Saturday, October 3, 2015

Behind the Scene Trekking Story – Dolpo, Nepal

When the Horseman Acts Like a Horse
Mules Used in Trekking in Nepal
In recent years, we had some luck of organizing some remarkable treks to Lower Dolpo following a thoughtful review and thread started by one of our clients also added by more clients and other visitors on trip advisor travel site.  In this year 2015, even after the damaging earthquake, we have been able to keep holding our Dolpo trek clients.  Two groups booked for this year are currently in end of first week of their trek and I have already got this story to share about their trek!

As my name is posted as guide on the reviews on trip advisor, obviously the clients want myself to be guide for the trek. But to both groups I was able to convince that, I was busy for something else so I could not be their guide.  If they trust our team's services, we can still manage a capable guide but I won't be trekking with them – this was told and they had agreed to go without me.  At the pre-trip meeting, while they saw me in Kathmandu and not leading their trek, I had to clarify that, I was not busy for other trek but was engaged to re-construct my house.  One of the clients, had also asked that, he had heard that, sometimes, local trekking staff make problem drinking too much and he was curious if our staff do that and if the guides are aware of it!  For me, it was not uncommon concern but I was not sure if the guides were as aware.  After this question was raised I had instructed our guides to be extra careful related to drinks that can take place in local 'tea' places or in camps sometimes. 

Well, the trek started after worrying (not only due to its location across the mountain but also due to weather) flight to Juphal and our guides managed to update me everything is going good.  On the day three (two days back from now), I happened to call to our guide wanting to know if they reached to Phoksundo the beautiful lake you see in the movie Himalaya. Sure enough to my gut they were just setting the tent after long days walk but the guide gave me news of serious situation that our horsemen decided to abandon the trek. For two groups of clients we had employed 11 mules and three horsemen.  We have already paid most money to them and we can't replace that many workforces by any means at that place.  I felt like the ground below me was sinking down.  I was speechless at first but we had to find out the solution.  I first focused on what was the wrong to them from our side?  At the beginning our guides said the lunch that day was late and they were so angry.  However later found out that the anger was piled up that one of the earlier evenings horseman spent longer time at didi's tea place and our cook didn't offer dinner as he came after everyone already slept. 

I wanted to talk to the horseman but wasn't possible.  But our guides managed to convince them, after paying extra rupee for the delayed lunch on the day they arrived at Phuksundo.  The following morning, luckily a rest day, our team informed me things are under control and they are working again.  This drama behind the smooth trekking is not seen by our clients for good but I think it's worth sharing as it has so many prospective including how easily your trip can turn in to turmoil without any mistake of your guide or your host.  For some reason, we always employ people instead of horse for Dolpo trek but this time it was our cook who urged me to send mules as it is cheaper.  

Needless to mention, Dolpo trek is not to make profit but it's to feel happy about offering work to my collogues and myself and of course, to promote our work for the future treks.  The main reason why we don't make money on this trek is the trekking starting point is reached only after long drive plus 4 days walk or expensive flight for our staff.  So horse was better choice but it almost ruined the whole thing right there. Today, 6yh day of the trip is the day both groups go over the high passes where there is no telephone connection for next 2 or 3 days at least.  My all fingers are crossed for their safety and specially the horseman to act as human for rest of the trip.

Before stopping, let it be the behind the scene of the trek, and if you want to know further behind the scene not mentioned here in the post promise me to be next Dolpo client ok.  Have nice time everyone :) 

Also Enjoy Our Guide Furi Jumping Off the Phoksundo Lake Shore While Trekking With Me in 2014