However, we did manage to bring some of home to Nepal by all singing in unison popular chart songs. We all decided that ‘man I feel like a woman’ by Shania Twain (let’s go girls) was the theme tune for the whole trip. There were many relieved faces when at the end of the day the lodge was in sight, and although there was no way to post the thought on Facebook, we all felt like we had achieved something.
On our third day, the weather finally calmed down after we had experienced both extremes of weather. We were really able to stop and appreciate the view, the nature, the waterfalls and all the mesmerizing things there were to see.
A highlight and a most extraordinary sight was when we saw a small Nepalese man carrying his wife in a basket that was being supported solely by his head. The phrase we had recently discovered to explain all the strange things we saw was used again ‘only in Nepal.’
Read about the next part of Sophie-Anne’s trip to Nepal
Other adventures in India and Nepal
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