Trekker's Journal

Trekker’s Journal – A visit to Langtang

By: Michelle Landry November 19, 2015

Michelle Landry from Canada has been in Nepal since August exploring the different sections of the Great Himalaya Trails. Her most recent trek was to the scenic Langtang/Helambu region. She experienced that while some areas are still rebuilding after the April 2015 earthquake the trails through Gosainkunda and Helambu are safe and enjoyable and there are enough operating lodges to make tea house trekking possible. Find out more from her trip to Langtang in our first contributor blog post to the new GHT series: Trekker’s Journal!

Following the Nepal earthquake there was a lot of conflicting information about which trekking areas were damaged, and which ones were still open and issuing permits. I arrived in Nepal in August after the earthquake and trekked a couple of GHT sections including the Far West, Annapurna Circuit, and Manaslu. After these areas, I had the opportunity to check out the Langtang/Helambu region. At the time I visited at the end of September, it worked out that I was allowed to visit the Gosainkund part of the park, and Helambu to the south. The northern parts of the park were still closed to tourists, including the trail that went through Langtang village.

Coming directly off Manaslu, my guide and I took a bus to Dunche, and started our uphill trek the same day. During a merciless 1300m climb I enjoyed hiking through lush forest. Fortunately I also got to see a bunch of wildlife including wild pigs, musk deer, and large grey Langur monkeys! Red Pandas also inhabit this forest but since they’re nocturnal I wasn’t lucky enough to catch a glimpse of any of those cute little guys. Upon entering the village of Chandanbari I felt like I’d reached nirvana, overlooking a stunning view of the valley. We stayed in a hotel owned by a friendly Sherpa family, who cooked the best dal bhat I’ve had to date, made with wild mushrooms picked from the forest. Just as good as dinner was the yak cheese I bought from the charming cheese factory also found here.

Winding trail just before Gosainkunda. Photo by Michelle Landry

Winding trail just before Gosainkunda. Photo by Michelle Landry

From Chandanbari the hike up to Gosainkunda was extremely enjoyable, climbing and then traversing through jagged rocks and cliffs speckled with pretty blue and pink flowers. Up through the clouds we went until we reached the small village of Gosainkund, perched at 4380m on the edge of the sacred lake by the same name. Luckily we seemed to be above the clouds and in the sun, affording us spectacular lake views. After eating some soup at the lake we climbed the additional 230m up to the Lauribina Pass where we re-entered the clouds. However, I wasn’t too dismayed at losing the views as I had to concentrate on footing on the way down to Phedi, where the trail was sometimes steep and slippery! We weren’t sure if the lodge at Phedi had been damaged in the earthquake but fortunately it was open and serving a tasty dinner around a wood stove.

Michelle reaching Gosaikunda.

Michelle reaching Gosaikunda.

In the morning we traversed a hillside over to what once was the settlement of Ghopte. Sadly, all the structures here were badly damaged from the earthquake and nobody was left tending the properties. It was heartbreaking to see these buildings completely leveled and abandoned. We continued ridgetop through Thade Pass where one teashop was still open, then down to the settlement of Mangengoth. One section of woods contained trees with red, peeling bark which I nicknamed “tourist trees” making my guide laugh. Near here we also passed over a tricky landslide which had released during the earthquake, requiring careful footing. In Mangengoth we stayed with another Sherpa family who gave me my first sample of Tibetan tea, a salty tea drink made with butter – I just loved it!

From Mangengoth the trail descended steeply, and was once again shrouded in clouds for us. As we got closer to Kathmandu we started passing through more densely populated areas and witnessed much earthquake destruction. In some cases, nearly whole villages of people were now living in temporary tarp or tin shelters, next to piles of rock rubble which used to be their homes.

Overall the hike into Langtang and Helambu was hugely rewarding, and highly recommended! There are enough hotels open after the earthquake to ensure a teahouse trek is possible, and locals need the tourist dollars now more than ever. Visit Langtang!

Read more about Michelle’s travels in Nepal on her own blog

Do you have a story to share from your adventures on the Great Himalaya Trails? Become a GHT contributing blogger here

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