Got up to the 1st cloudy morning of the trek. After 4 days of walking, starting to feel really drained and really could do without another day like the last 2. Today the 1st of 2 days of climbing, going up from 2340m to 3200m. Leaving Sinuwa meant that the rest of the path would pass through primary forest, only interrupted by the occasional guest house. The path really only half made and much of the walk was clambering over boulders and walking up little streams. Needed to cross a number of rivers with a choice between a log bridge or stepping stones. I tried the log bridge the 1st time but more like a trampoline and without a handrail over the river 10 foot below was not my king of fun. Harka helped me across and I reverted to stepping stones from now on.
Got a little entertainment from a family of monkeys fooling around overhead but day turning in to a war of attrition. Passed through a pretty valley of natural bamboo and then through a boulder strewn valley with a petrified forest. Arrived at Deurali thoroughly knackered and the Panoramic guest house in the middle of a white out in the clouds. Collapsed needing a sugar fix. I wasn't the only one as the other trekkers staggered in between 1 and 3 hours later. Discovered the Nepal spring roll is more like calzone and very nice. As is Masala tea hich is milk tea with cinnamon. Definitely my kind of thing. Quiet night losing to Harka again at rummy.
Woke up for day 6 feeling much better and ready for the fight. A gorgeous morning that finally justified the hostal name.
The hostal dwarfed by 500 foot granite walls either side of the valley and looking down the valley at the cloud below. One of my favourite sights to be walking above the cloud ! With no showers, it was a bucket of cold water for washing that froze over if left for 5 minutes. I wasn't to be put off and set off for the final push to ABC at 4100m. The walk provided constantly changing views of Annapurna South and Machhupuchre. After an initial 45 minute climb, the rest of the path turned in to a very comfortable steady ascent that could easily have been rambling through the English countryside if it wasn't for the Himalayan giants in the background. With only a half day walk planned to ABC, able to take it really steady and enjoy the spectacular views.
Stopped at Machhupuchre base camp that exposed the final walk to ABC and made it to ABC at lunch time. The weather absolutely perfect and pure blue sky and sunshine setting of a sparkle in the glaciers. Treated to view of an avalanche high up near the summit of Annapurna South within a few minutes of arriving. The Sanctuary fully justifying its name as ABC completely surrounded by wonderful mountains. No matter how much pain it took, the view was worth it !! Went for a wander. Surely the most picturesque volleyball court in the world next to the guest house and quite a sombrering memorial to the many climbers who have perished trying to climb the mountains now in front of me. An array of Buddhist prayer flags added colour to the view. Found a quiet spot to take it all in having made it to my no 1 goal for the trip.
With the mountains so high, the sun sets very early and temperature plummeted quickly after 4. With alcohol not advisable at 4100m had a sober but fun night celebrating making it to ABC. Met a few more trekking buddies for the descent including Luc (a Portuguese lad who had spent 20 of the last 24 months travelling around Africa and SE Asia), Dave (from Bristol on his 7th trip to Nepal) and Nina (a Slovenian girl now on her 2nd year out of study). Sarah (from US) was around as well. Re-learned shit-head that was so popular in South America. Lost badly again !! Got a full moon that silhouetted Machhupuchre wonderfully. ABC will always be a major highlight of my travels.