“Ukaalo, oraalo,” said our guide, Naresh Gurung, describing the three-hour hike we’d just begun toward Three Mountain Lodge in central Nepal. He undulated his hand: “up” and “down”.
Nepal’s classic Himalayan treks – the Annapurna Circuit, say, and the route to Everest Base Camp – are arduous journeys that approach altitudes of 5,416m. This trek I’d signed on for couldn’t be more different: a moderate hike in the 1,200m midlands. We would admire the high Himalayas from afar without being in them. There would be no altitude sickness, no bitter cold, and no avalanches like the one that killed dozens of people on the Annapurna Circuit in October 2014. And after our hike, we’d arrive at lodges – two on this trip – with soft beds, warm showers, and even a cocktail hour.