Annopurna circuit

Pokhara Travel Blog

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"Chilling in the mountains"

There must have been an easier way to loose the SAP belly!...

 Wow!  So I managed to do a 320km trek • that started at an altitude of 900m • went upto the lofty heights of 5400m and then came back down again.

After much debating over whether or not to take a guide or a porter speaking to people who had just returned assured me that I could not get too lost and could go it alone.  So with 18 days worth of supplies I bussed to the start point a little unsure what lay ahead of me.


So full of enthusiasm I hiked with a German lad to day one tea house with very little bother.  Pleased with my progress I sat down had a beer and watched the sunset.  Day two • I woke up rushed to the bathroom and found I was not too well • reluctantly I decided that walking that day was not such a good idea so said goodbye to Chris and headed back to bed.

Calm before the storm it got worse!
 By the next morning I realized that the Pokara streetfood had caught up with me with a vengeance and in true cavalier fashion was wondering where the nearest good medical facilities I could get to without a Visa were • I decided on Hong Kong.  I went to get some water from the bloke in the tea house • who fortunately new a Dr who put me on a course of antibiotics that sorted me out pretty quickly • Hong Kong would have to wait.  


Next day I decided that I should continue my progress • I was already three days in having made one day of progress.  The next couple of days were really hard • I was walking through beautiful jungle with waterfalls • but it was a sweaty business.  However, I met up with an English lad and two Kiwis who I walked most of the rest of the circuit with.

At last the top - only down to go!


By Day 7 the views of the Himalayers started and I was feeling fully recovered.  Probably my favourite day of walking I had stormed off in the morning pretty early and as it was a little overcast, perfect temperature but limited views I bulleted off leaving everyone else in my dust.  Then I came round a corner and everything cleared and the sky and views were crystal.  For the next 2/3 hours I had Annopurno II standing majestically on my left shoulder and as mush as a meandered along and took loads of photos I was completely alone having blown the morning so hard • it was amazing!


Most people stop for a night at this stage to acclimatize to the altitude • but having just come in from Tibet I decided to leave my new friends behind and push on a little.

Sunset across the Himalayers
 Manang was almost a town • and after the remoteness of the past few days it felt a little like Butlins and after eating my 1st meat on trek I departed • but at a pace to meet up again later.  Again that day was wonderful I stopped only a couple of hours up the track in a beautiful place nestled in the mountains.  Whilst on the trek I had decided to read 7 years in Tibet and spent the day reading about mountain adventures from the roof of my tea house looking at the very mountains was reading about.


The main reason I had decided to leave the other guys was that I was keen to get upto high camp to tackle the 5400m pass.  Generally people sleep at 4400m (for worries about the altitude) climb up in the morning then back down to 3800m the other side for sleeping.

A winning team
 However carrying my own stuff I was a little nervous of being able to do that in one day so was keen to get up to high camp 4800m for sleeping.  This plan worked beautifully until just as I got into high camp it started snowing • this was liable to make the pass uncrossable if it bucketed or significantly harder if not.


So next morning started walking with the other high campers through the snow at 6 o clock in minus 15.  The walk to the top wasn’t actually as hard as I was expecting (although some people who had not made high camp had to resort to a mule).  Pleased with my efforts I started the decent.  Soon after starting to decend I decovered why it is not fully recommended to cross the pass in the snow • it is a bit slippery.  Not exactly being balance man I really struggled on the way down.  Fin who I had been walkng with got down 2 and half hours prior to me.  Many people who had slept lower also passed me with much amusement which given that we were now hiking through a blizzard being hit by horizontal snow I guess means that I must have looked kind of funny.


That night we met another couple of English and an American who had stopped for an extra night after the pass whom we walked the rest of the way with.  After the pass the weather for the rest of the trek was perfect and walking seemed pretty easy until the last day.  We passed beautiful scenary at one point being sandwiched between two of the worlds 14 8000m peaks.  Before the pass everyone had been a little concerned about getting ill but after the pass we fully enjoyed passing cider breweries, beer and meat.  And by day 16 when we arrived at hot springs we were well and truly pleased as punch.


THE LAST DAY!  I was particularly keen to sleep the night in Pokara • so it was agreed to have one mad last day.  We got up at 5 o clock in the morning to climb by headlight to the top of a mountain to see the sunrise over the Himalayers • which was again freezing cold • but stunning.  After this climbing back down for breakfast.  Then walking till 7pm in the evening (again needing to walk by headlight • I was expecting a big day but not that big) but we made it back to Pokara to sleep.  BUT - I reckon over the walk I have lost nearly a stone and my SAP belly which was 5 months in the making has all but disappeared - so happy days :-).


Next day was pretty lazy (allowably) except for a couple of hours paddling on the lake where one of the girls demonstrated significant rowing proess by continually taking us round in a circle.  The night time drinks were excellent and after calling an early end (about 4 ish) this time managed to get up for my 7 o clock bus back to Kathmandu where I needed to sort out my Indian Visa.


Yesturday I had a very entertaining 6 hour wait in a queue.  Some people looked unimpressed by this wait but I met some cool people in the queue.  The unimpressed people looked even less impressed that we weren’t hating the wait!  After eventually successfully getting our Visas we all went out in Kathmandu last night and had a ball.


Now with Visa in passport to India J…………….

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Chilling in the mountains
"Chilling in the mountains"
Calm before the storm  it got wors…
Calm before the storm it got wor…
At last the top - only down to go!
At last the top - only down to go!
Sunset across the Himalayers
Sunset across the Himalayers
A winning team
A winning team
photo by: Makkattack