Hille to Ghorepani with Kids (10.4km, 1400m up): The “Big Up”
I was dreading today. I’d heard horror stories about the 3500 stairs from Tikudunga to Ulleri, so my goal was just to get through it. We had 30min easy walking from Hille to Tikudunga, about 2 hours of hard up to Ulleri, and another hour and a half to Binthanti for lunch. It was a further 3 hour walk after lunch, but I figured once we made it to lunch we’d be alright. Boy was I wrong! Hill to Ghorepani with Kids and Grandma just about finished us off.
Since it was going to be a long day, we decided to start early. We were up for breakfast at 6am, and on the trail shortly after 7am. Everyone else was just starting breakfast as we were leaving, and they all passed us at some point during the day! The first 30min were lovely. The trail was relatively flat, and wide enough to hold the girl’s hands walking 2-across without having to scramble over rocks or walk half-way up the bank. Then we hit Tikadunga, and it all went downhill…or uphill!
We started on the stairs.
After crossing a rather precarious bridge, there was a sign claiming there was 3500 steps. And so it began!
The steps, at times, were better than I expected, and then they quickly became worse. Some were really steep with a giant step, and some were a bit tamer with a smaller rise. Either way, they just kept going and going.
We made it an hour up the steps and decided it was time to stop for a sweet milk tea. Our guide brought us a bunch of local bananas, and a plate of the largest cucumber I’ve ever seen, and we enjoyed a rest and a snack overlooking the valley below.
It was hard to get going after our break. My legs didn’t want to move, and my knees didn’t want to bend up any more steps. It took a few hundred steps to find a rhythm again, and we suffered up the last hour to Ulleri. We were all feeling pretty good when we got there, and proud of ourselves for “making it”. It was only another hour and a half to lunch, but the stairs were over. Or so I thought! The very steep stairs may have been done, but I think we still had another few thousand stairs to go! By the time we stopped for lunch, my knees were revolting and I wasn’t sure if they would go any further.
To congratulate ourselves, and provide a bit of encouragement to keep going, we splurged at lunch. We enjoyed some delicious veg&egg momos and veg& cheese momos with veg fried rice. We sat on a terrace, with the top of fishtail (Machauchura) peeking out in front of us. It was pretty spectacular!!
The problem with stopping for lunch, was that it was only lunch! We still had THREE more hours of trekking to go. I could’ve sat on that terrace in Binthanti for the rest of the day, but that wasn’t the plan. At that point I didn’t think we were ever going to make it to Ghorepani!
The girls had climbed the worst of the stairs on their own, so after lunch we put Calais in the doka, and Kacela rode on Randy’s back/shoulders.
Our afternoon trek was through the jungle, which offered a respite from the beating sun. I definitely didn’t picture the jungle being a part of our Himalayan adventure, but it was, complete with monkeys and waterfalls!
The jungle was significantly cooler because of the shade, so it made things a bit more bearable. There were still a lot of stairs, I’m sure we climbed somewhere between 5000 and 6000 stairs during the day, but they weren’t quite as steep as in the morning.
We arrived in Ghorepani around 5pm, many, many hours after we started! The views were spectacular. It was definitely worth the climb. Ghorepani is a reasonable sized town perched almost at the top of the mountain, overlooking a number of giant Himalayan peaks. We quickly checked into our rooms and made plans to almost immediately meet up with “the boys” from the day before. Thankfully, Facebook messenger still works at the top of the mountain!
As we were outside visiting and playing, another family showed up!! They had 3 girls, ages 5, 7 and 10. It didn’t take long before the 6 youngest kids were playing hide and go seek around the hotel. I definitely did NOT expect to run into another family with similar aged kids, let alone two other families! It’s amazing how kids just make instant friends with each-other, and alternatively how us crazy traveling parents find kinship immediately as well.
The kids played until dinner was ready just before 6:30pm. They didn’t want to leave, but we were all getting up bright and early the next morning for sunrise up Poon Hill, so dinner and bed were a priority. We made plans to all meet up at the top of the hill the following morning, and went our separate ways.
Dinner was delicious! We had Chicken Tikka (the first meat of our trek) and Veg Kofta Curry. We let the girls splurge and order pizza. Calais ate most of her pizza, but Kacela decided she didn’t like the onions on it and ate the curry and rice instead. We also had the most amazing apple pie for dessert. Bellies full, we set our alarm for 4am, and all tucked into bed.
As with Day One, our guide and assistants (porters) were from Three Sisters Adventure Trekking. This is a fantastic organization! Their mandate is empowering women, and they have some of the only female guides and assistants working in the Himalayas. The female assistants carry a max of 10kg and the males a max of 13kg. Not only are they empowering women, but they’re ensuring their employees are working under fair conditions.
Guide: $30 US ($37 CAD) per day
Assistants: $20 US ($25 CAD) per day x 2
Breakfast: 5 orders of Boiled eggs (2 eggs each) and 3 orders of Tibetan bread (deep fried bread), plus 5 milk-teas 1680 rupees ($20.50 CAD)
Snacks: Milk tea (2) and a snickers bar 440 rupees ($5.40 CAD)
Lunch: 2 orders of Momos (dumplings); one veg and one paneer, veggie fried rice, a Coca Cola, Fanta, 2 mango juice and 2 mineral water. 2240 rupees ($27.40 CAD)
Dinner: Cheese pizza, Chicken Tikka Masala, Kofta Korma, 3 orders butter naan, Apple pie, 2L water, beer and 2 glasses red wine 5790 rupees ($70.80 CAD)
Sunny Hotel: double room 300 rupees, triple room 400 rupees. Total 700 rupees ($8.25 CAD)
This was by far our worst hotel room, although it was the only one with an electrical outlet in the room! However, it had a great view!
Day Two Total (3 adults, 2 kids): $219.35 CAD
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