Friday, October 22, 2010

Page 17: Jhinu to Pokhara

The view down the valley as we roll out of the Annapurna sanctuary
Leaving the awesome Green View Guest Lodge after now standard issue Tibetan bread, lemon tea and porridge breakfast it was off down some more insanely steep stairs to a bridge, then up some even steeper stairs till we reached some wicked rideable singletrack. I had the overwhelming feeling that we were descending into the energy sapping mug of the tropical jungle and not since Besi Sahar or Tatopani had the overwhelming sensation of sweat drenched exertion been felt.

Looking back to the mountains we are saying goodbye to
Thankfully the singletrack portions were off the scale, striking an excellent balance between gnar and rideability. Rocky with the odd climbing pinch and a smattering of features like waterfalls, steps and exposed edges to keep the fun factor high.

Michi on the trail
Today we saw some ingenious water powered contraptions, utilising a resource the Nepalese obviously have no shortage of. A hydro pipeline with a solid 100m head and a more primitive grain grinding mill were both perched on the track edge so begged for a sneaky inspection.

A hydro-powered grain mill on the trail
Stopping for a pizza and momo lunch (our last Annapurnan indulgence) made the final leg a gut wrenching battle, every acceleration met with a puff of half digested momo gas. Riding out from Nyapul and the culture shock hit us, honking taxis and buses and all manner of traders hocking wares shattered the alpine tranquillity of the last two weeks.

The solid 15km climb was a welcome reprieve, its gradual gradient and sweeping switchbacks making for an enjoyable final hurdle. I even got to test my new set of altitude enhanced lungs with some uphill motorpacing from one of the dirty local buses.

The view down to Lake Pokhara from the top of the hill
An equally epic 15km descent and Pokhara began to take shape, the odd house becoming an apartment block until we were in a hectic haze reminiscent of Kathmandu all those days ago.

For dinner we fulfilled a long held desire for animal protein, demolishing what must have been a 500g steak at the Everest Steak house. Ice-cream sundaes capped off a fine meal, and now having retired to our soft hotel beds (with working hot showers) we can begin to reflect on the experiences we’ve had.

No comments: