Other accounts and travel writings

Dolpo - Dolpo, Nepal

TREKKING IN NEPAL – LOWER DOLPO, SHEY-PHOKSUNDO

Walkopedia friend NICK INCE walked in Lower Dolpo in 2018: this is his account below (and see his photos around this page). Thank you, Nick.

In November 2018 I joined the first trek of Nomadic Skies Expeditions to the Shey-Phoksundo area of Lower Dolpo in western Nepal. Nomadic Skies aims to provide greater benefits and deeper links to the local communities from greater contact with visitors. The expedition took ten days, hiking from the airstrip at Juphal up the Suli Gad river to Ringmo and Lake Phoksundo, and then back again, with two days spent at Ringmo.

The expedition used mules to carry the main baggage between campsites and was accompanied by nepali guides and helpers.

After a scenic flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal the first day involved a short hike down to a campsite on the Beri river. We coincided with the start of Diwali so the route took us past several groups of schoolchildren parading their song and dance routines through the local villages and there was a real holiday atmosphere.

The walk up to Ringmo then took us up the Suli Gad valley and was spread over four days, camping overnight at villages on the way. The valley is steep sided and extensively forested, with a well used track that criss crosses the river over a variety of bridges. There were frequent encounters with local mule trains, Dolpo families relocating to lower accommodation for the winter and Nepali hikers taking a Diwali holiday.

The two days at Ringmo were spent exploring the local countryside with local guides, hiking up the Devils path round Lake Phoksundo and visits to local families and the Bon monastery. We then took three days to hike back down the Suli Gad to Juphal and the flight out.

As we visited in November the sun rose late over the hills and set early and the nights were cold but most days saw blue skies and sunshine. The area is in the rain shadow of Dhaulagiri so when the clouds did gather the air stayed dry and dusty in the more open valleys. The harvest had been recently gathered and was being threshed and sorted on the house roofs and the fields were bare.

During the trek we saw blue sheep, langhur monkeys, many birds and also musk deer sign and memorably a trail of snow leopard prints.

The trekking was not strenuous and the focus was on meeting the Dolpo-pa and taking time to get an understanding of their lives and the area they live in.

By Nick Ince ()

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