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Hiking Sherpa land: The Hunt of the red panda

Hiking Sherpa land: The Hunt of the red panda

March 2020 · 5 min read · Syaphru

These are dark and troubled times, times we're all have to stay home, to be alone, we have to cancel our hollyday plans and we have to pray for our families and friends. It seems the whole wide world is out of control, it's a mess, the end of an era when we had the chance to discover the world and visit places far away from home. There we found friends and saw things that were strange and great... it's over.

This North Face girl stopped smiling.
This North Face girl stopped smiling.

But now let me take you with me to a distant land that is completely inaccessible to any of us right now. And let me tell you some pictureque stories from another time and another place: Nepal, the kingdom of the Himalaya. Follow me and believe: One day we all get back the chance to fly and ride and found out how it it where we not at home.

This is part four of our ride, read part 3 here

River deep, mountain high. (Ike&Tina Turner)
River deep, mountain high. (Ike&Tina Turner)

Another Nepal morning. From the place in front of the lodge one can guess the further distance. Once down and up again, then once past the mountain, then up again, down again and up again. Somewhere there Thare Pati is supposed to be, one can see a few roofs from a distance, that's all.

If you have something to pray, you can do it anywhere.
If you have something to pray, you can do it anywhere.

The ridge running from north to south and to Thare Pati forms the watershed between the Indrawati in the east and the Trisuli in the west, our guide Udaya says. What about Indrawati? What trisuli? Well, the Indrawati is a right tributary of the Sunkoshi, which runs on the southern slope of a mountain range that closes the river valley of the Langtang Khola to the south.

Down there is the next point to go up.
Down there is the next point to go up.

The source of the river is located within the Langtang National Park, whose glaciers feed the river. The river Trishuli, on the other hand, comes down from China, or more precisely from Tibet, where it has its source in the highlands and then flows south through the main Himalayan ridge. The breakthrough valley can be guessed but not seen, because the mountain massifs of Langtang Himal in the east and Ganesh Himal in the west rise up to the sky.

Seeing is believing.
Seeing is believing.

Man here is a tiny dwarf, wandering disorientated between giants. The paths are well laid out, the air is clear as at the sea. The forest here consists of red wood, and the red panda are said to live in it. If we don't see them, says Udaya, a second chance will come: there are some in the Zoo in the german town Hannover (picture).

The Red Panda we’re hunting for.
The Red Panda we’re hunting for.

But we got lucky: A Russian couple comes towards us - they have just seen a panda! Hurry hurry, fast, fast, but quiet! Really. But at the spot the russian guys marked, the beast is no longer there. Red Pandas are very rare and very shy animals, says Udaya. Only very rarely do tourists manage to see one of the cat bears that feed on bamboo.

Buddha is everywhere.
Buddha is everywhere.

But you can see lots of rhododendron trees that bloom in spring and never run away. We are now in Sherpa land, which is replacing the Tamang settlements. Officially the people here are not allowed to call themselves Sherpas, because the Khumbu Sherpa in Nepal claim this name exclusiv for themselves.

Looking down to a flock of birds. (right)
Looking down to a flock of birds. (right)

Therefore, the people here have given themselves the name "Lama" to emphasize that Helambu and Yolmo are ancient tribal regions of Tibetan Buddhism. This cannot be overlooked when wandering through, as countless sites here are dedicated to the work of the saint and magician Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century.

Look at this beauty.
Look at this beauty.

But old traditions here are also a big problem. For example, the custom of exchanging one's daughters for new roofs of your hut: the bridegroom gets the girl, the father of the bride gets a new tin roof. Once you know this, you will have a completely different view of the stone huts in the small villages, almost all of which have been newly roofed. Sometimes the bride was beautiful enough for even a small solar electric system that shines in the morning sun.

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Every roof has it’s own story.
Every roof has it’s own story.

The Pangdo Pass near Mangengoth at 3,200 meters is then climbed again in pouring rain. In the midday lodge a guitar is lying around, but it has only four strings. After the first tuning attempt there are only three more. The host is not angry. A tourist left this thing behind, a few years ago already. Nobody knows how to play it, he say.

It is always a long way to go.
It is always a long way to go.

In the afternoon we go downhill and then uphill again, because the daily destination Thare Pati is at 3.500 meters. In principle, the ridge of the Yangri Danda with the holy mountain Ama Yangri at 3771 meters you could see from here. But it is foggy and it gets dark quickly. For dinner at the smoking oven fire we have tomato soup out of a bag, which tastes like garlic. The price for a bottle of Everest has risen to 400 rupees. The transport routes to this place are just long and the streets are rough.

Some more pictures:

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Expensive beer here.
Expensive beer here.

Deep lakes at the highest points
Deep lakes at the highest points

Another german bakery at the end of the world
Another german bakery at the end of the world

Travel Resources for your trip to Nepal

Recommended by TravelFeed

Flights: We recommend checking Kiwi.com to find the best and cheapest flights to Nepal.

Accomodation: Explore the best places to stay in Nepal on Booking.com, Agoda and Hostelworld.

Travel Insurance: Medical emergencies abroad can be pricey, but travel health insurance is not. We always use SafetyWing for affordable and reliable coverage.

Transportation: Use 12go and Omio to find detailed bus and train schedules, making travel planning easier.

Car Rental: For hassle-free car hiring, DiscoverCars is our trusted choice with a wide selection of vehicles.

Internet: Got an eSIM compatible phone? Airalo is perfect for reliable internet access during your trip. Just install it before you go, and you're set!

Day Trips & Tours: We recommend GetYourGuide for a variety of well-organized and enjoyable activities.

Tickets: Save on entrance fees in Nepal with Klook and Tiquets.

Travel Planner: Need a hand planning? Our free travel planner chatbot is your personal guide to Nepal. Chat now.

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