Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Trekking in Nepal 2011 – Annapurna Base Camp

Andrea, Jakeb, Anna and I made a return trip to Nepal for two weeks. We got back this past Saturday. It was another great trip. Jakeb and I trekked for eight days and afterwards we all hung out in Pokhara together.

Mr Mahesh was mine and Jakeb’s guide and he did a really good job of getting us where we needed to be and understanding our trekking pace. Our goal was to trek to Annapurna Base Camp and then make a side trip to Poon Hill on the way back down.

On day one we hiked from Phedi to Landruk. When we got to a village called Tolka a lady who ran a tea house said that Jakeb and I must be strong walkers (like Nepalese) because most people sleep in Tolka the first night of their trek. That is as far as they make it but she told us we would have no problem making it to Landruk.

On day two we woke to another amazing view of the Annapurna Mountain Range and walked from Landruk to Chhomrong. On the way we took a side trip at Jhinu to walk down to the river and sit in natural hot springs. The view of the ravine and the river was cool with the sun’s rays hitting us as we sat in nature’s hot tub. That night we stayed at Chhromrong Cottage where “didi” (meaning sister) makes the best chocolate cake in Asia (according to Time magazine – she will show you the article) and some tasty bean and cheese burritos. If you are ever in Chhomrong you have to stay here!

On day three we walked from Chhomrong to Dovan. The trail out of Chhomrong drops quite a bit and it is somewhat disheartening to lose all of the altitude you gained the day before knowing you will have to gain it back again soon. We stopped walking early this day which was a brilliant move on the part of Mr Mahesh because it rained almost all afternoon. We met a couple here that was trying to make it to Annapurna Base Camp in three days and then back to Pokhara in two. I think they ran out of time before they made it. She was from Australia and he was from the UK. They were in transition and were planning to buy a place in Australia and live a self sustaining lifestyle - growing their own food and supplying as much of their own power as possible.

On day four we hiked from Dovan to Annapurna Base Camp. After walking up the riverbed to avoid avalanches we stopped for lunch at Machhapuchere Base Camp. After lunch we decided to press on to Annapurna Base Camp. On the way up from MBC to ABC it snowed. There was thunder and lightning and by the time we got to ABC it was snowing pretty hard. That afternoon and night was cold. We sat in the dining room and played cards with two women from Seattle and two women from Denmark and their guide. The manager of the tea house put a heater (basically an open flame) under the table so we could all warm our cold hands and feet.

The next morning we woke to a perfectly clear sky and the most incredible view of this amphitheater of mountains. We were surrounded by mountain peaks all over 6000 meters with the monster being the tenth highest peak in the world Annapurna One at 8091 meters. We were at 4130 meters (approximately 13500 feet). We took some pictures, ate breakfast and then headed down to Bamboo.

In Bamboo we met “Himalaya Ken” - a guy from the UK who has been to Nepal 24 times. He has hiked to Annapurna Base Camp 15 times. He takes the entire month of March off every year to trek in the Himalayas.

On day six we hiked from Bamboo to Chuile. We stopped for a burrito at lunch with Didi. Some of the folks we met at Annapurna base Camp stopped and ate lunch with us. It rained right as we got to Chuile and when the rain stopped there was a rainbow in the mountains really close to us.

On day seven we hiked from Chuile to Ghorepani. It was a rainy day and for the most part it was miserable. But we were walking on some of my favorite trails following a small crystal clear river. We were happy to be in Ghorepani to have a warm safe place to rest.

On the last day we planned to hike to Poon Hill before coming down to Nayapul to catch a ride back to Pokhara. The weather was overcast and the mountains could not be seen from Poon Hill so we skipped trekking there. We ate breakfast and made the long downhill trek to Nayapul. It was a good day.

During the trek Jakeb and I read The Hobbit. It was a perfect book for trekking in the mountains. I cannot wait for the movie.

It really was the adventure of a lifetime. How many people get to trek in Nepal among the highest mountains in the world? On top of that I got to do it with Jakeb. It was one of those two weeks in time where it was good to be me.


Adrienne said...

Very cool!! What a blessing to be able to undertake. Thanks for sharing!

Ale said...

me and my girlfriend will do the same soon, hoping that the weather in June will be nice and that it won't rain too much...thanks to your brief but complete explanation.

Tommy said...

Ale. I've been to that area in June as well. It is not as good as the fall or spring because the clouds cover the mountains most of the time. There are also a lot of leeches out. But if it is the only time you can get there it is worth it just to be in the Annapurna mountain range. It is amazing just to walk through the mountain villages and meet the Nepalese people. Good luck. Stay safe and have a great time trekking!