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ABC Day 03 - Ulleri to Ghorepani

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Leaving Ulleri


We had met up with Brandon's group (and children) the evening before, and had all set off from Ulleri (elevation : 1960m) together that morning, just shortly after 08:00. The day had had a slow start as we had spent a fair amount of time marveling at the wonderful valley views of Annapurna South (elevation : 7219m) and Hiunchuli (elevation : 6441m) that lay to the north-east, way before we had even left the lodge.

Annapurna South

The sunrise catches the summits of Annapurna South (elevation : 7219m) and Hiunchuli (elevation : 6441m)

We began the hike up the stairwell towards Banthanti (elevation : 2210m) slowly, as rays of soft sunlight beamed down and skimmed across the tops of the mountains. The mountains dominated the views here, with Annapurna South and Hiunchuli hogging the limelight, and Machapuchare (elevation : 6997m) peaking out every now and then. The stairwell however, was dominated by livestock. Donkeys (Equus africanus asinus) were fairly common, as were goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), and we would occasionally see a horse (Equus ferus caballus) or two munching away on the grass that fringed the stairwell. The buffalos (Bubalus bubalis) however, made their presence known not only by the trotting of hooves as they descended the stairs, but also by the lingering smell of their faeces and the incessant buzzing of the flies.

Hiunchuli

Hiunchuli (elevation : 6441m) in the distance

The stony stairwell

The stony stairwell

Next (Day 3) : Ulleri to Ghorepani (Part 2)
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The Rhododendron Forest


The next section was more of a gentle stroll. We had been following the much slower pace of the children, but I did not mind at all as the surroundings had left my senses completely abuzz. In the distance, red tufts of 'laliguras', or rhododendrons (Rhododendron arboreum), peeked out through the canopy, each tuft containing 32 flowers with 12 droopy leaves below them; whilst much closer down, the tiny beansprout-like stalks of sporangia emerged above the beds of moss on the tree trunks. The sunlight that penetrated the canopy above cast patterns of shadows on the rocky steps, and the cool breeze was interspersed with these warm sunny patches. Chirping birds flitted about from branch to branch, but it was fairly hard to see the birds for the trees; and in the background, the rustling sounds of the river cascades could be heard to our right, completing the whole experience.

ferns at ghorepani

Circinate vernation of a fern's frond

moss at ghorepani

The sporangia of moss on the left; and of fern on the right

A couple of kilometres in (3.3 to be exact), the trail gradually descended down to a gorgeous waterfall and its enchanting pool of glistening water that was marked with a few cairns. There was a bridge right after, where the trail continued on by looping over to the right. Rhododendrons (Rhododendron arboreum) were also abundant here, the prolific trees leaving the canopy awash in red, as were tiny seven-spot ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) all over the rocks beneath our feet. We were right smack in the middle of the world’s largest rhododendron forest, which was quite apt considering that I was wearing the t-shirt from the TAROH (The Annual Rhododendron Hike) event that took place at Mount Tok Nenek just the year before.

ghorepani rhododendrons

Tree rhododendrons (Rhododendron arboreum)

ghorepani ladybugs

Seven-spot ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) having some fun!

The gentle walk continued on with most of it going downhill. The path was very well-trodden here, and at parts, the erosion left it almost tunnel-like; the canopy was still a blur of pinkish-red, and the soft green moss and ferns still lined the sides of the trail.

We eventually reached Nangathanti (elevation : 2430m), approximately 4 kilometres in. The river that ran to our left lay next to multiple guesthouses, so we decided to stop for a short rest and some hot lemon (NPR60).

Next (Day 3) : Ulleri to Ghorepani (Part 3)
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Ghorepani


We followed the trickling river for a while after that. The trail was bamboo-fringed here, and followed a gentle slope with occasional ups and downs. Tufts of white flowers fringed the path, as did small bushes of Nepalese paper plants (Daphne bholua), that are known locally as 'lokta bushes'. The fibrous inner bark of these shrubs are still used to this day to make hand-made paper sheets that are called 'lokta paper'.

Nepalese paper plant (Daphne bholua)

We reached Ghorepani (elevation : 2860m) soon after, and proceeded directly to the tourist police checkpoint (069-410033) for the mandatory ACAP permit check. We continued on after everything had been settled, and climbed even more stairs to reach the main centre of Ghorepani village. The stairwell eventually brought us to the intersection that was marked with a large signpost, that clearly pointed the way to Poon Hill off to the left, the path that we would be taking the next day. We instead turned right and walked down the alleyway that lead right to Sunny Lodge, where a cosy room (NPR400/2) and a hot meal (NPR550+650/2) awaited us.

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats

mc03a

mc03b

The full page of the recorded trek can be found on my Movescount Page.

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device and would like to use the move
as a route, please click on the following link for the route:

Check the route in

Expenditure

End of Day 3 Expenditure (NPR)*

Permits: 0

Transport: 0

Medical: 0

Supplies: 0

Food: 660

Accommodation: 200

TOTAL (NPR)


* Excluding the cost of the flights to and from Nepal

Total

: 8260

: 1179

: 895

: 1800

: 2010

: 1677

: 15821 

Next (Day 4) : Poon Hill

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