After a two-week journey through the ancient Kingdom of Lo
we returned to the relative civilization (i.e.hot showers and
non-instant coffee) of Kagbeni, a small town in the Lower Mustang
region. Although civilized, we practically evacuated out of our room
that night because there a kerosene leak that had been going on for
hours and we were getting dizzy, headaches and our throats burned.
Apparently, the guesthouse owner couldn't even tell that there was
something wrong (!!!!!).
We spent the next few days
hiking through dramatic river valleys circumnavigating the west side
Annapurna mountain range. The scenery looked a lot like Switzerland:
burbling brooks, alpine vistas, temperate pine forests, moss covered
rocks, etc. Idyllic villages dotted the landscape, famous for their
locally brewed apple cider. Afternoon thunderstorms chased us to our
daily destinations and, aside from a horrific bout of food poisoning
(the salad was so tempting!), we made it through relatively unscathed.
Finally we arrived at the final stop of the Annapurna Circuit, a town
called Tatopani famous for its natural hot springs.
|Purest water on Earth|
Ironically many trekkers now skip
last leg of the Annapurna Circuit route because a new road was recently
built to short-circuit the journey. Although there are numerous
alternate trekking routes, most tourists opt to take a Jeep and skip the
last section. This is a damn shame. We found the west side of the
Annapurnas more beautiful and dramatic than the traditional east side of
the Circuit and we highly recommend anyone considering the trek to walk
the whole way.
We had finished both Upper Mustang
and the Annapurna Circuit
sections of our 33-day trek and the finale was almost in view: Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
I thought I knew what stairs were. Seriously, there are stairs in San Diego, hills
even. But nothing
compares to the stairs leading up to Annapurna Base Camp, aka ABC. If
you ever want to train for the Stairmaster World Championships this is
the place to do it. The trail consists of thousands upon thousands of
vertical meters of rocky stairs that go up as well as down,
leading up into the sanctuary in the middle of the Annapurna range.
|View of Fishtail peak from ABC|
you stop for air the scenery is absolutely spectacular. The humidity is
much higher on this side of the range and everything was green. Bamboo
groves danced in the mountain breeze and blooming rhododendron trees
turned entire hillsides bright pink. Farmers urged on their water
buffalo to turn over tiny rice patties alongside the path. At higher
altitudes monkeys swung from tree to tree and vultures soared through
the sky. Glacier-fed waterfalls showered the valley that leads up into
the mountains. For most of the journey the humidity kept it relatively
warm but on the second to last day we were rudely ambushed by a heavy
hailstorm. Eliot bravely made it through the 2-hour storm wearing just a
t-shirt while Andrea quickly put on her windbreaker, gloves and hat for
We finally reached ABC after a long
slog of a climb. The camp itself is surrounded by Annapurna's most
scenic peaks. We sipped hot cocoa, crunched our way through the snow and
watched the sunset turn the mountains rosy. Although a few of our
fellow climbers fell victim to altitude sickness we had no problems,
probably because we were already fully acclimated and the altitude was a
4,100 meters. The next morning we got up before dawn and
watched the sunrise. It was gloriously clear and we had dazzling views
of the different peaks.
The final few days of the trek
were surprisingly challenging. We trudged our way through the hilly
regional homeland of the famous Gurkha warriors
to make it to the nearest road. At the end of our 33rd day we hopped
into the first motorized vehicle we'd used in over a month and headed
off to the lake town of Pokhara. No scales were available to test the
effectiveness of the Himalayan weight loss plan but you can look at our
pictures below and decide for yourselves.
Our tour of the Annapurnas was complete and our feet were ready for a well-earned rest...
co-posted on www.eliotpeper.com
|Valley the path follows|
|Keep that energy level up!|
|Sunrise on Annapurna I|
|Annapurna South (I think)|
so awesome. miss you both a ton!!ReplyDelete
That trek is definitely on the top 3 most awesome things we've done. Thanks for the love!Delete
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