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Nepal isn’t on most travelers’ must-hit list, but for adrenaline junkies, it’s the premier destination. 25,000-foot peaks beckon the mountaineers, the updrafts whistle to the paragliders, and class five rapids tow in the world’s best kayakers. After our 10-day hike through the Annapurna mountain range, the Seti River had our number. Fed from the snow fields of the Himalayas and gushing from monsoon rains, the Seti cuts through the Mahabharat range creating one gorgeous gorge and the perfect conditions to raft. We signed up for a two-day rafting trip with Paddle Nepal to soak up the rapids, lush jungle, local villages, and our brief stint as world-class river rats.
With our two rafting guides from the Nepali national team and our paddling comrades–Eli and Omri from Isreal and Lucy, Sophie, and Michael from China–we dropped into the Lower Seti for the first leg of our 32-km sojourn.
For most of the trip green mountains were on both sides of us with a series of footbridges passing overhead. Without concrete causeways, these suspension bridges and pulley systems are what connect these tiny river villages to the outside world. Getting a glimpse into the river culture was half the beauty of the ride.
Then came the big rapids. Following the orders of our guides, we bobbed our way through waves—not quite sure if they were directing us around them or towards them for maximum drenching.
For paddling and laughing, we had a great crew of boat mates. Sophie and Lucy, who weren’t big on English, would make their presence known by spontaneously falling out of the boat and into a fit of giggles. Whereas Eli, the eldest of the group, had the smile of a kid in candy shop with every wave we hit.
We made it to our riverside picnic spot and had a surprisingly good lunch whipped up by the Paddle Nepal team. All our meals on the trip were delicious, especially considering the limited resources and pending threat of sogginess.
In between rapids there were plenty of opportunities for swimming or cruising in the current. At the end of the day, we took a dip in this sheltered beach cove as the crew set up camp.
Lined up on the sandy shore along the river bend, our camp was as lovely as could be. We sat around the bonfire, sipping homemade Rakshi wine and eating spicy Nepali stir-fry for a great night under the stars.
In the early morning light we spotted this pensive monkey, followed by a dozen of his curious buddies down stream.
The last leg wrapped up with some drenching rapids and a waterfall shower for good measure.
In addition to being a blast, rafting the Seti River was actually one of the most interesting ways to get around the Nepal. The trip started in the Himalaya hub of Pokhara and brought us to the foot of the famed jungles of Chitwan National Park and much closer to our final destination of Kathmandu. Though no matter where each rafter continued his or her travels, we all left with the satisfaction of having made new friends made and class-five adventures.
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