Hiking in the Annapurna Region

Pokhara Travel Blog

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It was difficult not to think about yesterday's events constantly; but being in the shadow of some of the world's most beautiful mountains did lift our spirits. The porter's family were financially compensated; and even though that didn't bring him back, it was a positive gesture, at least.

We spent the night in a place called Birethanti, I think. We hadn't planned to stay here, and there wasn't anywhere to set up camp, so we were put up in various rooms all over the village. My room was hardly bigger than the bed that was in it, but it was cozy. It had a low roof, and even I (being just over 5 feet tall) had to stoop a bit to get in. A tall wax candle illuminated the dusty pink walls, and the wooden window shutters were closed to keep out the cold.

The next morning, the air was crisp.
When I opened the door, cool air rushed in, a small boy who was wearing the most tattered baseball cap I have ever seen and his t-shirt back-to-front looked up at me. He grinned and ran off. While we were waiting for the others to assemble, I had the best tea I've ever had. It tasted like biscuits! And it was lovely and warm against the cool of the morning.

Today, we had a long, easy hike across level paths that winded through terraced paddies. Having just left Birethanti, we were now on our way to Gandruk, 1931m above sea level. We were supposed to be heading to Ghorepani that day, but the rain and yesterday's events had delayed us, so we had to change our route.

We hiked easily for a few hours, always with a magnificent view of Mt.
Me, a girl walking to school, and Mt Machhapurchhre in the background
Macchapurchhre. It pierced the sky several hundred metres above its surrounding peaks.

At the time I visited, Macchapurchhre had never been climbed. Many people had tried, but none were successful; so, it was considered a holy mountain. I believe it's now illegal to try climbing it, actually. The Buddhists believe there's a golden cow at the top of the mountain that prevents people from reaching the summit.

In contrast, Annapurna, which came into view later on that day, has been climbed and it was apparently the first 8000m peak to be summited.

I don't think I had ever witnessed poverty until I got here. It was so unfathomable for me that people spent their whole lives living in poverty. We watched as ladies in mud houses laid their crying babies down on dusty hand-weaved mats on the floor.
Some trinkets for sale, and a well-dressed donkey!
They were dressed in great pieces of cloth slung heavily over themselves for clothing, and rags were hanging up on the lines to dry. All the young children had clothes that were either too big or too small for them, yet they were skipping around and chasing each other as if they were the happiest children in the world.

The second half of the day was a more difficult hike, since there was a lot of going uphill. The paths seemed to never end. We would get to the top of a hill -- thinking it was the top -- only to realise that it was the start of yet another impossibly steep hill. We began to wonder why we couldn't go around the hills instead of constantly climbing up and down; but we soon realised it was worth the effort.

After passing by about fifty donkeys (who were better dressed than any of us), at around five in the afternoon, we reached our next camp. As evening fell upon our camp, the massive white hulk of Annapurna South rose above all the other mountains, and lights from villages sparkled on the other side of the valley.
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Me, a girl walking to school, and …
Me, a girl walking to school, and…
Some trinkets for sale, and a well…
Some trinkets for sale, and a wel…
photo by: Makkattack