New bridge / Walkway on the Manaslu Trek
Trekkers always comment about bridge crossing when on a trek in Nepal. Not all bridges are modern and some are missing planks giving you a scary, windy view down to the river below. In general, the bridges on the Manaslu Trek are mainly sound – or they were until the earthquake.
For instance, the bridge before Machhakhola was damaged by the earthquake and the trail moved to pass along the river bed. During the monsoon last year, the river near Yaru Khola changed course and eroded a 100m section of path which had been used for a long time. First there came a dangerous diversion on a high trail with a long drop from Uiya (as reported here). This was the only way to reach Jagat for some time. Then locals build an awesome wooden bridge across the Budi Gandaki as seen below.
That met a steep climbing trail up to a tiny village of Lakpal. As the water levels dropped in November, another bridge was built across the river again to meet the old Jagat trail and the runners of the Manaslu Trail Race were the first group to pass with mules since the earthquake.
In 2015 and 2016 and Swiss engineering company had been tasked with figuring out how to make the trails safe from Arughat north – trails are the lifeblood of the regions of Tsum, Nubri and so on. With no safe access past Jagat to reach medical aid or government offices, life became even more difficult, and mules could not bring essential supplies up. A permanent solution was required – and here it is!
Welcome to the walkway!
Many ideas were considered of how to solve this problem, including making a damn to re-route the river back in more of a straight line. In the end, this elegant walkway was created in just two months funded by Samarth and DFID / UKAID. This is part of their support for the Great Himalaya Trails project. It will be opened in July.
If you are planning to trek later in 2016, here’s an up to date opinion of the trail and accommodation: read Richard Goodey’s trip report from the spring season.