At the hostel I made a good friend, Andrew from Yakutia in Russia. He’s a Mongolian Russian full of energy and a love for nature — not surprising as at home he is surrounded by wilderness with 35°C summers and -55°C winters!
Elena rejoined me from Varanasi so the 3 of us headed off for a days hiking to a spot Andrew knew involving a pool and waterfall — I was definitely in if there’s a waterfall! The hike took us mainly along dusty roads but we soon made our way out of town with residential areas changing to rice paddies and finally some steps down into a river gorge.
Above is the view of the steps from the bottom. When we arrived at the top, 3 very old ladies were a few steps from the top — further proof that Nepali are superior in endurance as it’s not a light climb by any means!
So back on story: the 3 of us ascended the steps to the river bed and I could already near waterfalls much to my excitement. After a hop over some scrub and through a shallow flow, we came to this:
It was beautiful and the white noise of the water was music to my ears! Not only was the water extremely clear but after Andrew went in, I tested the water to find it quite warm! Luckily I was wearing swimmers for underwear — a bike packing trick — and I soon followed.
This was the first time I’d ever swam in a natural waterfall and what an amazing experience it was to feel the drops land on me, the ability to swim underneath and a wonderful natural experience. Elena soon joined us and climbed the fall to investigate a pool further up. After about an hour we all got out and headed out along the river gorge.
ABOVE: 1. Andrew leads the way. 2. The swim pool fall from underneath. 3. One of the many cable bridges along the gorge. 4. A huge waterfall further along. 5. Andrew loving the river crossings.
It was on this hike where I learnt that waterproof shoes aren’t always a good idea. After taking my shoes off, drying my feet and putting them back on twice in short succession, I just kept them on and hiked with wet shoes! Unlike what I assumed would happen, it was a pleasant experience — something I found odd when I read about others choosing non-waterproof shoes in their online tales of hiking.
We trekked a lot of the river, almost all the way back to the lake in main town and we saw some beautiful clear blue river and some mild whitewater too. I didn’t take too many pictures during the route as we were talking and enjoying our surroundings, like all good bikes should be!