Challenge yourself with a 3 Sisters Adventure Trek and help empower the women of Nepal
By Jennifer Doherty
Looking for a challenge in retirement, then start training for a trekking adventure in Nepal and join one of the many treks offered by the 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company. At the same time you will be helping to empower the girls and women of Nepal to a better life.
3 Sisters Adventure Trekking was set up in 1998 by the Chhetri Sisters – Lucky, Dicky & Nicky who are now seeing the benefits of training and empowering a new generation of strong, confident women of Nepal who can contribute to the future of their country.
Soon after setting up the trekking company they set up the NGO, Empowering the Women of Nepal (EWN) to work in partnership to train and encourage more Nepalese women to become self-supportive, independent, decision-makers.
Once trekking operations in Nepal were only led by men, but the very capable, well- trained and experienced guides of 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking truly can make your trek a very special experience.
With our guide Sita Rai, we took on the challenge of the 10 day Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek and soon learned many things from her, how to climb up steps and not be breathless (and in Nepal there are endless stone steps leading up and down the mountains), how to stay motivated when times get tough and how to succeed in your challenge to make it to base camp and feel that great sense of achievement when you do.
For first time trekkers like us who are reasonably fit and walk a lot we suddenly realized that trekking in the Himalayas is much different stamina wise to a bush-walk in the Blue Mountains. It’s the challenge of walking day on day for ten days that requires more than just physical strength.
The ten day Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek takes you through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you could imagine. We trekked in the month of April which is Springtime in Nepal and the spectacular rhododendron forests were in full bloom and the mountains were swathed in pink & red foliage.
Walking every day is different and exciting, sometimes through farmland, bamboo groves, lush rainforest and then alpine scenery once you reach Macchapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) and finally Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) about two hours further up. Along the way you can enjoy the beautiful trees and foliage, and pretty wildflowers that bloom right up to Annapurna Base Camp.
And you can actually see beautiful birds you’ve never seen before in your life and hear beautiful birdsong every moment of your trek along the Modi Khola river gorge which leads up to Annapurna Sanctuary & Base Camp. We were delighted to see a brilliant turquoise and black Grandala on the track to Annapurna Base Camp as well as the little fork tail, spotted fork tail, barbets, bush chats as well as a woodpecker and a cuckoo in the birch forest. As we called back to the cuckoo it moved from tree to tree following us for more than twenty minutes. We were told by our guide Sita who is an avid birdwatcher that there are 883 species of birds in Nepal.
We were also very lucky to see the silver grey black faced langur monkeys who live in the rainforest jumping from tree to tree above our heads. Trekkers have encountered them sometimes on the track in the forest in a surprise encounter.
The villages along the way where you stay each night are basically a number of lodges and restaurants that cater well to the trekkers passing through. Most of these have a main dining room where you eat your meals and meet trekkers from all over the world. The diet is mostly good trekker’s food with lots of carbs like pasta, pizza, rice and curry as well as the Nepalese staple dal bhat which consists of curry, vegetables, lentil soup and rice. 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking provide the backpacks and limit them to 10kg for their staff to carry, and then you just need to carry your daypack with water, protein bars and chocolates for some high energy snacks along the way.
Along the route there are amazing views of the Himalayas right from the third day at Ghorepani where you can trek up Poon Hill to see the sunrise. The balcony of our lodges at Tadapani and Chomrong provided sensational views of the Himalayas
But of course the best views are stupendous when you reach the end of the river gorge and enter the Annapurna Sanctuary and Base Camp where you have 360c views of the Himalayas including Annapurna South (7,219m), the world’s tenth highest peak Annapurna 1 (8,091m), Annapurna 3 (7,555m), Machhapuchhre (6,997m) which is well known as Fish Tail mountain, and the Mardi Himal (5,553m). The massive Annapurna South Glacier carves its way to the edge of base camp which we were told might have to be moved sometime in the future.
Most treks usually include one night only at Annapurna Base Camp because of limited accommodation, there are four lodges and restaurants based there, but if nothing is available at ABC trekkers stay at Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC) and do the 4.30am trek up to Annapurna Base Camp for the sunrise.
Now, to say the Annapurna Base Camp is as easy as ABC would be stretching it, it takes a lot of effort, sometimes up to eight hours a day walking up and down those stone steps but the reward when you reach the Annapurna Sanctuary with the incredible views of the Himalayas are truly spectacular and worth the effort.
For recovery you can spend a few days in the relaxing surrounds of lakeside Pokhara where you can enjoy boating on the beautiful Phewa Lake, have a massage to ease the muscle pains at the wonderful Middle Path Spa and refuel at top restaurants like Rosemary’s Kitchen and OR2K.
For detailed information on all the treks being offered by 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking visit the website: www.3sistersadventure.com
You can even donate or volunteer your time or skills with the NGO, Empowering Women of Nepal – Website: https://empoweringwomenofnepal.wordpress.com/
Words and images: Jennifer Doherty