The Travelling Trooper Hikes Poon Hill And Rings In The New Year With New Friends (Day 4)

The previous night, Prakash and I had decided that the plan for the day would be to take a detour and hike seven hours to a hot water spring.

As soon as I awoke, though, my calves shot that plan down hard. I don’t ever remember feeling that stiff and sore in the morning. I knew there was no way I could hike 7 hours of mostly downhill trekking, then another 6 hours tomorrow–at least, not without doing some serious damage to my legs. I immediately told Prakash, and so the plan was to continue on with our regularly scheduled program. We would continue making our way back towards Pokhara and stop three hours short of where we could grab a taxi back to town. Those last three hours would be for the fifth and last day.

We sat outside for breakfast to enjoy the beautiful view. While waiting for my food, I saw Pieter and Natalie, the Belgian couple, walk by. It was nice to see familiar faces along the hike all the time. You’re never really alone no matter where you are.

We said goodbye to our new group of friends after breakfast. I was almost immediately certain that I’d made the right decision to not hike to the water springs. I was going nice and slow down those steps today.

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After about 75-90 minutes, we had managed to catch up with Pieter and Natalie. They were taking a break, and I was keen to do the same. Apparently Pieter had somehow convinced Natlie to go flying after the hike after all. He initially had his sights set on flying in an Ultralight, but she was worried something might happen. She eventualy agreed to fly to Annapurna basecamp in a helicopter, because by her logic, at least if something went wrong with a helicopter, they’d both die and nobody would have to explain anything to their partner’s parents. (An Ultralight only fits the pilot and one passenger. I had booked an appointment for an Ultralight flight the day after the hike.)

Pieter asked Prakash how far it was to get to the first town where one could get a ride back to Pokhara, and it was only 90 minutes away. They wanted to ring in the New Year in Pokhara. I actually really liked this idea because I was worried we might get stuck in another lifeless hotel like the second night of the hike. I didn’t want to ring in the New Year in a ghost town. Plus, my calves and knees weren’t getting any better. AND I really liked these guys, and so I was excited to spend New Year with them.

And so, we became a foursome!

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We made it to the town without any hiccups and had lunch with this beautiful backdrop behind us.

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We enjoyed a celebratory beer to mark the end of our hike before hopping in a jeep heading back to Pokhara.

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We parted ways in Pokhara and went to our respective hotels for some much needed showers. Later on, we met up at my hotel to head out for dinner and drinks. Before we left, though, a Filipino girl named Leia approached us with some questions about Poona Hill. We gladly answered her questions and invited her to join us for dinner.

And so, a Canadian, two Belgians, a Filipino, and a Nepali rang in 2018 with dinner, drinks, and fireworks. Couldn’t ask for a better night.

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Bring on 2018!

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