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July 2010 - Annapurna update

With the building of roads throughout this area there are now big changes to this trek. The 'gravel road' on both sides of the Thorung La is capable of carrying a range of vehicles including vans, trucks, motorbikes, minibuses, jeeps, and large 4x4 s and this will change the way many people view this trek in the future.

At Besi Sahar, the start of the trek, where the existing tarmac road ends, the gravel road now continues beyond Syange and is under construction to continue to Manang.

The road will end at Manang and various side treks and diversions are possible in the Pisang and Manang area - the more remote villages of Nar and Phu make an interesting alternative trek and can take a number of days.

On the west side of Thorung La it is now possible to travel on the road all the way to Muktinath from Pokhara. (or Kathmandu but a vehicle change is necessary)

On both sides of the Thorung La there are sections where the road and original trail are on opposite sides of the river. This does however still cause a conflict of interests with locals and trekkers. While the locals see the road as an improvement to their lives and the ability to move goods etc. more easily, it is not conducive to trekkers having to use this for many days back to Pokhara.

In recent times development of new trails are being considered but this will take time to materialise. In some places other trails, less developed, are possible and our guides are looking at the use of these. Meanwhile we suggest that if clients wish to trek this area they trek in from the area of Besi Sahar, over the Thorang La to Jomsom, spend a day or so going to Kagbeni which is an interesting area, also to Marpha, and then fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and Kathmandu

Nepal Trekking in Nepal:

With the ongoing political uncertainty the last year in Kathmandu has been one of reflection and some change. In Kathmandu we always seem to have a 'full house' with various members of 'extended families' as they come and go from the villages, either to take part in a college courses or some other advanced course and with some younger children at school staying with us during holiday periods. All of which makes for busy times amidst power cuts, water shortages and price rises!

The children in Kathmandu continue to make progress in school. In April, Nepali New Year 2067, Tshiring moved into class 10 and is discovering what 'hard work' means as he works towards the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) to be taken later in this school year. This is equivalent to GCSE but as always it could be a testing time! In Pangum village the children also continue to make progress at school. Mingma's eldest daughter Pema Yangji is now back in Kathmandu and is about to complete her training as a nurse/community medical health assistant and will then have to find some work and a job later this year.

Yet again, in the present unstable political climate in Nepal it is difficult to see what the future holds for all the students and young people, we can only hope it will change for the better sooner rather than later.

Once again we are very grateful to everyone who gives us support for our work direct in Nepal. Support both financially and with the continued supply of clothing for children and adults in the villages and in Kathmandu, also to those who make available medical supplies for Khunde Hospital high in the Khumbu. Our projects are ongoing and we look forward to continued support in the months and years ahead.

Denis and all the Nepal Trekking Family