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The following article appeared in Canoe Focus, July 2006
Sunshine, Mountains And Whitewater
by Will Robinson
Butterflies fluttered silently overhead, warm scent laden air wafted past, all around we were surrounded by stunning scenery and forests. Hills and mountains leapt skyward from the river banks and snow capped mountains dominated the distant scenery. As we slowly drifted along with the current the noise of rushing water became more apparent and in the distance the horizon line dropped and gave sight of white specks and peaks of whitewater. Looking around all I could see were grinning faces as people burst into action, readying themselves to dive headlong into another frenzy of waves and stoppers and more superb, clean, warm whitewater paddling and playing. Enjoying Nepal!
Transport in Kathmandu This is what kayaking is all about! Forget the cold morning starts and empty rivers - we were in Nepal, home to some of the planet's finest and mightiest rivers. Since leaving the UK less than seven days ago we had travelled half way around the world into a foreign land, had our senses assaulted by the drive through Kathmandu from the airport by the noise, the sights, the heat, the smells, the hectic pace of this infamous city. After being briefly immersed in some amazing culture we were off on our adventure. We headed off in search of mountains and whitewater. And Nepal was not about to disappoint.
Putting on at the Trisuli Our first introduction to Himalayan rivers was the Trisuli – a river the AdventureX guys had advised us would be a good river to ease ourselves in on. Shorty tops and sun cream was the order of the day. The next few hours brought some amazing sights and great fun. Rapids were gentle and this was a great introduction to big water. We inspected one - it looked full-on but it was all just surface waves/stoppers and no nasty pour-overs. And anyway, everything was flushing. So there we were 10 minutes later and seven swimmers later sat on the river bank in fits of laughter. Ben, our guide/safety boater was looking a bit concerned at this point, wondering what he had let himself in for with us. We'd be talking about this one over a beer or two tonight!
We spent the night high above the river in a purpose built camp, complete with showers and safari style tents and shelters. The next day we paddled the last sections of the river to the get out, encountering some more fun rapids right at the end. Fortunately the team had found their paddling ability again and we completed the river unscathed, packed our gear up on to the waiting bus and headed to Pokhara.
Pokhara is way different from Kathmandu - much more laid back, cleaner, less crowded. The next day we headed off to what had been advised to us as a jewel of a river with some superb whitewater – the Madi Khola. For three days we feasted on the rapids and the magnificent whitewater, camping on the river banks on an evening. Everything we needed was carried with us on the gear rafts which meant we could run the rivers and enjoy ourselves in un-laden boats.
We had planned a day off after the Madi, but Ben had given us the option of a half day run on the Upper Seti, upstream of Kathmandu. Half the team headed off and the rest stayed in Pokhara to explore the sights or to rest by the lakeside and enjoy the scenery, fresh air and cool beer.
The guys taking in the views whilst mountain biking That night we had a meal together and said good bye to half our team. They were mountain bikers (as well as paddlers), so whilst we headed off to run the Marsyandi the rest would be mountain biking for five days. We met with the guide who would introduce them to their new steeds in the morning. After a day or two taking in routes around Pokhara they would then fly to Jomsom, deep in the heart of the Annapurna Mountains, and begin what can only be described as the ultimate thrill for a mountain biker - three days of downhill! With full suspension bikes and a world class mountain bike guide they were in good hands.
The rest of us headed off on what seemed like a journey to the end of the earth and to a place you’d never think you could get a bus. We camped at the side of the Marsyandi that night, ever present of the deep rumblings of the opening rapids. ‘Wake up’ rapid was very aptly named and was our first obstacle in the morning. Once again we were surprised by the pace and power of the water but we all managed without incident. What followed over the next few days was one of the most amazing paddles we had ever had. Numerous inspections were needed as the river was definitely a notch above the previous runs, and in between were some awesome read and run rapids and some equally impressive playspots. Porters were used to carry our overnight equipment from the ever present bus, high above us, down to the river. We felt guilty having all our equipment brought to us but at the end of such hectic days on the river and in terrain best suited to a mountain goat, we thought we would leave the experts to it as we busied ourselves making a camp fire, and drinking beer. The start of the Marsyandi
Another big rapid on the Marysandi We rejoined as a full team back in Kathmandu to tales from the bikers of terrain, routes and rides of epic proportions, a few tumbles and big smiles all round. Hmm... next year maybe, when I have more time!

In the morning we headed to the mountains again, this time North toward the border with Tibet. We took in the Balephi which was a low volume technical run much aligned to many a UK river - the difference being the warm water, glorious sunshine, and ever present scenery. A night at the peaceful open air 'Riverside' resort led us to a run on the Upper Sun Kosi the next day. Lots of fun, big water and good playing.
The final evenings were spent at 'The Last Resort', perched high on the cliffs above the mighty Bhote Kosi. The sauna and plunge pool certainly took some good use whilst we were there, as did the cold beer from the bar! A bungee jump and bungee swing into the gorge was also on offer for the brave!

And onto our finale. It was time to put everything together and tackle the Bhote Kosi. Half the team were rafting it and the rest of us were running the guts of some full-on whitewater. This mighty river was a perfect choice to end the trip on. After a few mishaps and interesting lines we were reaching the end of our Himalayan adventure. Just a free day in Kathmandu separated us from that flight back to the UK and to the not so appealing conditions and rivers. Time to start planning the next trip!

A big thanks to the team at AdventureX for organizing and running a superb trip!

Will Robinson
Enjoying a well earned rest and ejoying the plunge pool after a sauna the Last Resort
Getting to grips with the Bhote Kosi
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