After saying goodbye to the others we headed back to Pokhara to revisit my favourite place and do a couple of things we missed. Pokhara is not only a hub for trekking but it is also right by a couple of rivers making it white water rafting territory. We had planned to do a two day rafting trip with a night camping on a beach. Unfortunately the timing was against us and we had just missed one so had to wait several days. We decided to just do a one day rip instead and while we waited for it we got to explore Pokhara a bit more.
We decided that this time we would hire a boat and row it on the lake ourselves so we jumped in and James took the oars like the gentleman he is. So we set off and it wasnt until we got to the middle of the lake and gone around in circles for a little while we realised we didn’t really have a plan so we just sat and bobbed. It wasn’t the most productive of boat rides but was a great way to take in the scenery.
The next day was slightly more extreme than a boat ride as me and James both did our first ever paraglide. We arranged a glide from the top of the mountains that flank the lake and after getting strapped in with our guides we ran off the hill and had an amazing experience. Tony, my guide had been paragliding for eight years and as we floated he told me all about how it works. He found a hot air pocket and took me flying over the mountain I had just jumped off, soaring over an eagle and then across the lake. It was so much fun just sitting there and feeling like you are flying and the view was incredible. Due to cloud cover we didn’t get to see the peaks of the mountains but we did get a sunny day and blue sky making Pokhara and the Pewha Lake look gorgeous. I love heights so I wasn’t scared at all and only disappointed it couldn’t go on forever. I was however scared of the landing, I’m incredibly clumsy and so I was expecting to end up with another muddy backside but the landing went smoothly. Thank god! It wasn’t until after my flight that I found out Tony competes in the world championships so I was definitely in good hands. It is hard to beat my day riding elephants but paragliding over that lake has quickly topped my favourite moments so far.
With our feet firmly on the ground we hit the tourist trail and headed to Devi’s Fall. The waterfall is found in the older part of Pokhara and is a popular spot to walk to. We took the cheaters way and jumped in a taxi and went through the entrance gate to check it out. It wasn’t a tall rumbling fall like I was expecting but it was still pretty. You could see people swimming in the rock pool inlets further along before the water dropped off into the falls. The whole place was covered in mist and since we were there at dusk it was another gorgeous setting that Pokhara offers.* Conveniently accross the road is the Gupteswor Mahadev cave that is home to a shiva temple. To get in you had to wander down dank slimy stairs into a dimly lit enclosed space. I’m claustrophobic and the constant dripping gave me the heebie jeebies so as you can imagine I didn’t last long in there. The shrine itself is lit and full of colour from prayer flags, flowers and offerings – it would be gorgeous if it wasn’t in such a creepy setting.
Finally our white water rafting day was upon us which was great but it meant an early morning start and another bumpy bus ride. We arrived around 11 and had a quick introduction to rafting before we all jumped in the boat and set off. Our boat was an interesting one as we had our Nepali guide who only spoke the required english to raft, two Chinese people who were both scared out of their wits and four eastern European men who didnt speak much English but were put at the front because they were strong. As soon as we left the Riverbank we were straight into the rapids and I had a great time splashing and rowing through them. Unfortunately that was pretty much the most exciting part as much of the trip was just low rapids or floating downstream. Which was probably a good thing because after the rapids the front four guys were still discussing what the guides instructions meant. Didn’t really give me much hope if the rapids did get big!
The weather was hot and sunny so when we had the chance to swim James jumped straight in. I was slightly more reserved and settled for a dip at lunchtime. The water was so nice and cool and we got constantly splashed as we went through the rapids so I wasn’t really going to mind if I fell in the water. Turns out that I only fell inside the boat on one big bump and the only person to fall out was our guide. Next swim stop though we all jumped straight in and floated along for a few minutes. Trying to get us all in the boat while avoiding kicking each other or landing on our oars was absolute chaos but I will admit this was where the strong Europeans came in handy.
As always the fun stuff was over too quickly and we docked at a little inlet 25 kms downstream from where we started. Our trip included lunch which was served to us in a roadside shack and I thought to myself, if I am going to get food poisoning this is where it will be. I didn’t thankfully, and I learned to reserve my judgment a little as the meal was delicious and after three hours in the sun paddling down a river we all wolfed it down. After getting changed in a room with eggs in one corner and a hammock in th James and I jumped on a local bus back to Pokhara. I was dreading the crowded full busses I had been imagining but as we were westerners we pretty much cleared the backseat and had lots of space to ourselves. The bus ride was interesting as we stopped, and people (and their produce) jumped on and off and especially since the lack of suspension made the bus rock more then our rafting boat. At one staged we flew out of our seats so much James hit his head and I had to hold on to two seats in front of me so I didnt fly down the aisle.
We had a recovery day in Pokhara after three busy days and it was so much fun to wander the shops, eat in the great restaurants and sip a beer at sunset by the lake. I had had such a great time, both times that I was bummed to leave but I was also ready to explore more of Nepal and head back to India.
* if you can’t tell, I really really love Pokha