After having seen our share of temples (there are more to come), we decided to stretch our legs a bit and do some hiking in the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The plan was to hike from just outside Bhaktapur up to the village of Nagarkot, which has great views of the Himalayan Range.
There are no clearly marked hiking trails and you either pick your way through potatoe fields or stick to the local “roads” (dirt tracks). Walking through the small villages along the way really was a lot of fun, especially seeing our kids interact with the locals. The adults like to pat their heads and the kids love to try their English on them. At some point Lara and Finn were walking with a whole group of school children, only to be ambushed a few minutes later by a few older kids with water balloons.
It’s not all idyllic though. You see a lot of poverty along the way and the amount of trash lying everywhere is just shocking for us. It doesn’t seem to bother the locals (I suppose when you are that poor, you have other things on your mind), but it sure takes away from the picture perfect postcard rural Nepal that a lot of tourists expect.
We ended up taking a bit longer than expected (7 hours of solid hiking) and were all pretty exhausted by the time we reached the final ridge line. The kids did extremely well, really never any complaints about either the heat or the distance …if things go well with the altitude, they’ll do just fine on the Everest trek.
We found a very nice guesthouse with a warm shower (even with an open fire place) and all went to bed early. The main draw in Nagarkot is the sunrise over the Himalaya range and I got up at 6:00am …only to look out at haze and clouds.
From Nagarkot we went on to Dhulikhel by car and then hiked up (about 3 hours) to a Buddhist monastery, where we stayed for the sunset.The next morning we could just barely see a few peaks in the distance, before the clouds came in a few minutes later.
All in all, two nice days of hiking … which could have been so much better, if we’d only had a clear view of the mountains.
Now we’re off to Kathmandu again, back to the noise, traffic and pollution. Ute is arriving on Monday and we’ll spend the next two day getting our gear sorted out for the Everest trek … while sneaking in the Patan museum and a few more temple visits.