Day01 Fly/drive to Pokhara.
The trek starts with a 20-minute drive south from Pokhara along the Tansen road to the start point at Thare Khola. The route climbs up the northern flank of the ridge with the first night camp near Bhumdi, height around 5000'/1525m or at Lodges..
Excellent panoramic views from the ridge as we traverse west soon leaving behind scattered dwellings and entering thick deciduous forest full of bird life, tree orchids and in springtime the area should be very good for flowers. The route lies through a shady north-facing slope traversing towards Panchase Lekh (8825'/2508m) before climbing up onto the ridgeline, now across the south-facing slope to a fine lunch spot before half an hour of "jungle bashing" leads to a distinctive Bhanjyang (ridge crossing point). The route climbs away west to the campsite high on a hilltop below Panchase Lekh – height around 7000'/2310m / Lodges.
We recommend an early climb of Panchase Lekh for exploration and a panoramic view, which must certainly be one of the finest in the whole of this area. After an early lunch back in camp, the route leads up to the ridgeline, which runs north from Panchase Lekh and follows this down through forest before turning west towards Chitre. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
We traverse gradually losing altitude through mixed forest and farmland towards the Modi Khola. There is steep descent down to the village of Dobila where a bridge crosses the river the drains the Annapurna Sanctuary to the north and then steady climb leads us up to a campsite near Bisaula at 6000'/1825m. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
The ascent continues as we climb up towards the ridgeline. Crossing this we meet the main route coming up from the town of Kusma lying far below to the south. Following along this ridgeline trough rhododendron and fir there are marvelous views away to the west down into the lower reaches of the Kali Gandaki valley and across to line after line of foothills fading into the haze to the west. There are few settlements along here but we are entering real Pun country and closer to Thare the forest begins to thin out leading to fine open farming country with attractive solid built houses. The slate in this area if of extremely fine quality and used for the roofing of most of the houses – camp near Thare. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
This offers one of the finest days of trekking in Nepal. Leaving Thare care needs to be taken to establish the shortcut route leading over towards Ghorepani that crosses the western flanks of the very large Poon Hill feature. After about 1 ½ hours a ridgeline is reached with a high a further 20 minutes away which offers the most outstanding views of the Dhaulagiri Himal with Tukuche Peak further north and then across to the east of the Kali Gandaki valley the Tilicho ridgeline, Annapurna I, Fang, Annapurna South and an unusual view of Machapuchare (the fishtail). On a clear day further away to the east can be seen Lamjung Himal, Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal and it is even possible to see Gaurishanker far to the east past Kathmandu. There is good lunch spot above Nangiri before a descent and steep climb leads onto another ridgeline. The route climbs away through a mixed forest of holly and oak and then through hemlock and ever thickening rhododendrons. There is a delightful campsite in the middle of the forest with Dhaulagiri clearly framed to the north – altitude about 8500'/2590m. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
The route continues on through the forest before crossing the Poon Hill feature at about 10,000 feet and visit to the more popular trekkers' route Poon Hill feature is possible before dropping down into the over grown teahouse village of Ghorepani. It is doubtful is any other trekkers will have been met on this whole route before arrival at Ghorepani. However, after lunch it is possible to escape a good many of them by climbing away west over the Deorali pass – camp at around 9000'/2740m. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
Aside from the one or two rather scruffy settlements that have developed to meet the requirements of the backpackers this is another wonderful days of trekking. The route down the west side of the Deorali Pass can be slippery during the winter if snow is lying around and there are icy patches near the waterfalls. There are some marvelous viewpoints as the trek now approaches close to Machapuchare and the southern flanks of the Annapurna before the trail gradually descends through forest to the prosperous village of Ghangdruk (6297'/1920m), a Gurung village. Ghangdruk owes its wealth to the fine farmland it possesses and many generations of its young men who have gone off to serve in the Nepalese, Indian and British Armies. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
As one gazes across at Landrung, a little village lying on the far side of the Modi Khola, thoughts of how useful a hand glider would be are hard to dispel. The 1500'/450m descent to the bridge crossing the river is followed by a 1000'/300m climb to the village of Landrung. The reward is a pleasant contour south high above the river before the trail turns up through rhododendron forest, crosses a ridge and then drops down to our campsite set in the forest at 6400'/1590m. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.
The mountain views from here are superb and down to the south still apparently far away lay the Phewa Tal and further to the south the foothills of Nepal roll away towards the Indian plains. The return to Pokhara from here is best by dropping down into the Mardi Khola valley lying on the north side of the ridge. The longish walk down the valley leads to the little village of Mardi Pul close to the point where the Mardi River joins the Seti River. Then through paddy fields and scattered houses to the Tibetan Refugee Camp and a final one-hour plod back into the northern limits of Pokhara town. We prefer this routing to the more popular one, which drops down from Dhampus south into the Yamdi Khola. There are bumpy jeeps, which rattle into Pokhara down the riverbed from Suikhet and those who wish for an early return to Pokhara could consider hiring a jeep privately for their party. If you do so, advise everybody to get out and walk down the steep slope below the Tibetan Refugee Camp, but otherwise it is an effective if rough way of getting back to Pokhara quickly. Certainly after a 10-day trek the walk down the rather dry dusty Yamdi Khola valley is not a very attractive way of finishing a trek. If the Mardi valley option is taken Pokhara will be reached in about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, or if the option of jeeps is taken then it is possible to be in Pokhara at about 11 o'clock, but in any event not early enough to rely on catching a flight back to Kathmandu on that day. Spend the night in a Hotel or in a camp by the lake. O/N at Camp or at Lodge.