I just came back from a two week trekking adventure in the Manaslu Valley. This trek is one of the most pleasant trekking routes. The valley is located in the western part of Nepal and is also known as the Larkya Pass route (the highest point you pass on your journey – 5142 meters). My trekkers had the opportunity to see Mount Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world (8156 meters ). It is the highest peak in the Lamjung District and is located about forty miles east of Annapurna. Its name means “Mountain of the Spirit”, so I let you guess what we did when we saw it. We looked at it quietly and peacefully and felt very grateful we were able to be there. Its majesty made us feel very small!
My trekkers also loved seeing the amazing Himalayan ranges. The natural beauty of this trek will indeed amaze you. You can see some wild animals and wild birds there. I believe there are over 110 species of birds. I honestly have to tell you that I don’t know every single one of them! We unfortunately (or fortunately) did not see any snow leopards. Monks are trying to protect the wildlife there by putting a hunting ban in place.
We walked across a very interesting diversity of religions and cultures (strong continuing links to Tibet in the upper Buri Gandaki – called Nupri ‘the western mountains’ – and the Tsum Valley). It is culturally fascinating. There are two ethnicities mainly inhabiting this region: Nubri and Tsum. While Nubri has been frequently visited after Nepal opened itself for the tourism in 1950, Tsum, still retains much of its traditional culture, art, and tradition. In the central hills of the region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group who have joined the Gurkha army in large numbers. Closer to Tibet, the Bhutias, related to the Sherpa group and of Tibetan ethnicity dominate the scene. They are distinctly Buddhists. The region has a lot of monasteries that you can sometimes visit. The faith of non-violence and compassion helps to increase the wildlife diversity of the region.
Of course the trek is not only about history and culture, it is also about the physical challenge. Crossing a pass at more than 5000 meters is not an easy thing, but the progression of the trek allows you to have a perfect acclimatization. We hiked up in the mountains little by little every day, so our bodies were acclimatized. We made it across the Larkya La (“La” means “pass” in Nepali) without any problem! My trekkers were very happy and satisfied and we celebrated our success with an excellent dinner and some good laughs!
The way down was easy and beautiful. It is so difficult not to stop every minute to take pictures! The view is so breathtaking. My trekkers always tell me that hiking the Himalayas can be a challenge but at the end they all agree they would do it all again in a second.
So… See you soon in the Manaslu Valley!