Trip Report - Lower Dolpo Trek with Discover Himalayan Treks Ltd & Explore Dolpo Treks & Expedition Ltd. March / April 2013
I have recently returned from a great month in Nepal, which included a 14 day trek in the lower Dolpo region - from Jumla to Dunai, via Lake Phoksundo. It was a private trip with only two of us, both women in our early sixties. Discover Himalayan Treks Ltd (based in Thamel, Kathmandu) assisted us with all our internal travel arrangements, including accommodation and flights, and arranged our Dolpo trek with Explore Dolpo.
We flew from Kathmandu directly to Jumla and were to fly out of Juphal to Nepalganj, then on to Kathmandu, but I was unlucky enough to have a rock fall from the cliffs above, down onto my head. We were between Renje and Chepka, on our way back down the gorge. It made a gash which needed stitching and Prem, of Discover Himalayan Treks, organized with my insurance company to have a helicopter pick us up next morning from the bottom of the valley at the Suli Gaad / Bheri river confluence and fly us directly back to Kathmandu. Thank goodness it was near the end of what was a very enjoyable, cultural trekking experience (and the helicopter flight was spectacular).
We left Jumla on 21 March, which was early in the season and we saw no other tourists. The countryside was very dry and there was still snow on the ground in many places. Peach trees were in blossom and in the higher altitudes, land was being prepared for planting barley, while lower down at Tibricot, the barley was well grown and the fields very green. The alpine views were beautiful and we camped in some interesting places. We also enjoyed staying one night in our guide’s home at Kalagauda, and meeting his family. Lake Phoksundo was spectacular and we had it to ourselves! A few Nepalis had come up to their Ringmo homes for the summer, but it was too early for most. The first monk had come up to the Monastery though, and we visited him there. There were herds of yaks and more people starting to move up the trail as we came back down. Our guide and porters were all from Dunai, except for one, who was from Jumla. The daily routine was to stop for a couple of hours around midday, often at a private home, where our guide and porters prepared a tasty meal, while we rested and chatted to the locals!
Aitey, our guide from Explore Dolpo Treks & Expedition Ltd had a lot of local knowledge and was an excellent cook. The porters were also great, very willing and cheerful as they carried their big loads, and repeatedly set up camp and packed up again.
We also spent about six days in both Kathmandu & Pokhara. Prem’s staff were always very helpful and we were taken on a great walking tour of Kathmandu, as well as visiting Bhaktapur and Nagarkot. I would love to have visited Nepal in the days before these valleys were filled with smog. It was disappointing that even at Nagarkot, up on the Kathmandu valley rim, we could still hardly see the mountains. It was the same in Pokhara, even up on the hill at Sarangkot – and we only saw Machhapuchhare and the Annapurna’s through the haze on the day we arrived and at dawn on the day we left, six days later! The sky was blue and clear when we were up in the mountains though.
This was my first time in Nepal and I was very pleased to have Prem and his staff at Discover Himalayan Treks Ltd looking after us. They were always very professional, helpful and friendly.