It might strike fear in the heart of many to think of taking their children on a 66 kilometer trek into the Himalayan Mountains. I am here to say it is do-able, amazing and you will survive the trek. Since we live in Nepal we have been wanting to do a longer trek for a while. We planned this trek and let me tell you, I was a bit nervous. The whole idea of altitude sickness and kids made me a bit scared. What I realized quickly is that my kids are tough and they actually really enjoy being on the trail. I did learn some tricks along the way to keep them going which I will share later. We do feel so blessed to be able to see all the amazing things that the Himalayas have to offer and hope it is a special memory in the hearts of my children.
First, we took a jeep to Syabribesi. It is the start of the trail head and there are many great little hotels in the town. We ended up staying right on the main road at Sun Rise Hotel. It is a neat, clean hotel with hot water and tasty food. It happened to be Sienna's birthday so we celebrated that morning with candles in Tibetian bread.
The typical Lang Tang Trek starts at Syabrubesi and stops the first day at Lama Hotel. The most elevation gain on the trail is between Bamboo and Lama Hotel and we wanted the kids fresh for that part. Our first stop on the trek was Bamboo. It took a little over 4.5 hours for us to get there and was certainly a fairly easy start. We also crossed a couple suspension bridges which are not my favorite, but a staple in the Himalayian Mountians. They were able to make a birthday cake in Bamboo (!!!) and we celebrated Sienna's birthday that night by the river in a small room heated by one stove and a beautiful cake made by our hosts.
The next day we continued our trek upward. We tackled the most elevation gain first part of the day and we were able to stop in Lama Hotel for lunch. Just an FYI, Lama Hotel is the name of the city, not an actual hotel, but there are many hotels in the town. After full stomachs we continued on and stayed at a very comfortable and pleasant place called Riverside. The weather was great and we loved being so close to the river. Who doesn't like falling asleep to the sound of water? Ok, maybe somebody, but I love it!
From Riverside we hiked up to Lang Tang Village. For those of you who don't know, the earthquake in 2015 created a landslide that fully covered the village of Lang Tang. Half of the residents died and what was once a beautiful valley is now filled with rubble. They are currently rebuilding, but it is taking some time to get the supplies, manpower and money needed to rebuild. It is a bit somber to walk across a kilometer of rubble and know that underneath is a whole town that was buried. We enjoyed being able to stay in Lang Tang and trying to support the local people. We passed water prayer wheels and as we got higher some yak shared the trail with us and we began seeing some cow/yak mixes grazing on the hills.
We then walked to the end of the trail to Kianjyn Gompa. It is up at 3,850 meters (12,631 ft) and the final stop on the trail. There are many different peaks around that you can summit in a day if you want to go higher, but I was happy making it that far with the kids. Kianjyn was a great little town and there is a great bakery up there that serves cakes, apple pies and some great snacks. Jeff and some of our friends went for a day hike to one of the peaks. We stayed in the town and washed some clothes and watched the yaks on the mountains. This is a beautiful town, but it does get cold at night. We had proper clothing, but the fireplace in the hotel was a great place to relax at night. Kianjyn also had a lot destroyed during the earthquake and are currently rebuilding. The mountains you can see from here are amazing!!! We loved seeing the mountains come out and one day we even got a rainbow!!!
We then headed back down and the trip was much quicker. We took 10 days to do the 66 kilometer hike. The amazing thing is that as we were walking we realized all the materials, food and things in these villages were being brought up on the backs of people and sometimes on mule trains. It really is amazing to see people carrying large timbers, rebar, cement and plywood ALL ON THEIR BACKS!!! I am continually amazed at the resilience of the Nepali people. Many of these village are actually Tibetan peoples and I also enjoyed seeing the different kinds of dresses the women would wear. We did learn a few tricks along the way to keep the kids walking. Each of the kids would pick a landmark they could see and we would walk to that point, then the next kid would pick a place they could see and we would walk there, then the next. This silly little game kept them going even when they just wanted to stop. We also brought some dear Nepali friends who the kids loved to walk with and asked questions and kept them going. Typically I was never really tired as we did keep the pace pretty slow for the kids. Ultimately it was a great experience and we are so glad we did it!
So if you are wondering if you can go trekking with kids, you CAN!!! The kids may not have loved every moment, but it was so worth the time it took to visit there.