Thursday, June 6, 2013

Annapurna Circuit aka Round Annapurna (Part 3)

Had breakfast the next morning @ 0600H, together with a cuddy little puppy that joined us for breakfast too!

 

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Just at the edge of the village is a tourist checkpost, where they checked for the ACAP permits.

 

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Within 15 minutes the sun began to beat down on the road. This was to be the hottest day amongst all our treks. As we were on the west side of the river, there was no mountains to shade us.

 

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We took breaks every 20 – 30 minutes from the heat in whatever shade we could find.

 

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As we walked, the Tibetan influence became more pronounced. Violet painted walls began to reduce in frequency, and was replaced with the more punchy red, yellow and blues of the Tibetan culture. We came across our first Mani Wall, as well as a larger Mani Wheel.

 

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Spinning mani wheels on a mani wall

With the sun battering down mercilessly, we took all the shortcuts. Instead of following the main road as it snaked across the hills, we detoured into the foliage and rejoined the road, cutting out some distance but mostly a lot of sun. We even had to hop across a stream during our detour.

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Once we joined back the main road, we stopped to take a 10 minute break in some nice cool shade. XD At 0900H, we then started trekking again. The trail then rose considerably, mainly consisting of uneven rocks shaped roughly into a crude staircase of sorts. This lasted for about an hour. There were a couple of flatter spots in the area though, which we again took a break nibbling on a pomegranate.

 

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At about 1000H we came across a villager’s hut, where while nibbling on some Mars & Snickers, I saw the Tibetan Hot Wheels car.

 

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We had lunch at Temang, which we reached at approximately 1040H. Also had some local Chang (rice wine) which give a real nice buzz. XD

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And yes, that is a huge chunk of butter.

 

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From here on, Chame; the capital of Manang district is about 3 – 4 hours walk. Forks in the road are usually marked with signage but not always so.

 

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The trail here then runs along a meadow with small logs used as fencing – very picturesque indeed.

 

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At times the trail would be almost obliterated due to a landslide, and a new path made over it. This new path is usually much narrower, with nothing to stop you from falling right over.

 

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The road then continues to slope downwards. At 1300H, we came across a hanging bridge. This marked the end of the downward slope, and right across the raving we could see the trail run right up the mountain straight to the peak! It was a tiring 15 minute slog back up, but was rewarded with one of the most cooling and windy spots along the entire Annapurna Circuit.

 

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After a 10 minute break, we continued on. The trail was soon surrounded on both sides by wheat fields, swaying in the breeze.

 

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The villagers were also taking the opportunity during the relatively hot and sunny summer to dry bales of hay, each stacked higher than the average person.

 

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All too soon, by 1345H, we were back onto the dusty gravel road. To make matters worse, this time the road was mostly dry powdery sand, that billowed even when walked upon.

 

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Along the road was evidence of Nepali graffiti – quite ingenious…

 

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At 1420H we passed the village of Gompa, and finally reached Chame at 1450H.

 

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Along the way to our lodge, we saw a porter carrying a fridge….

 

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Dessert that night – pomegranate and apples. Oh, and Chang too. XDD

 

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Part 1 2 3 4 5 6

 

See also

Mountains & Hills

Gear & Stuff

Preparing Yourself

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Annapurna Circuit aka Round Annapurna (Part 2)

Our 2nd day of hiking was from Jagat (1350m ASL) to Dharapani (1900m ASL), an ascent of 600 metres. We left at about 0630H, making our way through the village.

 

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It was a wide sweeping road that ran alongside the river, with the occasional bus and lorry smothering us in dust.

 

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Along the way, if you looked hard enough at the cliffs opposite the river, you could discern huge bee hives!

 

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At about 0800H we bumped into a huge Korean group. As it turned out we would be bumping into them daily for the entire trip until Pokhara!

 

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Pretty soon we could hear footsteps from behind and were soon overtaken by the Koreans’ porters.

 

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Along the way there was a rather nice looking waterfall spewing its contents just opposite a house.

 

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After we crossed the first village, we decided to detour from the main road and cross over to the other side of the river to trek on the trekking trails for a more authentic trek. A signpost clearly marks the fork.

 

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After 10 minutes of scrambling down a rocky trail, we reached a hanging bridge that would bring us across the river. It was here that Jacky Gan started having pain in his right knee which would flare up throughout the hike.

 

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After we made our way across the bridge, we were surrounded by marijuana plants!

 

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After passing the fields of marijuana, the trail became rather rocky and ascended uphill moderately steep.

 

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By then the sun was beating down on us hard, and we sneaked breaks whenever we could find shade.

 

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We had the occasional breaks, where thin foliage gave a much needed respite from the sun. The trail fluctuated, occasionally smooth compacted sand, and at times lumpy rocks that gave the legs and ankles a real workout.

 

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At about 1020H, we came across what would be the steepest climb for the day, scrambling over largish rocks zig zagging through a barren open area devoid of shade, safe for a teahouse perched halfway up.

 

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We took a 30 minute tea break at the teahouse, giving ourselves a well deserved break from both the climb and the heat, starting again at 1050H.

 

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From here it was a continuing steep climb up rocks for another 15 minutes.

 

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At about 1115H, the river blossomed, widening until it was almost a lake. We skirted the right side, walking along the river banks until we reached the village of Tal.

 

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We stopped for lunch here, and resumed our hike again at 1330H.

 

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As soon as we left the village, the trail snaked back along the river, narrowing to just several feet across. To make matters worse, at one point, the trail was full of goats!

 

OMG! So many animals... How to go...

We were careful to stay on the inside of the path. Always do this to ensure the animals do not accidentally push you over the side of the cliff.

 

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By 1400H, the trail became steep, with a longish flight of stairs. Within 15 minutes, the trail then somehow appears to have been blasted or dug through solid rock, skirting the edge of the river, before crossing over to the gravel road via hanging bridge.

 

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From here on it was dusty and hot. Whenever jeeps went past, we would whip out our towels and cover our faces to avoid breathing in all the sand and dust.

 

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At 1515H we reached the bridge to the town of Karte, the last village before our stop for today. We used to be able to cross the hanging bridge and walk on the other side to avoid the dusty gravel road, but lately, there has been a landslide, which resulted in a lengthy climb over the landslide and back down. Too tired to attempt that, we continued on the dusty gravel road.

 

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On the way, we came across several locals breaking apart several large boulders into smaller stones for construction. They would drill a hole, then put in a metal wedge. A large hammer is then used to hammer the wedge, thus causing the stone to split. Ishwor Bhantana tried his hand at this, but unfortunately, despite multiple attempts, no, the rock did not split. XD

 

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At 1600H, we finally reached the town of Dharapani. Yay!

 

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Spent the night at New Tibet Guest House. No free charging in room here. T_T

 

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Part 1 2 3 4 5 6

 

See also

Mountains & Hills

Gear & Stuff

Preparing Yourself

 

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