Sneak peak: Scoping out the Reach Higher Indrawati trekking adventure

We’ve been cooking up some exciting plans to launch ethical trekking adventures in remote Nepal. And ahead of the official launch, we thought we’d give you a sneak peak of what is to come, since on our recent board visit to Nepal we gave the Indrawati trek a test run. Verdict: awesome.

The idea with offering ethical trekking adventures is to tap into the skill set of our CEO (who just happens to be one of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers and, by the way, ran a trekking company for 20 years) to give you the opportunity to:

  • Visit remote communities and see HDFA in action
  • See the real Nepal, staying with families, eating with the locals, avoiding tourist traps
  • Get totally off the beaten track: it’s just your group and the spectacular mountains. You are unlikely to see any other tourists
  • Know that the proceeds from your trek are supporting the communities you visit

The Indrawati trek is entry-level, requiring reasonably good fitness (but nothing out of the ordinary), and which you can do in as little as a week, door to door.

Our trek went like this: travelling from Kathmandu seven hours north up into the serious mountains and arriving in the Indrawati region, we spent a couple of days trekking between villages to see HDFA’s work in action and experience Tamang mountain culture. We met many wonderful people in the community, visited farms and schools, ate stinging nettle soup – surprisingly delicious – and were treated to a traditional song and dance by the local lama, among other adventures.

Our biggest day of trekking took us up and over the ridge, where the jungle came straight out of Tolkien and the spectacular path was cut through by waterfalls and dotted with sacred resting spots adorned with mantra-covered mani stones, sometimes lying in ruin because of the earthquake, sometimes standing strong. We took a break every once in a while and fired up our little stove to make coffee and tomato soup. Heavenly. Our group was lucky enough to spot four rare Himalayan Red Pandas and zero western tourists. 

We stopped in the evening at the small village of Lhakhang, a high point atop the Helambu valley to the west, in Sherpa territory. Bunking in together in a Sherpa home for the night, we marvelled at the Ama la’s collection of enormous pots and pans, then wound down playing cards and eating some weird dehydrated food that made us feel like true extreme adventurers (I mean, who else apart from astronauts and mountaineers would eat this stuff?). 

Setting off next morning we climbed back over the saddle pass, from where the final ascent to the peak of Ama Yangri begins. From this peak (3,800 meters), the highest in the Kathmandu valley and an important pilgrimage site for Nepalis, trekkers can gaze across at the Langtang range of snow mountains, beyond which lies the border with Tibet.

Trekking down to the village of Tarke Gyang we entered a monastic town where a local form of Tibetan Buddhism thrives. We spent the night at a Himalayan tea house, enjoying more Sherpa hospitality and a few beers, and taking the time to reflect on the amazing journey we had experienced. Finally, it was back to Kathmandu.

The experience has allowed us to fine tune the treks we will now offer to adventurous Aussies. So when are you going? Mid-October through to May are the ideal trekking months. You can make a group of your own or see who else is interested by contacting Lisa at our partner agency Big Heart Adventures. While we are yet to officially launch, it’s not too soon to start making your travel plans and book in. If you want to go, we’ll make it happen!

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