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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rafting the Seti River

Our time in Nepal is winding down… and we are having such mixed feelings about leaving! As a grand finale, we planned to raft through the “middle hills” down to the flat Terai, then visit Chitwan National Park to view wildlife. We chose one of the milder “easy” rivers, the SETI, as other options could be quite chilly in late December! It’s known as having “remarkably warm water,” which became a running joke during out trip! When the sun was out, it was indeed balmy warm and quite comfortable…. But nights and mornings were quite misty and chilly. We were so thankful to have brought our long underwear, fuzzy hats, fleece layers, and warm sleeping bags! No one went swimming voluntarily!!!

We rode a Pokhara bound bus, but off-loaded with our gear at the Madi Khola bridge near Damauli. We helped our crew haul all the various and sundry (and heavy!) boating chunks down to the river, and spent an hour or two pumping up & rigging the boats. As all river runners know, it is such a fine moment to float away from a road bridge… heading downstream…. leaving noise and chaos behind, and knowing you won’t see cars, roads, or big towns for a few days! We immediately floated through a massive tangle of boulders, and then joined with the Seti river. This river flows through a once remote canyon, with fairly pristine jungle on both sides… of course, there is now a rough vehicle road being built along one bank, so the canyon experience will be changing. For now, however, it was a wonderfully quiet, calm float, with a few exciting splashy Class 2 & 3 rapids to enjoy! There is also fantastic bird-watching, as many high altitude species spend their winters right here on the banks of the Seti. We saw many wall creepers, plumbeous water redstarts, white-capped water redstarts, wagtails, kingfishers, forktails, egrets, ruddy shelducks, and even a few Egyptian vultures! Our campsites were on huge sandy beaches… huge because the water has receded so much since the summer monsoon rains. Our wonderful river guides (Krishna, Gopal, Subha & Milhan) set up our tents, cooked amazing meals, and danced by the fire each night!

On the 3rd day, we laughed through the last of the bouncy rapids and suddenly spilled out onto the flat Terai, leaving the Mahabharat hills behind. It was a wonderful transition from the foothills of the Himalaya, to the plains of India… our remote Seti River flowed into the road-side Trisuli River, then merged with the Kali Gandaki at the sacred confluence of Devghat. Now this wide slow-moving water-way is called the Narayani, and we paddled for a couple more hours to reach Narayanghat. We just pulled up to the edge of a small city, broke down the gear on concrete steps (ghats), walked up to a street and boarded a bus! Public transport rafting shuttles… Waving goodbye to our smiling guides, we were off to the jungles of Chitwan!

1 comment:

  1. can't you change your minds and go on forever? that way, when we can afford it with our lucky lottery ticket we can join you! even if we can't join you in twenty months in malaysia, please keep going! i imagine, paul, that you would be glad to fulfill my request, though i also guess that some people might actually want to return to - egads - school! i laugh and cry every time i read your blog! i'm hoping for at least one or two more before you return!