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A little girl surrounded by big snowy mountains…

Where to start writing? That’s what I’ve been asking myself the last couple of days… It’s quite hard to write when you want to write so much. Now I understand how hard it must be for tv makers to cut all those hours of tv into 1 program. It’s harder to write a 100 page essay that a 600 page book…

I came to Nepal thinking I was gonna do a trekking with a maximum length of 10 days. Even 10 days sounded really not like me. It’s not like I do a lot of sports back home and I don’t think my bikram yoga will help me walking up to 5100 meters… Vipassana definitely helped me mentally by the way.
But what do you do when the trek you want to do is 2 weeks? And once you’re there you might as well add Tsum valley which was already highly recommended by my ex-colleague. That’s my problem…once I’m here I want to do it all. That’s how you end up traveling for a very long time.
So that’s what I did, I did it all. Manaslu including Tsum valley. And I’m so happy I did it all! It’s been an amazing 3 weeks. Together with my ‘trekking family’ Siem and Eline who I met on my Vipassana course. Because this trek goes into restricted area’s you need a guide unfortunately. So we took Hari. Hari is one hell of a story I’m not gonna write about now, too long. Lets say he was just not the best company but we just made our own plan and that went very well! He was just there because on paper we needed a guide/porter. So off we went…

I’ve been thinking about how to share my experiences without telling you my day to day ‘diary’ because that would be too long and a bit boring. I’ll just keep that for later, when I’m old and …
So I wrote down the things that come up to me when I think back about the trek…the things that made this trek as amazing as it was.

Tsum valley
Nature is so diverse when you walk from 730 to 5100 meters. It’s changing the whole time, from forrest to wide green valleys to snow.
Tsum valley is extremely beautiful! It’s impossible to take a photo that looks just like what you see up there… It’s the total package. You walk through the (almost fluor) green fields where the local people are working, with their buffalo’s, digging the land. And when you look up this whole valley is surrounded with big snowy peaked mountains. I felt so little in between those huge mountains. You see many goats, horses and Tibetan people instead of Nepali. Tashi Delek (means hello in Tibetan) instead of Namaste for a while… Many buddhist villages along the way with monasteries and nunneries which makes this valley even more beautiful. We’ve been sleeping at local homestays, in a nunnery, a monastery… I really enjoyed this peaceful valley!

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Sleeping with the nuns at Gumba Langtang (nunnery)
Freezing cold, no bed, but the most amazing place to stay! It’s a very steep climb up to get there, about a 1200 meter climb and because it’s off the path not many people go there. We were the only ones and we stayed an extra day because it was just a very authentic and special experience. Dal Baht or Tsampa (buckwheat), that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with chanting (praying for Buddha) in the main hall. Perfect for meditation! We danced with the nuns, Eline got her hair cut like a nun, by a nun, we played with the little nuns… We slept on the floor, very close against each other to keep warm. And the views were amazing from 3700 meters high!

 

Birthday @ Manaslu basecamp with chocolate pie and presents
Not many dutchies are able to say they’ve celebrated their birthday at 4400 meters. It was a very good start of my 26th… I even got a chocolate pie and presents! Siem and Elien bought me a singing bowl and the guys a voucher for a hot shower and a snickers bar (the best mountain presents!). After birthday breakfast we walked to the Manaslu basecamp. We’re actually not sure if we’ve reached basecamp because they have no such thing as a sign but lets say we were there. First day we walked in the snow, saw a glacier, big ice rocks (size of a truck sometimes) falling down into the lake… Yes, a very good birthday.

First footprints in the snow on our way to the 5100 meter pass
It was like being on an expedition! At 03:00 we woke up and after a bowl of mountain fuel, tsampa porridge (buckwheat porridge), we started walking at 04:00. To set the first footprints because it had snowed the last few days just feels amazing. Create our own path through the snow… and only 7 people followed us that day. That’s (still) the great thing about this trek. If you have the chance, do it now! It’s not full of tourists yet. This is the Annapurna circuit 10 years ago. Different views of course but people wise… A maximum of 3 guesthouses in the villages comparing to 10 or even 20 in the villages on the Annapurna circuit. Some villages didn’t even have guesthouses, only homestays. And the guesthouses are also family owned… mummy cooks at night and there’s a very close connection because most of the time you’re the only one there. Because it’s less touristy, there is less competition so higher prices. That’s also a reason why many backpackers choose for another, cheaper, trek. But how cool is it to know everyone who’s crossing the pass, to support each other and celebrate once you’ve all reached the village after the pass?

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And it even feels more like an expedition when you get lost in the snow…
Imagine walking in the clouds, not see a thing! We knew we were almost there… but where are those damn flags? It was so misty, we were in the middle of the clouds. While searching we literally fell into the soft snow up to our bums. This is what we wanted, adventure, right? Creating our own path to the pass instead of walking on a 2 meter wide path with 20 others…
And then there they are, the flags, that told us we’ve reached the highest point. High five! As you can see on the photo no views at all…luckily 100 meters down we’d got what we came for…clouds disappeared and sun came out. We found a rock in the snow to sit down, ate our well deserved snicker bar and enjoyed the amazing views.

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Milktea, Tibetan bread, Tsampa porridge, Dal Baht, Fried macaroni, sharing with Eline and snicker bars
It’s funny how food because such a popular topic when there is not so much choice… I drunk liters of milktea (powder milk and powder tea), ate countless bowls of tsampa porridge, and shared many plates of Dal Baht and fried macaroni with Eline to have a bit of both… and snickerbars were just amazing up there! So expensive but so tasty. They’re just not the same back here where they’re available in every shop…

Yaniev, Rummi, Toep, Shithead
No phones, no internet, no tv, just the old cardgames… I miss them actually now i’m back in cyberwold. It’s reading, sleeping or playing card games once you’ve arrived in the guesthouse for the night. And I just loved it! 

Cold bucket showers
No shower for almost 3 weeks… what to do when you do want to fresh up a little after a 8 hour walk? For men it’s easy, just go in your boxers underneath the outside water tap. For girls it’s more of a challenge. Walking in a bikini in Nepal is not highly appreciated. So Eline and I had bucket showers. A bucket, freezing cold water, soap and a toilet (or any hidden place) and just poor the water over each other. It works and it feels so good after! First of all a little proud for taking the step to have a cold bucket shower and second because it’s good to be ‘clean’.

Cuddling up in the cold nights
It’s either very warm of very cold. There’s not much in between. During the days I took off all of my clothes and during the nights I put on layer after layer. No heated dining halls like on other treks unfortunately… Just sometimes I could heat up near the fire they use for cooking. So we kept each other warm, cuddling up close to each other, especially when your bed is at 4400 meters high…

Some facts about the Manaslu trek:
Duration: +/- 3 weeks including Tsum valley. Without Tsum you can do the trek in 2 weeks.
Highest point: 5100
Costs: Manaslu permit 2000 rupies / Annpurna permit 2000 rupies / Restricted area permit 7000 rupies / Tsum valley permit 2500 rupies / Guide 2000 rupies per day (devided by the amount of people you go with). Plus an average of 2000 rupies you’ll spent per day. Total for 21 days: 17500 (permits) + 14000 (guide devided by 3) + 42000 (daily costs) = 73500 rupies ( = $735,-)
Guide needed unfortunately.

 



3 reacties

  1. mam wrote:

    Heerlijk om dit weer te lezen, wat een avontuur lieverd. Je doet het gewoon , maar dat is het niet hoor !!!
    Nog twee weekjes om aan het idee te wennen dat je weer terug moet naar onze bewoonde wereld ….Enjoy.

  2. Tashi Delek, Namaste, Lisanne, heel veel respect voor je,
    Gelukkig geen hoogteziekte gekregen. Bea

  3. Maart wrote:

    Sounds amazing! Waar kan ik boeken?
    Maar nu is het mooi geweest… Je hebt toffe dingen gedaan, mooie plekken gezien, leuke mensen ontmoet en fantastische momenten beleefd. Time to come home!!
    CU! kus