Many people often advise you to come in autumn to trek in Nepal… and yet, living the springtime in the Himalayan forests is simply a spectacular show.
In December, I did the Annapurna's tour trek and when I arrived in the surroundings of the Ghorepani village, I was surprised by the trees’ beauty that inhabited these forests… When I learnt that these trees were nothing more than blossoming rhododendron, I thought to myself that I must absolutely come back in April to this region of Nepal. Indeed, I love to see the blossoming rhododendron in my beautiful high Savoy mountains, but back home they grow the size of a bush… Needless to say the surprise which was waiting for me in April in these forests was just breathtaking. In Nepal, during spring the whole forests are adorned with a carpet of flowers…
To discover this explosion of flowers in April, you must go to the surroundings of the Ghorepani village where it's going on. This region offers many possibilities of treks and a variety of short or long hiking. The most well-known one is the Poon Hill trek. Personally, I did start a part of the trek from Poon Hill that I extended by 2 or 3 days to do a 6 days circuit. Poon Hill (3210 m/10531 ft) is, in fact, a viewpoint above the Ghorepani village that offers a magnificent view on the Himalayan highest peaks.
The Trek begins at Naya Pul village that you can easily reach from Pokhara’s town.
I caught the local bus at the bus station located North of Pokhara to go to the village but you may very well book a minivan or a jeep in the several Pokhara’s travel agencies. Personally, I love to travel by local bus with the music blasting and I like to feel the country. But you must be very patient because you never know when you leave and even less so when you will arrive!!
After drinking tea with some Nepalese people while waiting for the bus and for a lunch break stop on the way, I finally arrived at Naya Pul! That’s here where the trek began, hiking towards Ulleri village located halfway to the Ghorepani village. The small village of Ulleri offers many lodgehouses and a stunning view on the terrace cultivations covering all heights of the mountain.
“The vegetation density seems to suck me into its entrails, there’s something mystical in this forest. Its suffocating and intoxicating humidity and density which beauty lies in every corner of this scenery adorned with a sea of flowers…”
extract from my travel diary
After the rice fields as far as the eyes can see which are carving the mountains, the forest finally appears… The beauty of these trees covered with flowers with red-pink shades is absolutely gorgeous. This trek is a pure marvel. When I arrived at Ghorepani (Altitude 2874 m or 9429 ft), I advise you to book a lodgehouse which offers a panoramic clear view on the Machapuchare (Altitude 6993m or 22,943 ft, sacred mountain) and to ask for a room on the top floor to thoroughly enjoy the spectacular view. The sunset on this mountain is an unforgettable memory.
I loved the Ghorepani village so much I decided to stay a whole day there. Most of the trekkers wake up early in the morning to trek up to the summit of nearby Poon Hill (3210m/10531ft) to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna and go down to have their breakfast at the lodgehouse.
You must know that you will have to pay a right of way to hike the hill if you decide to go there and watch the sunrise. Personally, I’d rather sleep longer and enjoy the view without anyone around… The sight is so touristic that it is madness to climb up on Poon Hill at sunrise. Too many people… it just ruins the show. By climbing in the morning you have a good chance to be alone to admire this amazing view on the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and other Himalayan summits which have made so many generations of climbers dream…
On the map, I noticed a trail between Ghorepani and Tadapani that continues towards a viewpoint that seems rather interesting to me so I decided to leave Ghorepani late in the afternoon in order to find a lodge at the junction of the road where I will spend the night.
The climb to the viewpoint is amazing, I cross the forest adorned with majestic trees covered with flowers and the path is not absolutely frequented. All morning, I will only cross a group of ten trekkers. The 360° panoramic view from Muldhai point has nothing to envy to Poon Hill viewpoint and the place is so wild that I will have the chance to see the Danphé, the emblematic Nepalese bird!
The descent towards Tadapani also provides magnificent landscapes. The high-altitude trail coated with tall grass with yellow ochre shades creates a perfect harmony of colours with the rhododendron pink shades… It's an open-air masterpiece. Moreover, keep your eyes open because I came into numerous beautiful birds in this corner of the forest.
Arriving in Tadapani, it’s raining cats and dogs. I ate some momos waiting for the rain to stop but it didn't… I'm considering spending one night there but when I requested a room in the lodgehouse I found out that it is fully booked!! None of the lodges has a room available… that's the first time it happened to me. Nepalese are such generous and welcoming people that they offered to put me up in the corner of their living room, if, by chance, I didn’t find anywhere else. Apart from the rain, it's not so cold outside, and Ghandruk is not so far away so I decide to go on…
Change of scenery for this fifth day of the trek, I'm going down and find again the farmer's Nepalese life with its stepped cultivation, its buffaloes and children running around everywhere
This part of my trek is much more populated because I’m getting closer to Pokhara road and therefore I cross many charming villages built with stones. The trek ends in Phedi where you just have to wait by the roadside for a bus to come and carry you towards Pokhara… here again, you never know when it will come but for sure, buses come by daily.