Trekking Pikey Peak: Day Three – Bhandar to Namkheli

Mustard field in Namkheli
Mustard field on the Pikey Peak Trek
Mustard field on the Pikey Peak Trek

Bhandar to Liklu River

The rolling joke about there being so many Bhandar’s continued into the next morning’s trek after day two trekking Pikey Peak. In Nepal, if a new joke is found, it’s the highlight of an entire day. The day started, and Raj made sure to mention the many steps of today.

Suspension bridge
Suspension bridge

Both up and down. It was also a day when we could speed things up a little if needed. We theoretically could make Nagaor Gumba today if we had knees like mountain goats. Or at least Goli Gumba.

I don’t like steps, especially the downward ones. Last year, I did 5 treks in one season and by gosh, did I feel it. Since then, I’m taking the notion of slowly, slowly, and enjoy more. So, I left the idea float away and just said “Let’s see”. This wasn’t a trek for the sake of a trek. It was a new trek that I wanted to enjoy. And document the Pikey Peak Trek not only for this website but also my Trekking in Nepal guidebooks.

Our steps began, and in earnest, I slowed down. They were steep, but windy, which was good. Then, almost as if the joke really wasn’t a joke, we came across the village of “Bamti Bhandar”. I’d love to say we laughed, but we really were beginning to lose count of how many real Bhandar villages there were. Liku river finally appeared. That meant the downward part was over. Now it was up, up, up.

Liku River to the Cardamom Farms

Changing gear from spiraling stone steps to upward slopes was a bit of a grind. The nice thing about trekking in Nepal is that you often get distracted by mountain villages. Farming in the mountains is not about cash crops; it’s about farming to live. People barter goods up here, similar to the big trading villages back in the day.

Cardamom plant sorting in Nepal
Locals sorting through cardamom plants on the Pikey Peak Trek

In this case, cardamom crops were being harvested. I’d never seen cardamom outside of the final “spice” in a packed. Or in the fields. These pods contain all the aromatic seeds used in cooking. Stopping for a chat with the ladies, it seemed that while this crop was going to be used in local cooking, there was enough to be sent to Shivalaya or Jiri to sell. But first, they have to lie the seeds out to dry. From there, it would be sent to Kathmandu to the big markets.

For those wondering, yes, those plants also smell of cardamom!

Steps on the Pikey Peak Trek
Steps on the Pikey Peak Trek

Take a Break in Namkheli or Continue On?

This is one of those moments where we arrived early, and we’re wondering, should we go on? The sun was shining. There were mountains peeking over the tree line. Raj mentioned there being many monasteries between Namkheli and Nagaor Gumba. Again, I say this to many young trekkers: What’s the rush? It’s not a race. If we rushed now, then we wouldn’t get to see the monasteries properly tomorrow.

I’ll be the first to recognize that most “younger” people don’t seem interested in “visiting” monasteries up in mountains. But nearly everyone wants a nice “Instagram” photo to post. This is where multiple years of experience trekking in Nepal will tell you… slow down. There’s usually a bevy of cloud rolling in during the afternoons in the mountains. You won’t get a nice photo.

It also tells you about the stuff nobody wants to know about. Washing clothes. Stopping early for one day means a clothes wash, and the next day they “should be dry”. Yes, it’s all boring, but it means your socks will be fresh, and it really does make a difference to have clean socks on the trails instead of stick socks… ewww. Hey, it’s reality!

Stupa on the Pikey Peak Trek
Stupa on the Pikey Peak Trek

So tomorrow, the mountains unleash themselves in full. And I have to show some nice monastery in the mountain photos to prove my worth!


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8 Replies to “Trekking Pikey Peak: Day Three – Bhandar to Namkheli”

  1. The advice about not rushing for the perfect Instagram photo is spot on. Did you manage to capture some good shots of the monasteries?

  2. The cardamom farms sound fascinating! Did you get to taste any of the fresh cardamom during your visit?

  3. David, did you find the steps particularly challenging on this day’s trek?

  4. Suspension bridges got me curious. How stable and safe are they for crossing?

    1. The suspension bridges on this trek are quite stable and well-maintained. They add a bit of excitement to the journey but are generally safe to cross. Just take your time and enjoy the view. Thanks for your question!

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