Himalayas: 6-Day Langtang Valley Trek

kyanjin gumpa

I'm alive. And I'm back!

48 kilometers of combined gentle and steep ascents.  13,000 feet that is high enough to kick off Altitude Sickness.  6 Meatless Days just when you need all the protein. Public Asian style bathrooms that rivals marathon Portalets.  The journey was long and arduous but the views and the company were exhilarating!

It has been a very tiring yet refreshing break for me. I have rekindled my love for the mountains and did a 6 day trek of the Langtang Region of Nepal with 7 girl pals, 2 of which are very good friends and the rest are now buddies.

Langtang Trek

The first two days were horrible. As in, my thighs were screaming in exhaustion!  It was an epic climb that went on for a torturous 10 hours each day!  The first day was a gentle ascent combined with a lot of steep uphill treks amidst lush forests and some rocky grounds in between.  While the second day was supposed to be an easier climb,  our bodies were still aching from yesterday's which made it harder. The weather was cool, about 15 Celsius (coldest at 7) and I really took it slow.  Well, I couldn't have done it any faster.  Apparently,  gym training is not enough.  We were trekking until early in the evening with our head lamps on, asking our Nepalese-girl-guide-now-bff-Goma every 2 minutes, "Are we there yet?!?"

These magnificent views, however, more than made up for the pains.

Above the clouds at Langtang.Langtang valleyThis lush forest enveloped us.Forest at Langtang Valley, Nepal

Strength and endurance.  Along the path, we encountered these men carrying sacks of rice yet their pace is steady and calm.  I was climbing with just my day pack and I was complaining like hell!  One Seed Expeditions,  an American Company, who arranged the entire trek  for us provided us with guides aka porters (prefer to be called guides).  I am pleased the way One Seed protects the guides by enforcing a 20kg limit/guide.  Each guide carries for 2 persons, which meant I had to limit the pack they would carry for me to 10kg.langtang valleyWe crossed, if I'm not mistaken, 5 hanging bridges along the way.Hanging bridges at LangtangDreamy lake that seems to be carved out of a fairy tale.  I stood there for awhile waiting for one of Snow White's seven dwarves to appear. lake at langtangThe climb is not as easy as everyone thought it to be.  Ravines offer a clear and present danger and the sometimes loose, rocky ground made it extra challenging.  But of course,  we wouldn't pass up a photo op of the wonderful view.lantang valleyOur group always takes 2 long stops per day. One for lunch. One for ginger tea. Ginger tea stop by the riverside.lantang riversideBreakfast, lunch and dinner are exclusively vegetarian.  Except for the "sawa" (getting tired of the same food) factor, all the mountain lodges had the same menu, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Vegetarian fried rice, noodle (chow mien), soup, pizza calzone (fried momo), dumplings (steamed momo) etc.nepal - foodWe squealed in delight at the first peek of the snow covered mountains.Lantang ValleyPhoto below courtesy of my friend, Anna.Snow covered mountainThe steady and powerful stream of Langtang River energized us.Langtang riverTibetan prayer wheels like this dot the trek path.  The wheels contain the Buddhist mantra "om mani padme hum." According to Wikipedia, Om purifies bliss and pride; Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment; Ni purifies passion and desire; Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice; Me purifies greed and possessiveness; and, Hum purifies aggression and hatred. When an individual spins the wheel, it is said that the effect is the same as reciting the mantra as many times as it is duplicated within the wheel.prayer wheels at langtangFluttering prayer flags, Tibetan style architecture and roaming yaks welcomed us in Langtang Valley, our last stop before our final destination. You can see a "mani stone" similar to a prayer wheel is on the right.  If you are to pass this,  stay on the left of it as a sign of respect.  Langtang valleyAlong the trek trail, lodges are strategically located to provide bare and basic accommodations.  They are not spick and span but it's better than setting up tent. Some lodges have public hot showers you wouldn't dare go barefoot in.  Each lodge also has a dining area with a small fire place where everyone gathers for the night to get some heat.  My friends and I look forward to lunch and dinners when we could laugh our thigh aches away.   Accommodations in Langtang ValleyOur final destination, Kyanjin Gumpa!  It is stunning in its simplicity and beauty.  nepal - kyanjin gumpaAl fresco dining, at its best.nepal - al fresco diningProud to be Pinoy!  Of the 8 girls, 5 were Filipinas.  The 3 others were a Japanese-American, Korean-American and a Mexican-American.  We went through hardships (half of the group had altitude sickness that we had to cut our stay Kianjin by a day) and witnessed the beauty of Langtang together, needless to stay good friendships were formed.Filipinos at LangtangPosing with the Nepalese family who owns the lodge we stayed in. Children who are staying in the mountains has to be sent to Kathmandu for schooling.  As early as 5 years old,  the children stay in a boarding school in Kathmandu for 10 months.  Whew!  Talk about an early onset of parent-child separation anxiety.Nepalese family at Langtang One thing I noticed with the Nepalese is that they seem to embody contentment.  It is amazing.  In this world of discontent,  they seem to be happy at their current state.  They don't have much material wealth and they seem to be content to have just that.  I see it when the guides interact with us, when the owners of the lodges welcomes us in and in the people we pass by.  Could it be because they are all in the same state, there is no one to compare with?  Could it be their religion?

Posing with our efficient and pretty guide, Goma, and our guides-in-training, Keshor, Depak, Suman and Bedang.  Missing in the photo is funny guy Chering. I enjoyed talking to them.   Goma is very conversant while the boys though a little bit shy would gamely sing and dance with us.    Langtang guidesLush forests.  Cool weather.  Challenging terrain.  Langtang River's energy powering you in every step.  Picturesque verdant mountains with some snow capped ones.  Entertaining and diverse girl power for company.  Kind and witty Nepalese guides-turned-friends.  Cathartic conversations with friends.  A journey, I'll surely have good memories of.Sharing with you this Wonderful Langtang Journey,

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Comments

  1. wow auntie! didn’t know you actually climbed the himalayas!! galing!! 🙂

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