Trip Reports » Nepal 2008 Langtang » Gosainkund

Gosainkund

Gosainkund

October 14-20

Gosainkund Lakes and Pass

While our small group was crossing the Ganja La the bigger party set off across the Gosainkund Lakes and Laurabina Yak Pass (4,4600m).  As far as the lakes the trek follows a pilgrimage route through villages with good tea houses.  After the lakes the accommodation was bit rougher for a day or two, but the weather stayed remarkably good and the views were stunning - as you can see from the following images.

Gill's blog of this part of the trip follows:

The Langtang Valley and Gosainkund Pass were an excellent choice of route by Ross as we saw a whole range of landscapes over the different altitudes (1350m to 4700m) from the intense crop and vegie farming on the steep terraced green hillsides to the yaks grazing on the alpine grasses of the rocky slopes at high altitude, cool peaceful forests of eg. rhododendrons, oak, pine and bamboo to the harsh rock alpine heights of Yala base camp, gentle cascading streams to rivers with 1000's of tons of water thundering over huge boulders, and the holy alpine lakes. We saw incredible panoramic views of the Himalayas, the steep rocky cliffs of the narrow Langtang Valley, walked through many villages with the stone, plaster or wooden cottages, passed by prayer wheels spinning by the power of a stream, prayer flags fluttering in the wind strung from a stupa (a Buddhist religious structure) at the crest of a hill, long mani stone walls near the villages inscribed with the prayer "om mani padme om"-roughly translates as "hail to the jewel in the lotus" and stone goths (cowshed or huts). I am having trouble describing all we saw!

As we trekked, we saw the Nepali people happily going about their everyday life with children scrubbing themselves clean with soap at the local water pipe, women quietly watching their goats munching by the track-side, men carrying huge loads of firewood in a basket on their backs, women (some with a baby slung to their back) harvesting the long grass for hay with a scythe, children flying their home-made kites in the gentle breeze and women spinning wool on a hand spindle as they walked along the track---so much to observe. I would have loved more time to reflect and interact with the Nepali people, and maybe just sit and soak in the culture, the scenery.

However, our schedule was tight. We did the Langtang Valley including Yala base camp in just 7 days and Gosainkund pass in 6 days. To the super fit ridgerunners this was probably acceptable although I know some of our group were very tired at times. The suggested times in the Lonely Planet are 8-9 and 8 days respectively. I would definitely recommend these times as a guide to the average trekker to allow time to enjoy, and for any consequences that in my experience always arise on any expedition eg we lost a day because a landslide had prevented us from being dropped off further along the track. We were very fortunate that the weather was on our side. Apart from rain on our first day of trekking, we had fine weather all the way through. Also, our group kept reasonably well and injury free apart from a couple of colds and the dreaded diarrhoea passing through some of us. Some were more affected by mild altitude sickness but this is difficult to predict as some of us seem to be "plumbed" better for altitude than others. The best advice that I have researched is to allow time to acclimatise as you rise in altitude.

As we trekked, we saw the Nepali people happily going about their everyday life with children scrubbing themselves clean with soap at the local water pipe, women quietly watching their goats munching by the track-side, men carrying huge loads of firewood in a basket on their backs, women (some with a baby slung to their back) harvesting the long grass for hay with a scythe, children flying their home-made kites in the gentle breeze and women spinning wool on a hand spindle as they walked along the track---so much to observe. I would have loved more time to reflect and interact with the Nepali people, and maybe just sit and soak in the culture, the scenery.

However, our schedule was tight. We did the Langtang Valley including Yala base camp in just 7 days and Gosainkund pass in 6 days. To the super fit ridgerunners this was probably acceptable although I know some of our group were very tired at times. The suggested times in the Lonely Planet are 8-9 and 8 days respectively. I would definitely recommend these times as a guide to the average trekker to allow time to enjoy, and for any consequences that in my experience always arise on any expedition eg we lost a day because a landslide had prevented us from being dropped off further along the track. We were very fortunate that the weather was on our side. Apart from rain on our first day of trekking, we had fine weather all the way through. Also, our group kept reasonably well and injury free apart from a couple of colds and the dreaded diarrhoea passing through some of us. Some were more affected by mild altitude sickness but this is difficult to predict as some of us seem to be "plumbed" better for altitude than others. The best advice that I have researched is to allow time to acclimatise as you rise in altitude.

I found the average trekking day of 6.5 hours over a long period tough, including 2 days of 9.75 and 9.5 hours--too long. Some tears were shed by me on a couple of days, compounded by the fact that we had not heard from the 7 climbers (which included Andrew and Russell) in a few days so I was relieved when we heard that they were all safe after their mountain climb. I could not have done the trekking without the help and support of Karki and his young assistant guide Bikash. Ross had chosen an excellent trekking company ( an absolute must). Their guides and porters were top and I am so grateful to them. It was apparent from the beginning that the pace was too fast for me, not helped by the fact that I suffered diarrhoea the first 2 days of the trek which was thankfully resolved quickly by 24 hrs of fluid diet followed by Noroxin and Loperamide. Bikash who was my constant companion from wo to go, carried my day pack most of the time, apart from when Russell did. On the more difficult downhill terrain, especially the Gosainkund pass, Bikash was always there to hold out a supportive hand.

I enjoyed greeting each local and fellow trekkers with "Namaste" as we passed by. Sometimes we would pause to chat for awhile--"Are you from Australia?" asked one couple in their scottish twill. "No I am a kiwi." (At this stage I am abit worried that I have taken on the Aussie accent despite only living a year in Oz.) "Oh really" they replied. "Your friends ahead are running!" I replied "Yes, I'm the slow one at the back." They comforted me by "Yes we are too. Good on you. Keep going!" These interludes were very welcome.

An occasional singing bout also helped my progress up and down the hills with eg. "I love to go a wandering", "Show me the way to go home", "The lonely goat-herd" and "Climb every mountain" much to the amusement of Karki and Bikash and the porters! Earlier on Ross even sang a Tararua tramping song, and Andrew a round from his primary school days, both of which I enjoyed very much.

I relished our "not frequent enough" stops at the tea houses dotted along the track, where we could enjoy a sit down and the hospitality of the Nepali operators and their lemon ginger's. For lunch, my favourite was a vegie noodle soup and either a chapati or Tibetan bread-yum! It is surprising how a break and sustenance like this helps.

It was always so good to reach our tea house accommodation at the end of the day to a welcome hot lemon ginger, a quick cold shower, wash some grunds and smelly socks, dinner, catch up with rest of the group, ready to head to bed by 7.30pm and up again at 6 am to start over again!