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Trekking in Nepal in August - Chapter 3, where to trek in Nepal in August?

I contacted a few agencies, to find out the feasibility of a trek in August, with two 20-month-old babies and a pregnant woman (I voluntarily did not mention the granny with her fucked-up knees). Two of them recommended me the Annapurna Panorama (Poon Hill) trek with the advantages of: a relatively low altitude (3,000 mt), short (on top of everything I only had one week off) and “fairly easy”, with a bonus: tea guest house to sleep in and not tents. Perfect, isn't it? However my father didn’t seem to think so and started asking around, worried about the rain in this season. Fortunately he found the blog of a French guy who said it was quite possible (and nice) to trek! I immediately booked the tickets.

My friend decided to do without the opinion of her doctor, but to get Dr Google’s. She looked at what other trekking women had to say on the subject on French forums and found out that pretty much everything in Nepal can be a problem for a pregnant woman: altitude, hygiene, access to medical care, the state of the roads.  

With tow super active babies and another one in the larvae state, the idea of a 7-hour bus ride to get to Pokhara on the Nepali road (which I had done once) was not particularly thrilling.

So I thought we could fly! A little reluctantly because my plane was once hit by thunder during a flight to Kathmandu and left me shit scared of flying in the storm (or in the rainy season)! And of course, I happened to talk about thi idea of flying to a friend who immediately warned me: “Be aware and do your homework: planes tend to crash in Nepal. And indeed, after two severe crashes at the beginning of the year, French tourist agencies in Nepal have stopped domestic flights.

In the end, what worried me the most about the trekking in Nepal option, were the turbulence on the plane and my friend’s nausea – as my pregnancy had been rather ruthless, where trekking from the living room to the bedroom was often beyond my strength the first months! Regarding the hygiene concern, I had made up my mind that living in India, she was a little bit accustomed, a step ahead if you want. You can also see the glass half full and say that after all the Himalayan Nepali women also have babies. Except that, the Himalayan Nepali woman who is a few weeks pregnant and who has never left her mountains, you immerse her in Gurgaon road madness, a miscarriage, if not a heart attack, is (almost) guaranteed!

And then, heavy rains, landslides and mudslides in Nepal made the headlines. And I gave up... At this stage, I asked my husband to take over. Too much is too much!


Trekking in the Nepal in August - Chapter 2, where to trek in India in August?

We had to find a place where we could baptize our bag... And that... is not easy. Because in August, it rains in India. Not all the time but enough to make any hike a bit tedious.

I know of two superb (and dry) trekking areas in India: Ladakh and Spiti Valley. But I had already explored these places (in August, and with no rain) but I was a bit reluctant to go there, mostly because of the altitude with my little one. For example, my mother had a bad mountain sickness in Spiti Valley.

I then explored Himachal Pradesh, with options around Manali (less far than Spiti Valley) but the prospect of a 15 hour bus journey to get there stopped me immediately. Which the local organiser found surprising and difficult to understand; and quite frankly I don’t know how Indians manage to do such trips with children...

I then went on the trail of Uttarakhand where I had had a very nice (and wet) experience in August in the region of Kumaon. But we were in a nice hotel, the rain sounded more romantic than if I had been in a tent. Yet many treks in this region (mostly pilgrimages) can ONLY be done during monsoon. So I guess it is possible to trek there in this season. A heavy rain put an end to my considerations, when I heard in the news about landslides – you should have seen the debacle in 2013, with some 5,700 people disappeared in these landslides.

So I ended up considering Kashmir and bought tickets before anyone could discourage me: I know the reputation of Kashmir but if you base your decision on reputation, you don't do anything anymore! As soon as I told my (Kashmiri) Pilates instructor she warned me: it's crazy (not to say stupid) to go there on August 15th (India independence day) when the insurgents who want secession are taking advantage of the summer snowmelt to come down and create some chaos in the capital. Oh well well, the tickets were booked, so let’s see! And there, BOOM!, barely a few days later, an rebel was killed, the conflict started all over again, 350 were injured, curfew was set up. Still I didn’t panic. I had one month left for things to calm down.

And to add to this, a few days later, I got to know that one of the girls in our group was pregnant! She asked her gynecologist for advice and the latter reacted in a very unambiguously way: “Trekking in Kashmir in August? But why? Are you telling me you want to go to Kashmir now? I am a Kashmiri and I tell you it is out of question right now with all that is happening!”. My friend asked her to make abstraction of the destination and to advice whether she could do a trek... And she was not overly enthusiastic: her concern was physical exercise, when it is recommended to take it easy during the first trimester. “Why do you want to get tired?” She gave up on explaining! Because it is true, when you think of it, why get tired?And here we were three weeks before departure, without any program. The situation was not abating in Kashmir, to the point that airlines and tourist agencies paying were fully reimbursing any booking. And to be honest I had starting wondering if this all not a sign of destiny: take it easy woman and go relax by the sea in some luxury resort... So I surfed the net, from the Andaman Islands to Koh Sa Mui. And during this trip, I came across an ad for Nepal. Nepal! How could I not think of it before??


Trekking in Nepal in August - Chapter 1, Genesis

Trekking in Nepal in August? But why?

Well here is why…

It all started on a cool day of April 2015, while me and my family were visiting the Corsican mountains, with a 4-month-old Baby Samurai baby. I was so proud, carrying my offspring like a mama Kangaroo! But after a couple hours a family overtook us, and they were carrying a 12-month-old baby in special trekking carrier, an amazing thing. And THIS gave me lots of ideas!

When we started wondering where to go for the summer holidays this year, I immediately pictured a short trek with 20-month-old Baby Samurai. The first part of the plan was relatively easy: finding an amazing carrier. It is not really available in India. But a French girl happened to be selling hers on a website of expatriates. I bought it without a second thought!


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