Nepal (Days 20-21) – Pokhara & the Annapurna Himal 11 July 2009

On arriving in Nepal we only one night in Kathmandu annapurnabefore flying off in the morning for one night in Pokhara (POKE’ uh ruh), a resort town on a large lake nestled beneath the Annapurna Himal range at ~3000’. The flight was beautiful with a wall of snow-covered peaks poking up through the monsoon cloud cover. (I was also finally feeling much better…maybe it was the altitude?)

We toured the town, stopping at Devi’s Fall (Patale Chhango – below), a river/waterfall carving horizontally through rocks for hundreds of feet, and then falling far below into a cave. DevisFallLunch was lakeside at a lovely outdoor restaurant, and then we browsed the shops before heading to the Fulbari Resort.

The resort is quite beautiful – built in Newari style with exquisite woodwork and curved for the best viewing of the Annapurna range – and is situated at the end of a terribly bumpy road that needs lots of attention. But I would stay there again in a moment – it is located on the extreme edge and mouth of a spectacular emerald green, vertical-walled, riverdeltaand moss-covered ravine perhaps 500’ deep with waterfalls snaking down both sides. So, from the infinity swimming pool or the ‘hanging garden’ (a dining area on posts hanging over the edge), the views of the ravine opening onto the wide river delta and rice fields (right), with low mountains all around, are breathtaking.

And clearly, during non-cloudy periods, the vaulted floor to ceiling windows in the semi-circle bar would showcase the Himalaya. At dinner Prabin informed us that if it rained very hard during the night, the clouds might clear and expose the mountains.

So in the morning, we awoke around 5:30 am. machhupuchhareAt first it seemed that the peaks were still hidden, but as I looked more closely, they were slowly unveiling. So we spent the next hour walking around the resort, taking photos of the 23,000+ feet of rock walls and glaciers that were glowing in the sunrise! The closest and most spectacular is “Fish Tail” – Machhupuchhare, at 6993m (23,000’). It is surrounded by Annapurnas (South, I, III, IV, and II) – I is over 8000m, and the others are all well over 7000m. And to the far left in the northwest is Dhaulagiri (8167m, 26,800’) peeking up. As you can imagine, I barely got my fill before the clouds moved in!