Trekking Annapurna Base Camp - Nepal

Part II

The Annapurna is definitely very commercial and popular with foreigners. Everything is tailored for them. Teahouses are owned and operated by locals only, as their livelihood is based solely on tourism. However, it was a little bit disappointing to encounter so many foreigners. The food was very international and they served quality hot meals from local cuisine to pizza, pasta and even a German bakery selling cakes and hot bread. All very rustic but available.

April 15th-- what a day. We left at 8AM and reached Jinwa Danda (hot springs) at noon after going down all the way to the river’s bank and crossed it via the new suspension bridge. Afterwards, we came across a rhododendron forest (they were not blooming) and climbed for I don’t know how many hours until we reached the hot springs where we soaked our tired bodies for an hour.  What a treat that was. We then went to the restaurant, fueled our ourselves with a delicious apple pie, waited for the rain to pass and got back on the trail again for another two hours climbing the steep stone steps to Chhomrong (2170M).

 I never thought of Nepal being flat but the idea of climbing stone steps never crossed my mind. It was hard, but the closer I got to my destination, I felt good about this adventure. As I reached the top of the mountain (sweating and completely wet), I felt exhilarated and very happy; I never experienced anything like that before. As we got to the top on our way to Chhomrong, we met three Korean girls in good spirits who were resting in a shack. They gave me candy for my hard work. We exchanged thoughts about our journeys and after a while they left--a truly magical exchange.

Chhomrong, the last village below the Annapurna Sanctuary at the base of Hiunchuli was great. After dropping our bags in the teahouse I went out with the guys to Didi’s hut a friendly lady to drink Raksi – home made rice wine and to eat Sukuti - dry buffalo meat. It was really amazing after a long and exhausting day to finish our third day sitting around a fire eating and drinking Nepalese treats.

View from Landrung

Gurung People

We departed Chhomrong at 7:30AM and cut through the village where locals were attending to their buffalos and lush vegetables gardens on terraced slopes. Under beautiful sunny skies, rice paddies decorated the village. We crossed the river and started to ascend a hill in a series of stone steps passing through villages and teahouses all day long. We trekked the deep Modi Khola valley through bamboo and rhododendron forests.  Unfortunately, we were only able to see a few blooming red flowers. However, the view of the Annapurna mountain range was breathtaking. Macchapucchare peak seamed so close and yet it was so far away. 

As we reached higher altitudes and got closer to the glaciers everything changed. Vegetation changed from lush to shrub, vegetables gardens started to get scarce as well as the variety of food. Even our walking pace became much slower since we had to be careful with altitude and our bodies need time to adjust. At this point it became imperative to pay attention to weather conditions due to the dual threats of slippery roads and avalanche.

At this time, every day felt more difficult up in the mountains. Our porter started to leave a little earlier than us to make sure we could find accommodations since there were just a few. It was amazing to see those guys going up mountains caring our bags in such an easy and fast pace. We passed locals caring goods to sell or deliver. It was heart breaking to see the people caring all kinds of heavy loads up the mountains. There is no other way around. It made me think that back home we have it so easy and of course we don’t even notice or just don’t care.

After walking for almost 7 hours and passing through Bamboo and Dovan we finally arrived at the Himalaya teahouse (2920m). It was another long and tiring day and I was beat-up. We were very luck to have a small room waiting for us. For those who arrived later in the afternoon, since the other teahouses were packed with tourists, they had to sleep in the dinning room.

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