As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve been out of the country for 25 days on a trip to Nepal where I paddled the Thuli Bheri and Karnali rivers. Of the 25 days just 8 were spent on the water; the paddling to travelling ratio was not as good as it should have been. A large part of this was due to the fact that the team flew to Delhi and travelled overland by bus to the western end of Nepal, and part of this was due to an Icelandic volcano called Eyjafjallajokull which caused the flights home to be delayed by over a week.
Performing a minor miracle though Dave S and I managed to get on a flight four days before Virgin Atlantic said we would be able to. Now I’m home I’m able to take stock and go back over my memories of the trip. Travel issues aside the trip was, in equal measures:
Inspiring, exhausting, exhilarating, terrifying, breathtaking, confusing, informing, suprising but mainly just generally fantastic.
A group of fifteen of us travelled together, seven of us paddled the Thuli Bheri whilst the others paddled the Bheri. Then both groups reconvened to paddle the Karnali and following this take a few days to relax and go on safari in Bardia National Park. I’m still trying to get my head around the trip really but a short summary of it goes something like this:
Plane, bus, border hell, light aircraft, bribery, porters, grade 5, swims, freak out, pulling it together, portage, porters again, relief, where are we? bus, terror, bus, relief, bus, another river, grade 4, relaxing, flat, 200 km in 3 days, safari, well deserved beer, dancing, bus, border hell again, flights cancelled, stuck in Delhi, begging at airport, shock flight home.
The Thuli Bheri was definitely the most difficult river I’ve ever attempted to paddle. Five days of self supported grade 4-5 river is hard work and I did it, though not necessarily with the style or dignity that perhaps I would have prefered. Still lessons have been learnt and despite my five (yes, five) swims and multiple moments where I really thought I might not make it back I’m glad I did it. If there is ever a next time though (a big if) I’ll be taking less kit and getting fitter before I leave.
The Karnali in comparison seemed tame despite its rather large grade 4 sections. Somehow we manage to make what should have been a four or five-day, 200km relaxing paddle pass in just three days.
I’m rambling somewhat. When I’ve put a bit more thought in to it I’ll put something a bit more descriptive together about the rivers. In the meantime here are some photos that I took. Unfortunately the lens on my camera decided to stop focusing properly and then fall apart completely. But anyway here the ones that I managed to take in focus: Photos from Nepal (Update – no longer requires you to login to Facebook)