Day 4: “Running with the girls”
Tadapani – Ghandruk (8.6km, down)
After two long, difficult days, we were excited for a shorter day on the trails. Tadapani to Ghandruk with kids was easy, especially with friends to keep them moving.
This was the shortest day, so we choose not to rush things in the morning. However, Kacela and I were still up to enjoy the sunrise. We didn’t want to wake Randy, so we tip-toed into the dining area just to find many of the guides and assistants asleep on the benches around the tables. We tried to be as quiet as we could, but didn’t worry too much as the kitchen was already in full swing. I ordered us two sweet milk-tea and we sat and watched the sunrise over Machapuchure.
It wasn’t quite as amazing as Poon Hill, but the fact that we didn’t have to wake up at 4am brought it up a notch. It was a bit of a bonus, as I wasn’t expecting two amazing sunrises on our trek.
The noise of the kitchen soon woke everyone up. (I’m going to blame it on the kitchen anyways, I’m sure it wasn’t us!!) Bagwati soon joined us, and Kacela asked her why Machapuchure, or Fish Tail mountain, was sacred. Bagwati explained that the locals believe the God that lives on the top of the mountain gets mad when people try to climb her. So, she sends snowstorms and avalanches to keep them away. There are no permits given out to climb Machupuchure because of the sacred status of the mountain.
Kacela later taught this to Grandma; “Fish Tail is secret and it’s locked because there’s a snowstorm at the top and we don’t want to get buried by the snow”. She’s SO literal!! Her comprehension of the reason had nothing to do with the “why” and was tied to the ultimate end result of not wanting to get killed in an avalanche!
We had our usual eggs and toast for breakfast, packed our bags, and started to head out of town. Just at the edge of town we ran into the family with “the girls”! We said hello, then started walking and they finished their drinks (they’d just come up the grueling stone staircase!). Not far down the trail we ran into a troop of Longur monkeys. We stopped to watch them play and the girls caught up to us. All 5 girls went running down the trail, and the parents and porters all ran behind trying to keep up.
This kept on until Kacela fell and split her knee open.
She’s always the one that seems to get hurt! I didn’t realize at the time she’d gauged it so badly, so I made her keep walking, but we slowed our pace and fell behind everyone else. Calais ran up ahead with her new friend, and Randy chased behind trying to ensure they stayed out of the way of the various porters along the trail, especially the one carrying a freezer!
We must have been quite the spectacle.
Our entourage of 18 people was spread out over at least a km along the trail! With our family was 3 adults, 2 kids, 1 guide and 2 assistants. The “girl’s family” had 2 adults, 3 kids, 1 guide and 4 assistants. I’m sure as people passed us they likely wondered what was going on with all these kids on the trail. There was only one point in which the kid’s got a negative reaction. Luckily, I wasn’t the one to hear it! An elderly British man asked his guide if taking families on the trek annoyed him. What?! Every single other person we saw “ooh’d and awe’d” over the kids doing the trek, but I guess there’s always gonna be a bit of negativity wherever ya go.
The trail to Ghandruk only took about 3.5 hrs, with a couple snack stops along the way. We were excited to find out that of the 54 tea houses in Ghandruk, our friends were staying at the SAME ONE as us!! What are the chances! We arrived, ate delicious momos for lunch, and the girls spend the entire afternoon playing.
The town of Ghandruk
At one point, Calais went with the other family to check out the museum. Randy, Mom, Kacela and myself went for a proper coffee. We had a whole lot of Nescafe on the trail, so we jumped on the opportunity for real coffee. We made the right decision! Calais take on the museum…”well, that wasn’t worth the money”!! She wasn’t very impressed!
The town of Ghadruk/Landruk is home to approximately 20,000 people, and was a pretty cute little place. Ghandruk is one one side of the valley and Landruk is on the other. Rice terraces dot the landscape, and the Himalayas tower over the town to the North. It’s only about an hour on foot from the end of the road, so the prices began to drop a little bit. If I was to pick one village on our trek to spend more time in, it would be Ghandruk.
As with the other days, our guide and assistants (porters) came from Three Sisters Adventure Trekking. I just love this organization! Their whole 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 servings of boiled eggs (2 eggs per serving), 4 masala tea, 3 coffee, 1L water, 3 servings of toast (2 pieces each) 2210 rupees ($27.05 CAD)
Lunch: Delicious moms, 1 plate of veg and 1 plate of chicken, veggie fried rice, 2 bottles of Coca Cola, 4 L of water 2870 rupees ($35.15 CAD)
Snack: Mango juice on the trail 250 rupees ($3.05 CAD), Coffee at Hotel Gurung Coffee – one large pot with milk for 700 rupees ($8.60)
Dinner: Chicken Momos, 2 Trekker’s Dahl Baht, Rum & Coke to share, Beer (Randy & mom shared as a pre-dinner drink), 2L water 3100 rupees ($37.90 CAD)
Guesthouse: Trekker’s Inn 600 rupees per room ($14.70 CAD)
Day Four Total (3 adults, 2 kids): $213.45 CAD