By Em Shanblatt
The Sun Kosi (soon-kho-see) in Nepali means Holy River of Gold. Graced with mesmerizing mountain views, alluring villages, charming local people, and fun whitewater, this 12 day river trip through the heart of Eastern Nepal certainly delivered.
Girls At Play photographer Stef McArdle and I, along with 6 other women truly had the time of our lives in river paradise. Living on the river is a special experience, and if you have never done a kayaking multi-day, it should be on the top of your new years resolution list for 2014. I love everything about it. From falling asleep under the stars to the sound of the river, waking up to crisp morning air waiting for the sun to crest over the valley ridge, even the more tedious tasks like daily camp setup, and bathroom endeavors. Multi-days remind me that I am always connected to the river, and that the wilderness is truly our greatest teacher.
With plenty of fun waves to surf, and face splashes to be had, the whitewater on the Sun Kosi was fun, without being stressful. A great combination that allowed us to chat with each other while paddling through the canyon, and look up to enjoy the cliffs, wild birds, glistening tributaries, and views that can only be described by pictures.
The Sun Kosi stands out from many other rivers in Nepal, and is extraordinarily different from any river I’ve paddled in the US, in its cultural presence. Everyday we paddled through multiple villages with structures ranging from stone and concrete, to wood or bamboo. Piles of hay and thousands of animals. We saw homes, schools, farms, fishermen, livestock, and laundry time, creating a unique snapshot of the rural Nepali way in the life. As we passed by, children would come running down to the river, screaming, waving their hands above their heads. Sometimes it sounded like they were saying “Hi, Bye, Hi, Bye” over and over, but we could never really tell. Every evening as soon as we set up camp,we would suddenly be in the presence of local people, again mostly children. Although many kayak and rafting trips come down the Sun Kosi every year, they still stared in curious wonderment at our plastic contraptions and make shift kitchen and bedrooms. Sometimes they were interested in talking, other times they were too shy, but our daily interactions shown valuable insight into their simple yet labor-filled lives.
After all that, I’d have to say that my favorite element of the whole experience was our crew. The Sun Kosi trip made extra special by the fabulous group of women I got to paddle with everyday. From the ages of 33-65, this badass cohort of strong, independent, adventurous women left me not only entertained around the campfire, but inspired me for my own future. Girls at Play clients continually impress me with their life stories; hearing tales of triumphs, adversities, families, travels, love, and so much more make me incredibly grateful to spend such quality time with these powerful women. Some of my favorite moments of the trip involved all of us women, lounging around the campfire, wine and beer in hand, laughing harder than I had in a long time.
For more information on our trip to Nepal, check out our website at https://mindbodypaddle.com/nepal/
Also check out another multi-day here in the US, on the Main Salmon in Idaho – https://mindbodypaddle.com/womens-kayaking-retreats/kayaking-rafting-yoga-main-salmon-wilderness-trip/
Also HUGE thanks to all of our sponsors – Dagger Kayaks, AT Paddles, Vapour Waterbottles, Kokatat, Watershed Drybags, IR Sprayskirts, Smith Optics – Making it all possible!