06-Feb-2010 -- This CP has been on my mind since a year. On Google Earth I could see that the main obstacle to visit it would be the Rapti river. First I thought it could only be crossed after the rainy season and before the snow melting on the Himalaya. Then in December, on a bus trip to Pokhara, I saw that there was some construction going on, which looked like a dam. That seemed to make it easier to visit the CP, since the problem of crossing the river would have been solved.
From Surkhet it is 140 km to reach the area, and if I wanted to make it in one day, I would need my own transportation. I could borrow a car (thanks a lot Steve!) and on Saturday 6th of February we (Rabin, my son and me) took off at 5:30. After a 4 hour drive we reached the village on the main road and inquired information about roads heading towards the CP on the other side of the river. The construction that was going on seemed to be an irrigation project and bridge at the same time, and there were some dirt roads on the other side of the river. So we headed towards the village on the other side of the river, found a local guy who could guide us through the path in the forest towards the CP. After some 15 minutes driving we had to park the car and start our hike. Although it was only 4,5 km in a straight line to the CP, we had to hike 3 hours along the bending Rapti river to reach it. Along the river there are gold extraction activities, where locals can earn between 2 and 6 €/day. The other main activity is fishing. It was a varied hike, sandy and stony beaches, over mossed rocks and through a tropical forest. Where we had to turn into the forest to reach the CP was a stable, and it took another 15 minutes of climbing and descending to reach the CP.
And there it was, on a steep slope in a dense tropical forest at 198 metres altitude, about 250 metres from the Rapti river. Descending a little bit more led us to a dry stream that led us straight to the stable; we could have avoided the climbing to reach the place!
This CP can probably only be reached in the period between November and May, since the river must be low enough to walk along the bank. The area is beautiful, a wide river with lots of sandy beaches, and a dense tropical forest on both sides. Low human activity is present, and it can be questioned if the fishing is sustainable, but the poor Nepali live by the day. Other entrance to the area is a dirt road from Nepalgunj that leads directly to the south side of the river, or you can enter the forest from the main road and cross the river on a fisherman boat. After visiting 20°S 65°W, this was the second CP visited by my 9 year old son, good job Kamiel!