Once a reporter asked about money and richness to famous Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley, Marley replied that he does not have the time for money-related richness, his richness is life. Different people can have different answers for richness, and they may be right in their way. If you get overly obsessed with money, you may discover that you never have enough, or that you become compulsive, and your dissatisfaction will persist. As a traveler, I want the wealth to be evaluated in terms of memories - how many places or countries have I been to, what fascinating activities have I done outside the normal job? Happiness should be the richness rather than the money. Money cannot buy you happiness, but you can travel with it, and it is the same thing…
To complete the bucket list, and feel a bit rich, I along with four other friends agreed for a short trek to the lowest glacier lake, widely known as ‘Kapuche' with the high hope of adding a lot of exciting memories to cheer.
The Kapuche Glacier trek is a new trekking route in the Annapurna region of Nepal that lies to the northeast of Kaski. After an adventurous jeep journey from Pokhara, the trek to Kapuche starts from Sikles, a beautiful Gurung village. This new and less crowded short trekking route leads to an enchanting destination, the Kapuche Glacier Lake. The trail to Kapuche lake provides breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains - Annapurna II and IV, and Lamjung Himal; lush green hills; and Nepali village culture as well. Various species of beautiful birds can also be seen in the forest.
This lake is said to be the world's lowest altitude glacier lake, with temperatures dropping below zero in the winter and the surface of the water transforming into rigid ice ground. In the Gurung language, Kapuche means a plain surface made of snow. All of Nepal's glacier lakes are located above 4,000 meters of sea level, but the altitude of Kapuche is only 2,546 meters. Occasional avalanches from Annapurna II and IV are the source of Kapuche Lake which is one of the two main sources of the Madi River.
On the first day of the journey, on the second flight of 'Kathmandu-Pokhara', we headed towards Pokhara where a jeep was waiting to take us to Sikles. It was about eight-thirty in the morning when we boarded the plane, breaking through the chaotic crowd at the domestic airport.
We reached Pokhara in 25 minutes watching glimpses of Annapurna and Manshree mountain ranges although the weather was not very clean.
After having breakfast in Pokhara, we boarded a 4WD Jeep for Sikles. Passing Kahukhola, Vijaypur Bridge, Chhachok village, and Tangting village of Kaski, we reached Sikles in 3 hours. The Pokhara - Sikles route usually takes 4-4.5 hours to cross but our charioteer, popular with the name 'Kanchha Dai meaning the younger brother' with his fearless driving on hilly terrain helped to reach Sickles village sooner. Sikles is a beautiful Gurung village located in the Kaski district where one can experience the excellence of Gurung culture and lifestyle of the Gurung community with its panoramic views of Annapurna and Lamjung Himal.
The Kapuche trek route starts from Sikles and has been promoted by the Annapurna Conservation Area and the local community. The tourist village of Sikles has a well-arranged guest house and homestays for food and accommodation. After reaching Sikles we went to the popular Namaste Guest House belonging to Dhan Gurung aka Maila Dai.
We had delicious lunch at the Guesthouse and got the information about the route. Our journey that day was to Hugu Goth, a small settlement from where Kapuche is about one and half hours far. Maila Dai informed about our arrival to his brother in Hugu Goth via satellite phone. We begin our trip following a slightly uphill stone-paved route passing through the beautiful settlement of Siklesh after fixing 'Namaste II' in Hugu Goth as the place where we would spend that night. It was already 2 PM.
After few minutes, the village started fading away and downhill and quite an easy trail welcomed us which continued till a small suspension bridge.
After crossing the suspension bridge, we went ahead on the horizontal trail to the right because that was the direction a small, withered board pointing towards with the name of our destination on it.
The small trail was rising slowly. We followed a small dirt road through the middle of the stony and grassy hill. We were seeing boulders on the hill above the trail which was causing fear in the mind. Following Maila Dai's suggestion, we tried to be as quick as possible because there is the chance of stone falling. After walking for a while, the trail turned into a steep one that had multiple windings until the top. The small path has the iron fence and our fear increased by seeing the broken fence which was due to the stones fell from the hill. After that short but challenging ascent, we had short rest then the downhill path began. There was no mobile phone signal after that point. The steep and rocky path through the jungle continued until Idi waterfall.
After 15 minutes of rest on the suspension bridge looking at the beautiful view of the waterfall and amazing nature around, we continued the uphill journey. This was the characteristic of the trekking trails to Kapuche, which repeatedly goes up to the hill then lowered down to the river, and then uphill again. We continued the repetition until we reached the Hugu Goth. While we were walking in the comparatively easy path inside the jungle, a few of the friends were attacked and sting by the bees which were on their beehives in the rocks and trees very near to the trail. We later found out that place was called ‘Mahuri Danda’ which means Bee Hill.
It was already dusk when we reached Hugu Goth, which is nearby the Madi River. It took little more than 4 hours to reach Hugu from Sikles. The Brother of Maila Dai welcomed us in Hugu, the atmosphere was a bit cold. The rooms were not empty since some of the previous day's guests had not returned, so we had to spend the night in the tent that was set inside the hut. After having dinner, we warmed ourselves in the campfire for a while then slipped into the sleeping bags imagining the thrilling scene of the next day.