Waterfalls, Mystic Forests, and Clouds (Pt 2): Deurali to Tadapani, Nepal

Roots of rhododendron trees in Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Rhododendron Forest
It is easy to imagine faeries and wolves in the foggy rhododendron forest of Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Walking between Ghorepani and Tadapani is like being caught in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.  

The roughly-hewn stone pathways curve up and out of sight through angling sun and patches of low-lying fog, hemmed in by forests of lofty trees coated in lichens and festooned with drapings of Spanish moss. The ground is strewn with pink and red rhododendron blossoms like the trail to Sleeping Beauty, and it is easy to believe that the rose-coloured gnarled and twisting rhododendron trunks hide wolves with unwholesome intents and bears with strange habits.

There were moments when the otherwise-incessant trill of birdsong would just stop – without apparent reason – and I felt like I had walked into a hushed warp in time. 

My husband and I were part of a small group walking the Ghorepani/Poon Hill trek under the guidance of Angfula Sherpa. We had set out early from Ghorepani (see: Magical Mists and Mythical Mountains) and had worked our way up through the misty morning sunlight, our steps rising incessantly until we reached our day’s summit at Deurali Pass by mid-morning.

Now, finally, we were descending steeply over the rough stone steps and muddy pathways where a momentary lapse of attention could mean a twisted knee or ankle – or worse. We followed the waterfalls down the stony banks of the Thulo Odar Kkarka before climbing back up to Ban Thanti for lunch. 

And so it went: up and down rocky slopes, in and out of fog and sunshine, along creek beds and through forests, until we reached the final, short-but-brutal ascent up the stone stairs to Tadapani. As I surmounted the steps into town, a local man I couldn’t see for the fog said to me in a congratulatory tone:

“No more up!”

That was a great relief!

Old hut on a waterfall on the Thulo Odar Kkarka, Annapurna CA, Nepal

Hut on a Waterfall
Patches of snow and multiple waterfalls accompany us as we follow the Thulo Odar Kkarka downstream.

Wildflowers near a waterfall on the Thulo Odar Kkarka, Annapurna CA, Nepal

Flowers on the Waterfall
There are small wildflowers dotting the landscape, hiding in the shadows.

Rhododendron in the Mists, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Rhododendron in the Mists
Overhead, the last rhododendron flowers cling to the trees.

Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka as trekkers continue downstream, , Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka
Countless cairns dot the banks of Thulo Odar Kkarka as trekkers continue to pick their way downstream.

Portrait of a Nepali porter saluting, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Porter Dalman
One of our young porters salutes the camera.

Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka
The rocks in the riverbed are ideal for cairn construction.

Two Nepali men building a rocky cairn on the Thulo Odar Kkarka, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Angfula and Pasang at Work
Our sherpas build a cairn for our group, …

Cairn on the Thulo Odar Kkarka, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Our Cairn
… and I must say it is magnificent!

Rocks on the Thulo Odar Kkarka river, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Water over the Rocks
Meanwhile, the river continues downstream over the rocks.

Flags and Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka river, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Flags and Cairns on the Thulo Odar Kkarka

Shankar Hotel and Restaurant Ban Thani, Nepal

Shankar Hotel and Restaurant
I was greatly relieved to see our lunch-spot; the morning’s walk had given me an appetite! The entry to the hamlet of Ban Thani was draped in prayer flags, and the buildings wore the blue ubiquitous in the region: a colour I call “Himalayan Blue”.

Nepali woman cooking in a dark kitchen, Ban Thani Nepal

Woman in a Kitchen
It amazes me how people manage to whip up tasty meals in dark and very simple spaces, …

Orange flower in a lettuce patch, Ban Thani, Nepal

Flower in the Lettuce, Ban Thani
… using fresh home-grown ingredients.

Dirty lunch dishes on the ground, Ban Thani

Lunch Dishes – Ban Thani
Even washing-up is kept simple; there is plenty of clean (cold) running water from the river.

Trunks and roots of rhododendron trees in Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Into the Rhododendrons
Our path out of Ban Thani leads back into the misty woods …

Foggy path in a rhododendron forest in Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Steps into the Mists
… where wolves and faeries could be hiding.

Foggy path in a rhododendron forest in Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Steps Up and Up …

Grasses on the side of a misty hillside, Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Grasses in the Clouds
The clouds lower down around us …

Tree in the mists on a hillside, Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Tree in the Mists
… as we continue to rise up the hillside.

Walkers descending a trail, Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

Last Blooms of Spring
Briefly, the sky clears  …

Walkers descending a trail, Shikha, Mid-Western Development Region, Nepal.

The Path Winding Down
… and we descend again along winding tracks through the rhododendrons.

Rhododendron petals on the path into Tadapani, Nepal

Petals on the Path

Walkers climbing into a mist at the top of the steps, Tadapani, Nepal

The Climb up to Tadapani
The last climb up to Tadapani seems endless …

Pack ponies in a mist at the top of the steps, Tadapani, Nepal

Ponies at the Top
… as it leads past pack-ponies at the ready, …

Last Climb up to Tadadapani in a cloud, Nepal

Last Climb up to Tadadapani
… and the afternoon light grows dim in the falling rain.

Text: Happy Walking!

“No more up!”

How happy I was to hear that.

I did indeed feel as if I’d summited a mountain!

Until next time,

Happy Walking!

Photos: 22March2017

  • Gabe Gajdatsy - April 6, 2017 - 12:30 pm

    The photo’s are better than I expected. They capture the eerie feel of the woodsReplyCancel

  • sidran - April 28, 2017 - 7:02 am

    Enchanting woods !Reminded me of the Tiger’s nest trek .ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - April 28, 2017 - 7:39 am

      Well observed, Sidran. I said to my husband, several times along this walk, that it was very like the walk to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan. 😀ReplyCancel

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