Trekker’s Journal: Mardi Himal Base Camp is calling
By: Rishav Adhikari May 23, 2016
Nepali photographer and recent winner of the #MyGHT Photo Competition, Rishav Adhikari, keeps delighting us with his beautiful photos from his adventures on the Great Himalaya Trails. Follow him on his trek to Mardi Himal in his poetic contribution to GHT’s Trekker’s Journal.
Like every October, this one too was filled with buzz and excitement. The mountains were calling and I was ready to roll. My journey would take me on an amazing trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp, right in the laps of Machapuchre and Mardi Himal mountain. A four-day trek that started with three people but soon turned into eight people. As is often the case for trekkers, you will come across many like-minded people on the Great Himalaya Trails, and so did we. Together the three of us bid farewell to Pokhara and headed for Mardi.
Our exciting adventure began from Kade. The steep trails from Kade to the Australian Camp hinted of the challenges lying ahead. The weather was not cooperating with us and with no luck of seeing mountains from the Australian Camp we continued on to Pothana. In Pothana we rested our boots, filled our bellies and exchanged traveling stories. However, soon enough we were on our way to Deurali.
Like every group of trekkers we had the typical discussion on whether to stop for the day or continue on to the next village. By the time we reached Deurali it was only 2 pm and as we were still hungry for wanderlust we decided to continue along the trail toward Forest Camp. Little did we know it would take us more than 4 hours to reach Forest Camp without any teahouses along the way. The fog had rolled in and all I could see were the two familiar faces of my traveling companions. No other human being was seen. At one point I saw a deer but that too vanished quickly.
With the moon slowly rising, lights fading and mobile signals getting patchier, we still had not reached our destination. With our cell phone flashlights lighting the way, our spirits pushing us forward while our thoughts screamed “Are we f****ing lost?“, we finally reached the camp. Seeing another human soul again was such a relief.
Morning sunshine hits, eyes burn, legs all restless and heart aching just to see her. Before we knew it, we were already parting ways with Forest Camp. The fog had lifted on this brand new day and with an increase in altitude the flora beautifully sprung out amongst the trails. Much to our joy, only 30 minutes into our walk, there she was, smiling. With that smile engraved in our hearts, we were on our way to Low Camp. Low Camp is a large open space with scattered teahouses and cottages, trekkers, porters and backpackers with the gracefully smiling Mount Fishtail in the background. We rested our backs, breathed in relief and awe at the view, made peace with our bellies, captured some photographs and before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes to Low Camp. The elevation continued to rise along with the frequently changing weather and cloud patterns.
At one point, we were lucky enough to witness a gorgeous Annapurna mountain range from Badal Dada. However, that too disappeared amongst the clouds a few minutes later. Continuing along the trail, leaving the forest behind, trekking up the steep mountain path with yellow grass, clouds rumbling beneath us – I felt nothing as my heart was too busy smiling.
After a few hours we arrived at the High camp. The mountains were still playing ‘peek a boo’ with us but by sunset she decided to show up. There she was. Glowing. We didn’t leave until the decreasing temperature forced us to hop into our warm blankets. With the excitement of seeing her up close and dreaming about being in her arms the following day, we went to bed. With the first rays of sunlight, she was there just as we left her last night, waiting. With a few bottles of water, snacks and the spirits of the mountain, we were up and running. The closer you go, the more adventurous and challenging the trails become. To be honest, the weak hearted will definitely question themselves, “What the hell am I doing here? This is so going to be my last trek if I return back safely”. And then a thought comes back knocking; it’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say; “I wish I did that”.
Knowing the mountains are with you every step of the way your heart swells with pride and joy. I was having the time of my life beholding the mountains, feeling the clouds, letting my soul and spirit fly. In the laps of the mountains: Annapurna South, Himchuli, Mardi Himal, Machhapuchre – you feel infinite like never before. You get lost and the best part is that you don’t want to be found. In fact, you’d much rather be here, forever, being lost. One fine feeling that was. I was awestruck when witnessing an avalanche towards the south of Annapurna, adding another chapter in my stories to tell.
The time had come. It was difficult but we had to separate from her. My religion is mountains for it’s not man made. We communicate volumes through its silence. As we walked along the mountains, listening to its silence and echoes of our inner selves, we parted. You think going up is hard but wait until you hit this trail. Try coming down from base to high camp through heights that make your heart shiver, you will find out how wrong you were.
Full with mountain love, smiling eyes and a bucket full of stories to tell, we departed from High camp. On our return we trekked along a different route from Low camp to Pokhara via Ghalel and Shiding. On every trail I trek through a thought passes by “I am too old to have only seen THIS LITTLE of the world and too young not to go see it now.” So go out, travel, dream, dwell, discover. After all what is life but one GRAND ADVENTURE.
This article was originally published in Ghumante.com. For more of Rishav’s stories from his journeys on the Great Himalaya Trails head over to his blog or check out more of his amazing photos on Instagram: @shutter_psycho.
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