Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

Karnali River (too) Slow Boat

Everything felt just fine, ’til we stopped for lunch…. Rafting this section of the Karnali River is effortless- like drifting into an impressionist painting
Karnali River

and elicits only a very occasional, faint trickle of adrenalin- even in the most timid of travelers *ahem*….
Put-in point is the sweeping one post suspension bridge at Chisapani
Raft put in point

where the river is still broad and deep enough to trundle us along with only slight encouragement from our four(!) trusty helpers. The sweeping, elegant bridge, the longest of its type in the world, (built with a little help from our friends, the Japanese…)
Karnali Bridge

is the take-out point for most river trips, the wilder, whitewater kind, further up the river. Our pace on the other hand, allowed us to absorb the deceptively stark beauty around us
Bird flight Karnali River

to admire the intricate patterns of a zillion “show-cased” river rocks
River rocks

and to sight an extremely rare river species
M swims

Our idyllic meandering was rudely disturbed right before lunch, when Arjun, our true and tested forest guide, stopped us sharply as soon as we set foot on the river bank for our picnic lunch. O sh**

Tiger. Male. Large. Today. Arjun faded into the high grass and reappeared a few minutes later with good news: “Tiger already gone”. Then why is he looking so worried??

I’ve enjoyed relaxter meals
Lunch w/o tiger

A couple of hours later, we said goodbye to M, Arjun and co. (who set off on another of those heart-testing jungle walks), while yours truly insisted on staying in the (imaginary) safety of the boat. This part of the trip often came down to dragging the raft downstream in not-enough-water-for-floating, over slippery melon-sized rocks. Progress was understandably slow- until someone mentioned that the darned tigers loved this section of the river for drinking and water play (and hunting?!). Wow! That well-meant comment triggered an adrenalin rush that had me, literally, skipping over the rocks while lugging the raft and its passengers, single-handedly (well, almost) downriver- way past the tiger play- and prey-ground. It also earned me an entirely undeserved reputation for high energy ruggedness and stamina with the guides, haha!

But the western Terai is not only the National Park, and tigers and rhinos and tracking big animals. We could have spent days pedaling around the peaceful countryside

Community forests paths beckoned
Forest biking

birds rustled, whirred and called. Dusty towns revealed surprising treasures
Temple surprise


and people charmed us with their friendly curiosity. And I finally found out what the fuzzy brown heaps were, that we saw accumulating everywhere

Surprise- (not), it’s the Dal harvest! Dal bhat anyone?

The Forest, Bardia, Nepal
The Forest

4 Responses to Karnali River (too) Slow Boat

  1. May 4, 2014 at 17:52
    Christiane says:

    Danke fuer die schoenen visuellen Ferien. Waere soo gerne mit dabei! Love, Christiane

    • May 9, 2014 at 04:03
      Regina says:

      Und ich hätte dich soo gerne mit dabei! (But it’s hard on knees here)
      Habe dir pm, meine liebe. r.

  2. Hi Regine und Andy
    Catching up on your trip. Glad you’re well and survived the tiger. Pretty cool! No news from Wolhusen, everyone is fine.
    Gruss von Anne und Stef

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