We’ll be spending the final three days of our adventure shopping and sight seeing in riotous and dusty Kathmandu, a world away from the peace and tranquility of our mountainous trek through the Annapurna region. I want to share some photos and notes while they’re still fresh in my mind…
In all, we did the trek in 9 days and they were the most glorious and arduous days in my recent memory. For anyone interested in testing their mettle in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, I highly recommend Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). While I initially struggled with the weight of my pack, the rain, the holes in the ground that acted as toilets and the freezing cold guest houses, I soon gathered my resolve and focused on the goal: reaching ABC… and what a reward!
We spent days walking through the rainforests so lush that bamboo trees grow strong, thick trunks and lichen hangs in long strands from giant rhododendron trees. Rivers of ice blue glacial water cascade down long waterfalls against the mountainside. And all along, the Annapurna range sits in the background, a snowy contrast to the warmth and humidity of the forest.
Tea houses dot the trail and are a welcome haven. The trek is physically demanding and there’s nothing like a plate of momo’s or a hearty breakfast of boiled eggs and cornbread to fuel the next leg of the walk. Like I mentioned last week, I drank a lot of ginger tea which helped to keep inflammation down in my legs while keeping me warm on cold nights. I shored up my immune system with mushroom soup made with the most exotic mushrooms I’d ever seen and when I needed something more, I plopped some momo’s in my soup for a hearty meal.
In addition to offering up surprisingly good food, the tea houses are also guest houses. Actually, guest house is a ambitious name for what amounts to little more than a tin hut, often without electricity and always freezing cold. On the upside, candle lit meals are a cozy way to end your evening after a satisfying walk.
Hot showers are not guaranteed, even if you pay the 150 Nepalese Rupees (about $1.50) for the opportunity to wash the sweat and the grime away. After a while though, the trek whittles the mind down to the most basic necessities and showers aren’t one of them. At least not up there. All you really need is food, water, and a place to sleep. I remain grateful to Fozzy for bringing his tent so that we had a place to rest in Deurali after finding out there was not one bed available at any of the tea houses…
It’s all worth it when you wake to a million stars on a pitch black night with no ambient light on ABC. The breathtaking beauty of that experience is only surpassed by the spectacular sunrise at such a height. The sun cresting over Machhapuchhre and Annapurna South makes them seem like they’re on fire.
These were not the only rewards along the way… we also met some great people, from trekkers to porters and young Nepalese boys selling guava fruit trailside. Each helped create a memory not soon forgotten. It has been the best trip of my life.
I hope you are all having a wonderful November.