Going from mountain goats to 'leave it to beavers'!
Rafting down the spectacular and remote Karnali river in western NepalOur 33-day trek was amazing and after a week-long rest in Pokhara, we were ready for more adventure. This time, however, we wanted to give our legs a break so we opted for a 10 day, 180km whitewater rafting trip (3 days of travel plus 7 days of rafting). Getting set up to go whitewater rafting is super easy in Nepal. Operators provide everything: food, transport, tents, etc. All we had to do was sign up and hop on a bus!
Although we didn't choose this company, we really recommend Paddle Nepal based in Pokhara, they're a little more pricey than the other ones but they're VERY good at what they do.
|The awesome but smelly rafting bus!
The bus was not the most comfortable thing on Earth and, with no air conditioning or fans, it got blisteringly hot in there. Once the meat cooler started leaking, the meat juice started smelling really nice so we plugged in our earbuds and listened to "The Heist" album by Ryan Lewis and Macklemore. After finally arriving at 9PM we ate a late dinner, showered and passed out in our 'cosy' room.
|Basic accommodation but with a shower!
We finally got to the put-in point and brought all the gear to the shore. The town was intense: the locals just sat there eating peanuts watching us do our thing and the kids wanted to help us really badly in exchange for a few rupees (i.e. steal things from your bags when you're not looking). Our philosophy is: we never give out money to anyone, no matter what.
The encounters went something like this:
"Banana?" as she motions to help carry it...
"Yes, this is a banana" [I was holding one]
"Sister! Sister! Banana? Madam?"
[keep walking, ignore, ignore, ignore...]
Sorry, but no thanks, we'd rather just do it ourselves -- if we really wanted help, trust me, we'd ask. Plus, we'd really prefer not to have our valuables snatched. Anyway, we finally got everything on the rafts and went down the river for just a few minutes and landed on our first beach as big dark clouds rolled in.
The staff had warm drinks and snacks ready for us and we wanted to set up our tent before it got too dark. We were told that we'd be given a tent but the staff had "forgotten it on the bus." Sweet. No tent for 7 days and a crazy storm was about to hit... we weren't too happy about this.
The rest of the trip was smooth sa-.... rafting! Every day we'd paddle for 4 to 6 hours and land at pristine river beaches, making camping logistics extremely easy. We headed to bed early after the the nightly campfire and woke up for the sunrise. The group of rafters and kayakers was wonderful and we all had a lot of fun together. Both of us even got an introductory course to river kayaking and it is a lot harder than it seems -- we have a lot of respect for those who run Class IV and V rapids on kayaks!
Most of the rapids we hit were class III and IV and it was a blast: the rush of adrenaline when the raft guide yells "paddlepaddlepaddlefasterforwardrightbackleftforwardfasterfaster!" as we are about to head into a wall of rushing water was just amazing! One of the best parts was called Jail House: we stopped to scout the Class IV rapids and then hit them straight down the middle.
It was so refreshing to be in such a remote, clean and beautiful place, we really hope to find some more great rafting throughout our trip.
co-posted on www.eliotpeper.com
More pictures of our 10-day Karnali rafting adventure:
|Beautiful fields en route to the river (Western Nepal)
|Day 1 of rafting, getting all the gear together while being watched by the curious and intense locals
|Our cook, our meal
|A typical post-rafting afternoon on the beach
|Tea time after a day's rafting!
|Another typical beach set-up
|The fantastic rafting and kayaking crew - all top notch people!
|Nice views of the river on our way back to Kathmandu after the trip
|Some crocs chillin on the river
|10 days of no shower turned Andrea's incredibly straight hair all wavy!