14 days. 221km. 5416m high. (Part 2)

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

Day 11: Marpha (2670m) to Kalopani (2535m) – 22km – 5:45

We started walking by 8:30 and the first 2 hours were through a pine forest. We stopped in a village called Tukuche where some children ran up to me asking if I had any sweets. I said I didn’t as I thought they were begging but they ran off to the shops and bought me some bubblegum!! As we were leaving Tukuche, we passed by a group of men cutting up a buffalo on the floodplain – all the parts were already covered in flies. It was then a further 2 hour walk across the floodplain to Larjung where we stopped for lunch. Feeling replenished after chicken momos and soup and upon hearing rain falling on the roof we began walking again. It rained heavily the whole way to the lodge. The lodge was the nicest that we stayed in. After doing my washing and having a hot shower I was summoned to the dining room. There was one long table down one side which was covered in a thick cloth that reached to the floor. You could see why it was necessary when you slipped your legs under as there was a coal fire pit under the centre of the table. It kept your feet and legs so warm – such a luxury. It was a shame when I had to go to bed, making a run for it through heavy rain, leaving the warmth of the table behind.

Day 12: Kalopani (2535m) to Tatopani (1200m) – 20km – 6 hours

After the best night sleep ever and some breakfast we started walking at 8am. We walked steadily downhill for an hour to a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) checkpoint in Ghasa. It rained for the next 3 hours to our lunch spot in Rhupsechhahara. It was a view point for a nearby waterfall which we couldn’t see as the rain pelted against the windows. The dahl baat I had was the best yet and made up for the weather as did the hot chocolate and snickers bar I had for pudding. When we arrived at Tatopani 2 hours later my blisters were killing me. I put on my bikini and headed down to the hot springs. The water was pretty dirty and I can now see why some people refuse to bathe there but it did help to relieve some of my aching muscles. I ended up playing with 3 Nepali boys who apparently go there every day after school and when my fingers were wrinkled beyond what I thought possible I jumped out, changed as quickly as I could in the cold air and ran back to the lodge just in time for dinner. I had ginger chicken which was so delicious and Sam and I shared some beer as I was now feeling much better. By half 8 I was tucked up in bed feeling very relaxed.

Day 13: Tatopani (1200m) to Ghorepani (2870m) – 17km – 7 hours

By half 7 we were walking as we had a long day and steep climb ahead of us. This was in fact one of the hardest days of the trek partly due to the atrocious weather. It took us 3 1/2 hours to climb the 735m to Sikha where we stopped for lunch and I had yet another amazing dahl baat. The weather wasn’t too bad until after lunch. As we were setting off again, it began to rain and when we stopped at an ACAP checkpost we donned our sexy blue plastic bags as the rain got heavier and heavier. It took a further 3 1/2 hours to reach Ghorepani. After a hot shower I headed to the dining room where I sat by the fire reading Anna Karenina whilst eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. We had dahl baat for dinner followed by apple pie and custard and some apple brandy to celebrate getting this far. We headed to bed early though, 8pm, dreading our 4:30am start.

Day 14: Ghorepani (2870m) to Poon Hill (3210m) to Nayapul (1070m) – 11km

By 5am we were climbing up to Poon Hill to see the sunrise. We were very unfortunate however as even though we only took an hour and we arrived in time it was so cloudy that we couldn’t see the actual sun rise. It brightened up a bit and we did get to see some of the spectacular mountains that surrounded us but it was disappointing to say the least. No one can help the weather though! When we got back to the lodge we had breakfast and we started walking half 8. It was a steep 3 1/2 hour descent to our lunch spot in Hille and the path was considerably more busy as people doing the Ghorepani circuit start here. At least the sun was shining today though! After lunch and a celebratory Fanta we began the final 2 1/2 walk down to Nayapul where we finished our trek at 15:55 on the 14th April 2014!! We took a taxi for the 1 1/2 ride to Pokhara during which time I struggled not to fall asleep. We arrived at our hotel, the New Elite, unpacked, showered and then napped. We arrived on Nepali New Year so there was a big festival in a near by park which we went to. We ate chicken momos and listened to some interesting live music. I was so tired that I fell asleep in my chair. After saying goodbye and thank you to Binod and Jaya I headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest. Sam went on to Busy Bee to meet a friend and Jaya and Binod went with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Annapurna Circuit trek. It was hard at times and a few times I did think ‘Why am I doing this?’ but the views all the way more than made up for the physical challenge. I would definitely like to do it again sometime.

Sorry it has taken me so long to write this, it’s shameful really!

Lots of love,

Emma xxx