Annapurna Circuit - Day 7 (Pisang - Manang)
Manang Travel Blog› entry 49 of 136 › view all entries
Each evening after dinner we have a short discussion on the following day's route and then put in our breakfast order for the morning. Last night we discussed the two options for trekking from Pisang to Manang. One route would follow a gently ascending path from Pisang (3200m - 10500 ft) to Manang (3540m - 11615 ft) and take about 4.5 hours. However being along the river in the valley we wouldn't have as many views. The second route would take us up the north ridge of the valley up to about 3800m (12467 ft), along this line for a bit before descending back to the main route to Manang. This upper route could offer amazing views of the Annapurna Himal on a clear day, although it would also take around 8 hours for the day.
The morning dawned to an average sky. Some clear spots and some clouds. We still decided to proceed with the upper route. If nothing else it would be a decent day of acclimitization to walk high and sleep lower in Manang. The first half hour of the walk was uneventful, a relatively flat walk along the river. Then the fun began. After passing a small mani wall we began a strenuous climb of nearly 2 hours to the village of Ghyaru (3670m - 12040 ft). No respite, no relief, just constant switchbacking up the hill for almost 500m of elevation gain in less than 2 km of walking.
We did take several breaks for refreshment and photo taking. And the walking was slow in the thinner mountain air. Finally arrived at Ghyaru where we took a tea break for 30 minutes or so. Lots of views of Annapurna II/IV and also Annapurna III. Some great and others mixed with the clouds that were building once again. I could also see down into the river valley below us and Pisang was visible below.
After the break we continued on the Ngawal for lunch. We continued meandering in and out of small streams that spilled out from the mountains to our north (Pisang Peak and Chulu) and fell down to the Marsyangdi below. All around us were small fields of crops and sheep and goats grazing on the sparse grass available at this altitude.
Manang is a pretty bustling place as far as Annapurna Circuit towns go. The dinner menu is a bit more varied at the lodge and some bakeries in town make some cookies and pastries. There's even a "cinema" in town which we might look in to tomorrow on our "rest day". And of course the best and last place to stock up on any necessary gear for the pass crossing to come in a few days. We had a good dinner and then an 11-person game of UNO. Actually stayed up until 9:30 (it's actually close to 9:45 as I finish writing this in my journal). Yes we are rebels here in Nepal (we were actually the last group to leave the dining room tonight so we really were the late night partiers).