Day 136: Experiencing monsoon season in full force and comparing Rara Lake to England's Lake District

Posted on 11 Jul 2017

We departed a wet Khaligoan with Ian having some ill effects from the previous day's chicken (or some other ingested food or water). Descending the valley on a forest road with persistent precipitation and the occasional loose cut wall releasing the odd stone down onto it, until lunch. Lunch was prepared and consumed out of the rain under the shelter of a large cliff face just by a small tea house.

An hour or so's more "descent" (this usually means the odd 100m ascent as well!) after lunch was followed by a long steady climb up the next valley towards Bulbulie, where the rain recommenced with a vengeance after a brief respite. The camp site was one of the safest we've had being overlooked by the local army checkpoint, though we were warned not to take any photos in its general direction, though the miserable weather meant cameras were unlikely to be removed from rucksacks.

The following morning we left the campsite, registered at the checkpoint any climbed up towards a low pass and descended through woods eventually coming out onto the road that was the local bus route to Rara. We followed this road around several ridges until the sun came out and we had lunch by the roadside much to the bemusement of locals passing by.

Rara LakeAfter lunch we followed the road for another 15 minutes then cut off onto a path leading up the hillside towards the entrance to Rara National Park. Towards the top of this climb the rain commenced again and we followed the track into the park towards the lake.

First views of the lake were quite impressive with its size, clear waters and tranquility, then the size was made more apparent to us as we had to walk for well over an hour to arrive at the campsite at the opposite side. Right on cue the rain started again as the camp was being set up. After dinner a little time was spent in one of the observation towers overlooking the lake enjoying a coffee. As a regular visitor to the English Lake District, Ian had expected a little more from the Lake, but that's not to detract from its natural beauty.

In the morning made the short trek from the lake to Gamgadi, arriving there late morning. Ian and Matt sat outside the local hardware store with a can of "Red Ball" each (not a typo - the local title for the well known brand) in the town watching the world go by as various deals were struck to resupply our crew. We then carried on down the valley side on to Karnali riverside camp for washing and a dip in the afternoon sunshine.

Next morning saw us cross the river on the suspension bridge (with at least six of the hangers from the catenary cables snapped!) climb up the ridge and descend to the other side, crossing the river and a longer, very hotter climb to the top of that ridge and along then through a couple of small, very muddy, villages (they really do need a drainage engineer!) to campsite at Bam. Here we purchased 'Stew' our new goat, alas he didn't fit well with the team and that evening he made a great curry (not that he could cook). 

Next day we followed the track down to a small bridge crossed the river and started a long climb, shared with several mule trains, up and over the pass down through the forest to a saturated campsite where Ian's water experience came to good use as he redesigned the local spillover from the river to help keep us dry despite the heavy rainfall in the late afternoon - we keep being reminded this is the monsoon season.

After a gratefully fairly dry night we set off up a track through the woods (in the rain) crossed a ridge, dropped down through a very wet and muddy forest, up the opposite side and started to contour along that ridge as we made our lunch stop in a small house and continued our muddy puddle hopping descending down the valley to Piplan where we camp tonight near the local school and as often we were the main attraction for the local children.

Ian, Matt, Bikas (TL)

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