I EXPERIENCED/SAW FOUR NEW THINGS DURING LANGTANG-GOSAINKUNDA TREK:
1. White and pink Rhododendron flower: I had not seen pink and white Rhododendron flowers. I chewed some flowers. They are edibles. Both were equally beautiful (I am not talking about the taste here) but I liked white flowers better than pink. A walk into the jungle near Langtang village was exciting.
2. Being clsoe to Himal: Seeing Himals (or Himalayas) from so close was another new experience. Standing on the barren land of Langtang valley I could almost ‘touch’ the mountains! A thrilling moment. Climb up to the Kenjing Gomba, not far from the Valley, and you’ll realize that you are surrounded by mountains from all sides. Yes, you are in the middle of the Himalayas.
3. Glacier right under my nose: We tried to climb up to the glacier from Kenjin Gumba but we were unable to do so, partly because we were hungry and mainly because we lost the trail. For about three minutes, we were walking randomly over the thorny bushes hurting ourselves. Cold and strong wind was blowing making us difficult to concentrate. We briefly walked through a stream that originated from the glacier which looked near from where we stood. I am sure it could have taken another half an hour for us to reach there. Walking on the stream was kind of risky but I loved that bit of ‘adventure’. We were well above 4,500 meters which meant it wasn’t easy to breath. The unkind wind made breathing especially difficult. I managed climb a small hilltop under the shadow of giant Langtang. I played with the snow and scribbled my name there. The little ‘mountain’ instantly became Mt. DINESH!
4. The Gosainkunda Lake and the Gosainkunda Pass: Both of these places were amazing in their own ways. I circumvented the Gosainkunda Lake which has religious significance for the Hindus. Most part of the lake was covered by ice giving the lake a new name: The Frozen Lake. Adventurous souls would have been tempted to skate there had the iced layer been a bit stronger. I did some yoga at the bank of the lake. I also climbed a huge rock near the bank of the Suraj Kunda, another lake just below the Gosainkunda. The Surajkunda looked more dangerous, deep and dark. That was probably because it wasn’t covered with the ice like the Gosainkunda was.
Dinesh Wagle, hotels of Gosaikunda and the Gosaikunda Lake
The journey to Gosaikunda began from Thulo Syabru in the midday. We met an Israeli couple on the way. The male was having some altitude problems. They were both resting there to be acclimatized. We saw lot of Israelis traveling in groups. Most of the Israelis who come to Nepal are young, just out of compulsory military service (conscription). Almost all hoteliers don’t like them in general because, a hotelier in Thamel, Kathmandu, and one in Gosaikunda told me that they are “very much demanding, they spend less, make noises, and create problems out of nothing.” But I found almost all Israelis on the trekking route as humorous, friendly, nice and outspoken. Some of them seemed little more ‘demanding’ too.
One Israeli group quickly started making joints on their arrival at Gosaikunda. Some of them offered me a puff. I rejected. They insisted that I take a puff or two. I avoided their offer by telling them that the cigarette they were using to wrap was not of my preferred brand. While some prepared the grass others ate ‘daal bhat’. The smokers discussed about their conflict with the Palestine with me. One of them ordered a ’spicy daal bhat’. That surprised me. I knew from a boy in the group that a girl in the group could sing “Ressam Phiriri…” -a popular Nepali folk song. She had come to Nepal only a week before. “She is a music wizard,” a guy member of the smoking group said.
Dinesh Wagle with a yak in Langtang. It was snowing when this photo was taken.
After parting ways with Andrew, Anu and I took a short-cut and rarely walked route for Thulo Shaybru. The day was so long for us that we hardly managed to reach Thulo Shyabru before it was completely dark. That was the most tedious day in our 14 day-long tour. We had forgotten to carry drinking water. No water was available on the four-hour-long steep, all the way up, trail that went through a dense jungle. There was no sign of life- human life- except some that were monkeys (apes) jumping from one tree to another. My assumption was that it would not take us more than two hours to reach Thulo Syabru. I had to amend my guesses several times. I was wrong in my estimates about the distance and time most of the time during the trip. In the jungle, I ate Rhododendron flowers. My companion followed soon. Good for her. The nonstop 14-hour-long trek that day made us very tired. We slept up to 12 am the next day.
We shared our travails of the previous day with the locals. Everyone was surprised to know that we covered the trail in a day.
Dinesh Wagle and the Gosaikunda Lake. It took him about 20 minutes to reach there from the lake below
Langtang To Gosaikunda: A Travelogue! Here is a raw description of my trekking in Langtang area in the first and second week of Baisakh, 2060. I started my journey on Saturday, 19th April 2003.
By Dinesh WAGLE
The real journey- walking part- started from Syabru Bensi, a small town that is connected to Kathmandu by a improvised highway. This town is considered the ‘Base Camp’ for the Langtang Trek. The bus ride to Syabru from Kathmandu was bumpy, terrible, painful, and at times, risky. Limited numbers of buses operated in a day on the highway. Dozens of passengers sit on the top those buses.
Starting with a Spirit: After a small ‘hitch’ in the morning (there was some confusion regarding correct path), our team took the ’speed’ gradually. The team originally included Dutch Mathanja and her boyfriend Tim, his mother Tini, and a Dutch girl of Nepali origin: Anu. In Syabru, Andrew, an Australian university professor was included as the sixth member. Soon, he became so friendly that he, Anu and I were leaving rest of the team from the second half of the second day. We three made it to the Kenjin Gompa in two days while others took half a day more. Continue reading