First Travels in Nepal

Nepal is known for the massive and intriguing Himalayas. As an outdoor enthusiast, they are the pinnacle of adventure and exploration - naturally, the country has always interested me. I always thought I would one day make a trip there, however, I did not expect to travel there with a bigger and more meaningful mission. In November of 2017 my partner and I traveled to Nepal with GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit solar installer with a mission to install solar for low-income families. The installation happened inside Chitwan National Park to help families that are living there.  The solar panels will create job opportunities and support a growing ecotourism business in the community.  

This was a truly fulfilling and inspiring experience and I highly recommend the trip. You can learn more about everything we accomplished through the blog written by GRID Alternatives

Once we completed the solar installation and community work, we were excited to tack on a few days of trekking in the Himalayas and bring the rod for the journey. With our remaining week in Nepal, we left the jungles of Chitwan and headed to Pokhara for a 4-day loop on the Annapurna circuit. This loop sold us by listing our hike up to 10,500ft with impressive views of the nearby monstrous 20-24,000ft peaks!  

This was also our first international trip with the rod and we wanted to see how it really traveled. The rod was in the early stages of development, with no name, a wild looking 3D printed handle and barely tested. We initially did not expect to be near water, or any fishable water, so I only had one fly in tow. The rod was packed in a carry-on bag to for its first flight test - would TSA have an issue with it or think it was something dangerous? Nope, they didn’t even ask to pull it out of the bag. Passed the first test!

With the rod packed up, we set on the trail. Even though at this point the rod was heavier and bulkier than the one currently in production, we didn’t notice it and it didn’t require any awkward packing techniques. Along the way, we stopped at a few small streams – that apparently didn’t have fish according to our trail guide. 

Our guide got a kick out of our rod and was surprised we had it in our small pack already set up, so I gave him a lesson on the stream.  He had never fished before and the thought had never crossed his mind. First, I showed him the general principle on casting and had him do a few roll casts to figure out the rod. He was enjoying it so I showed him how you want the fly to drift in a stream and where fish may be hiding.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share something I love, and a piece of home in America, with our guide who had been spending so much time sharing pieces of Nepalese culture and history. 

Once at camp for the day I casted for serenity while monkeys watched from the cliffs above.

The trekking was amazing.  The traditional way to do it here is to pack your clothes but stay in small “tea houses” along the way where they have rooms for rent and feed you hot meals. The meals were all good – but exactly the same 3 things on the menu. As it turns out, the Nepalese love their traditional “Dal-bat” and eat it every day without fuss.  It filled our bellies well and let us concentrate on the new friends we met at each tea house and the expansive views above us. 

On the last day of the trek, we rode in the most treacherous bus I could have imagined. In the States, narrow dirt back roads equate to a fun weekend adventure,  but when they are on a cliff and our car is now a 40ft long bus with other traffic that wants to pass – it is a different feeling! We even would back up in some spots to 3-point turn on switchbacks, with the driver on the left and a spotter slapping the side of the bus on the right for signals.  

At the bottom of this crazy drive, there was a river that was the obvious color of glacier runoff.  We had a few minutes before the next bus took us to town. So, naturally, with the time we had, I pulled out the rod and made some casts. Apparently, there were fish in this raging river but our short jaunt didn’t provide any results.   

Back in Pokhara, we had an opportunity to use the rod at beautiful Phewa Lake surrounded by mountains. We rented a boat from the tourist center and hit the lake with the rod and our one fly with us, a big Clouser-minnow.  Some people were fishing from the shore so we assumed the best but just had a nice cruise around the lake with no luck. Upon docking, we asked a young guy with a rod how the fishing was – he said he got some nice ones. I looked in his bucket to find a few guys just a bit bigger than my fly… I was a bit over-gunned.  

We traveled home without catching any fish but did learn that the rod travels well, was quick to set up and execute as we imagined – and that water is everywhere, always bring your rod! (and flies…)  




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