Text: Dovan Rai
Photographs: Sean P. Grady and Dovan Rai
October 2016: Three of my friends were visiting Nepal for the first time and one of the interesting things they wanted to do in Nepal was trek in the mountains. Considering the tight schedule and their unfamiliarity in the terrain and my own, I picked the famous Poon Hill trek. But my friends wanted to go further and higher. So, we modified our original Poon hill trek itinerary and extended further north to Khopra hill. Khopra trek was not a well-known trekking route and I had my concerns. But I am very glad that we chose this lesser-known route. Within four days, we got to experience varied vistas: beautiful and breathtaking, heart-warming and humbling. Starting with beautiful villages and charming tea-houses, we walked through far-away forests and exhilarating ridges, taking elevation each day and feeling closer to the mountains.
Day 1: Kade (1770 m ) to Ghandruk (1940 m)
Day 2: Ghandruk to Dobato, Muldai Dhanda (3637 m)
Day 3: Dobato to Khopra (3660 m)
Day 4: Khopra to Tatopani
Our hotel van drove us from Pokhara city and dropped at Kande. We started our trek from there. Since it was a peak trekking season, there were a number of people starting their trek from Kande. We also met a lot of people trekking towards us, probably concluding their trek. We walked through various cute villages. It was already dark when we reached Ghandruk.
Ghandruk as our starting point, we trekked up to Dobato as our destination for day 2. This was the most strenuous of the four days, as we not only walked the longest but also covered altitude over 1000 m.
Day 3 was our ridge walk, as our path from Dobato to Khopra was mostly ridges on top of the hills. It was very rewarding walking looking up at mountains on one side and looking down on hills and valleys on the other side.
But before we started our ridge walk, we climbed up in the dawn to see the sunrise at Muldai point.
From Khopra hill, you can go further up to Khayer lake (4500 m). But that was the last day of our trek. While some groups of trekkers headed up to Khayer Lake, we wished we had one more day on our itinerary. With that wishful thinking, we headed down to Tatopani.