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Trekking in Nepal offers thrilling adventure

GHOREPANI, NEPAL – Dawn’s golden light caught the tops of the snowcapped Himalayas

and gradually crept downward as the rising sun lit up a sweeping arc of soaring peaks, at once forbidding and starkly beautiful. The stunning vista from the top of Poon Hill — at 3,193 meters, the highest point of our family’s six-day trek in Nepal — was among many highlights of a “Lord of the Rings”-like adventure through lush forests, terraced fields and traditional villages nestled above plunging valleys. Sometimes the going was tough — like hiking two hours up steep, stone steps. Other times, we walked along gently undulating woodland paths. Along the way, there were rewards: children who ran to greet us (sometimes asking for money or candy), wildflowers beside the path, breathtaking views and cups of hot masala tea at cute little rest stops. If you’re looking for a family adventure that immerses you in nature, beauty and a fascinating culture — and you’re willing to rough it some — consider trekking in Nepal. Our two boys, 12 and 10, loved the experience. One of my older son’s favorite parts was the camaraderie with other trekkers from around the world in common rooms at the “tea houses,” or simple lodges where we stayed. Children as young as 8 or 9 could handle the popular 65-km Ghandruk-Ghorepani-Poon Hill loop we hiked, located just south of the Annapurna Range. Small children can be carried on the backs of porters. We hiked four to six hours daily, depending on the trail’s difficulty, usually reaching our destination by 3 p.m., allowing time to relax before supper. With good weather, this route will give you stunning views of a string of mountains, including Annapurna I (8,091 meters), 10th-tallest in the world; Machapuchre, or “Fishtail,” with its distinctively shaped peak; and the towering Dhaulagiri (8,172 meters), the world’s seventh-tallest. Mount Everest, located 300 km to east, isn’t visible on this loop. The circuit starts and ends near the lakeside town of Pokhara, central Nepal’s trekking hub.
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