Day one - Naya Pul to Ulleri
The day started gently, walking from the small village of Naya Pul along the jeep track for an hour or so and then steeply uphill. We knew what was coming and were wondering what the fuss was about. It was only a few steps and they weren’t even that steep. We crossed a metal suspension bridge and then came the words we didn’t want to hear. 'This is the start of the steps'. What we’d done so far was just the warm up. And so began the 3,200 (approximately) steep stone steps straight up to Ulleri. Luckily at the top was waiting a pizza and an ice cold Sprite, well deserved after 12.50km and over 1,000m of ascent.
Day two - Ulleri to Ghorepani
What the guidebooks all mention are the big steps up to Ulleri. What they don’t mention are the almost same number of steps from Ulleri to Ghorepani. The only difference is that there’s the occasional flat section and even the odd downhill bit too. We cover the 7.75km in decent time and stay at a lovely teahouse will free Wi-Fi, electricity for charging and even hot showers. This is luxury indeed.
Day three - Ghorepani to Poon Hill and then Ghandruk
Poon Hill is the popular spot to watch the sunrise. We knew it would be busy and at 5:00am we set off with what seemed like 1,000 others to climb the 35 minutes or so to the top. There we gathered and waited. Sunrise came, we took some photos, got cold and went down again for a tasty breakfast. I’ve seen sunrises in nicer, more peaceful places, but it was rather nice and worth the early start.
Then off we set to Tolka, about 15km away. Having been going up for the last two days we’d hoped for some downhill but there seemed as much up as down and when the down did come, it was steep and equally as tiring. My knees are going to hurt tomorrow.
Day four Ghandruk to Tolka
Time for some downhill now and lots of it. 10km later my knees are sore and my calves are like rocks. There’s only one thing that’s going to help and that’s chocolate. And some gentle stretching of course.
Day five - Tolka to Phedi
The last stretch and the undulating start along the jeep track soon changes to a steep descent down stone steps to Phedi.
Our taxi awaits and whisks us back to Pokhara for a lunch of crepes and ice cream at the best creperie in town. Just what we deserve after 63km…