Kali Gandaki River

White Water Rafting on the Kali Gandaki River

When you name your daughter after the Kali Gandaki River in Nepal, you pretty much have to take a rafting trip down that river if you find yourself in that country. Even if it means spending more than your daily budget and using all your Christmas money from family to make it happen.

The white water rafting companies in Pokhara offer a 3 day trip down the Kali Gandaki for 184 USD per person. This includes transportation, all rafting and camping equipment, and food for the 3 days.

The Kali Gandaki is a class ¾ river, which means it has some big rapids, but nothing too dangerous.

The first day we rode the 2 biggest rapids named Big Brother and Little Brother. Both sections had to be scouting before we rode them.

We camped the first night on a flat sandy area on the bank of the river. We were given two person tents, sleeping bags, and mats.

Kali Gandaki River

We befriended one of the people in our group, an adventure guide from Utah named Anna, who became Sierra’s tent mate.

Kali Gandaki River

Our guides made popcorn, which we all gobbled up. I guess paddling makes people hungry.

We also enjoyed the dinner. The spaghetti and meat sauce was, surprisingly, one of the best pasta meals we have had in Asia. The Danish students in our group complained that they keep getting American food during their organized tours in Nepal. But after 2 ½ months of mostly Indian food we were happy for a change.

Kali Gandaki River

The next day we rode on the river for several hours through rapids and flats before stopping for lunch. Arwen was starting to develop a bad sunburn, so we took turn standing over her to create shade on the open bank.

After lunch, we got to jump out of the raft and body surf the rapids. It was cold, but fun.

During dinner that night Rand held an impromptu political science class after one of the Danish students asked him about Trump and the primaries. The little class reminded him how much he liked teaching and after 10 months of travel, he said he was starting to look forward to getting back in the classroom in a few months.

The next morning I woke up stiff and achy from sleeping two nights on the hard ground. I proclaimed to Rand that I felt like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. He didn’t complain as much about the sleeping arrangement, but he did say he wasn’t so sure how he felt about being the oldest person in the group.

The last day on the river had only about an hour of rapids and then flat water paddling to the take out spot.

During the bigger rapids the people in the front had the hardest time staying in the raft. One of the Danish guys in our boat fell out twice. Rand fell out once. And had to hang onto the side of the boat through the rapid because his two daughter on that side of the boat just stared at him and didn’t even try to help him back into the boat. I guess they thought they wouldn’t be much help, but Rand harassed them relentlessly afterwards for leaving him to drown (not really).

At one point the boat tipped up and Sierra leaned way back into the water. We all thought for sure she was going in. She had already fallen in the Ganges during our short rafting trip in Rishikesh. But suddenly she popped back up. We were all shocked. Sierra is not known for her strength, so we were surprised that she had the ab muscles to pull herself back up. She just said, “I really didn’t want to fall in.”

Perhaps she has been faking weakness all this time.

At the take out point we had lunch. A group of local children gathered round. Some were selling sodas. The girls played with them while we waited until it was time to go.

Kali Gandaki River

After we were done eating, the guides gave the left over food to the kids. Several had large plastic bags to carry away the pasta and salad. The tiniest boy was given the jar of peanut butter and he looked thrilled.

Rand said if he had known the extra good was going to be given to these poor children, he would have eaten less.

All in all, we had a great time spending three days on Kali’s namesake river.

Kali Gandaki River


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