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Posts Tagged ‘Unipal’

Downhill Unicycling in the Himalayas

Another cool video from Nicola, shot during Unipal, the Himalaya’s Unicycle Tour.

Yes, we really do pedal that quickly!

More unipal albums

Here are some pics from Stefan Carpentier:

Unipal: Nicola’s video

Beautiful video of our Himalayas Unicycle Tour:

Unipal: Day 10 Chame to Tal

It would be another tough day or riding, without any of our scheduled rest days, as we had to head to Tal, which was slightly beyond our starting point of Bagarchap.  However, being downhill, it was also incredibly fun.  We had lunch at our first guesthouse in Bagarchap- then followed the river all the way to Tal. There was a large swingbridge to cross, followed by an incredible sets of rock steps carved into the side of the cliff.

We arrived in Tal, which is a village in a secluded little valley by the river.  It was time to say goodbye to our Porters and their leader Mingma Sherpa.  They had been an incredible team, never complaining whilst each carrying 30kg of gear, not to mention evacuating Bruce in the middle of the night during a snowstorm.

It was Nepalese New Year, and the locals in the village partied well into the night, with loud music that resonated through the whole valley.

Unipal: Day 7 Manang to Yak Kharka 4000m

Todays ride would take us up to 4000m, which is higher than most people in the group had been to before.  We started by weaking through the backstreets of the old village in Manang, with many alleyways, before heading up the hill towards Yak Kharka.  There were several ‘Stupa’ stops, where we had a chance to take in the views.

We stopped a beautiful teahouse that looked out at the mountains, before proceeding along the trail.  It was all singletrack riding from Manang, which was not overly technical but a lot of fun riding.  We crossed one of the longest swing bridges on the tour so far, which was slightly disconcerting on a unicycle.

When we arrived in Yak Kharka we took huddled into the teahouse with hot soup, lemon tea and other beverages.  It started snowing when we arrived, but an intrepid group decided to go for a walk up the hill with our guide Dawa.

Later in the evening, one our group members, Bruce, developed quite severe acute mountain sickness, so we had to send him down with 6 porters taking turns carrying him to Manang in the middle of the night (whilst it was snowing!).

Unipal: Day 6 Manang rest day

It was great day for sleeping in, washing clothes, doing some shopping, except for those of us who were sick!  Several of our party, including myself (Ken) come down with a tummy bug.

After breakfast, a small group went for a 3-4 hour hike up to an old glacier.   The others explored the village, which was a good place for buying clothes, shoes, hats and other trekking supplies.

In the afternoon we headed to see a movie at the local theatre, which was showing “Seven Years in Tibet”.  It was a cosy little theatre complete with fireplace and popcorn!

Some of the medically inclined went to a lecture by the Himalayan Rescue Association, which covered aspects of mountain medicine including altitude sickness, gastro-illness, frostbite and other general health issues in the mountains. It was a very interesting talk presented by the US doctors who were working there at the time.

Unipal: Day 5 Pisang to Manang 3540m

Another beautiful days riding…the track was relatively smooth ‘Nepali Flat’, framed by gorgeous Himalayan peaks.

We stopped for a break at Humbe, which has one of the highest airports in the world.

Manang is a bustling village complete with it’s own movie theatres, plenty of trekking shops, hotels, and a medical centre.  Those of us who arrived early were busy tucking into chocolate cake, apple pies and other delicious fare at the hotel tea shop.

We were pleasantly surprised to bump into unicyclist Steve Colligan, who, unbeknownst to us, was in Nepal with his family!

Unipal: Day 4 Chame to Pisang 3300m

After a hearty breakfast we were very much looking forward to todays ride. It was described by our guide Dawa as ‘Nepali flat’, which roughly translates to hilly, with ups and downs, but probably more up than down.

Many of us had found yesterdays riding a little challenging, with a lot of hiking up steep sections. Todays ride, in contrast, was on much smoother trail. Notwithstanding that it was ‘Nepali flat’, it was also much more rideable.

There was some snow on the road as we crossed some forests along a little valley, and various swing bridges to cross.  We arrived in Pisang just before 3pm, which gave us plenty of time to explore the village before dinner.  We were staying in lower Pisang, but upper Pisang was across the river and up  a very steep mountain overlooking the valley.

A group of us made the hike up to upper Pisang, with it’s gorgeous  views of the village and river below.  When we arrived at the monastery perched at the top, we were offered hot lemon tea by the monks…absolute bliss!

Unipal: Day 3 Bagarchap to Chame 2630m

After the exhausting ride the day before, our riders were raring to go.  All our unicycles were intact, despite the rough transfer the day before.

We had our group photo with some of the Annapurna peaks in the background, and then headed off up the trail.  It was a beautiful day with amazing views of the mountains rising up to the sky.  The riding was, however, quite difficult, with a lot of steep climbs littered with boulders.  Our route along the Marshyangi river led us across some amazing waterfalls along the way, and the rhododendrons were out in bloom.

Unipal Day 2: Kathmandu to Bagarchap

Today was our transfer day, so were were up for a bright early 6am breakfast.

Because the trip started in the Annapurna region, we had to do a road transfer to our starting village of Bagarchap.  Jason and Blair had warned us it would be long day, with about 9hrs driving, but we weren’t counting on a general strike across the country.

Due to some difficult to understand local politics, most the Nepal had shut down for general strike action. This meant that travel was restricted and most shops were closed.  Luckily, the army which set up roadblocks at every town were still letting tourist buses through. However, we had a mandatory stop at all road blocks, which meant that travel was slow and tedious.  On the other hand, it gave us a chance to stretch the legs, and some riders even getting involved in a cricket match with the locals.

It was well past mid-day by the time our bus rolled into the lunch stop.  We hungrily wolfed down the buffet, enjoying the magnificent splendour of the Himalayas now rising before us.

After lunch, our tour bus could no longer take us further, as it was a rough 30km jeep track to our starting village of Bagarchap.  After a furter delay, we got into our convoy of 4WD jeeps.  It was fun for about an hour, as the jeeps negotiated the impossibly steep road into the Annapurnas, negotiating boulder sized rocks with steep drop offs along the way.  The novelty soon wore off, however, as our backsides and spines felt the effects of the trail.  It was getting dark, so we would be arriving rather late to Bagarchap.

At least two of our jeeps fell to pieces, with one losing the driveshaft and requiring roadside repair.  At one stage, all the riders had to get out of the jeep to walk across a dangerous section of the track with our flashlights. We were told there was a cliff on the side and only the drivers would put their lives at risk!

By the time we arrived in Bagarchap, were were exhausted and ready for bed. We had been travelling for 16 hours! Our hosts did have a hot meal waiting, but after wolfing it down, we headed to bed, covered in soot from the 4WD adventure.