A.B.C. = Annapurna Base Camp, located at 4130 metres altitude it was the final destination of our 10-day trekking in the Annapurna range. I won’t be placing a day-to-day report in my blog here, but I’ll write down some things of interest to give you an impression. I think the photos will tell their own story.
The trekking party consisted of the 8 Dutch tour members (including tour leader), and 6 Nepali staff: the guide, the assistant-guide, and four porters. The first day started off nicely with a walk along a river. Patricia, the assistant-guide and I were walking ahead of the rest, and after an hour we decided to wait for them. When they hadn’t arrived in 1,5 hours, we reached the conclusion that we took the wrong route (even though the assistant-guide kept telling us we were on the right track), and we walked back. We reached our first lodge right before dark in rainy weather. Needless to say, no one believed the navigation skills of the assistant-guide afterwards, and during the rest of the trek no one got lost anymore.
The second day we walked to Ghorepani where we had to pay a fee to the maoist rebels. They were unarmed and not very impressive, yet all foreigners were gently forced to pay the 1200 rupees (15 euro). The next morning we got up before sunrise to climb up Poon Hill and watch the sunrise from there. We continued to Tadapani and to Chomrong on the fourth day. This part of the trek was mainly through forests, and agricultural areas. We encountered quite a few locals, some of which looked like they were just going for a stroll, and some were carrying lots of stuff (there are no roads in the trekking area, just tracks). Also we passed lots of donkeys, and the occasional cow on the track.
The fifth day we took the track to the Annapurna Base Camp, where we arrived on the sixth day. Since this track only leads to A.B.C., we encountered more tourists, guides, and porters than before. At A.B.C. the view was amazing, especially the next morning, when the sky was completely clear. We could see Annapurna I (8000+ metres), Annapurna South (7000+ metres), and Machhapuchhre (almost 7000 metres) from an altitude of 4130 metres. Really spectacular.
Luckily no one suffered too bad from altitude sickness, although Pieter did get really ill (still not sure what, he managed to get up and down slowly, but had to be carried the second-last afternoon). From A.B.C. we hiked to Bamboo on the 7th day, where some smart Nepali had started a German bakery. And having fresh chocolate croissants and orange juice for breakfast up in the mountains is really heaven.
The 8th day we hiked to Jihnu, where we soaked in the natural hot springs next to the river, before having dinner at the lodge. The food at the lodges was quite good, not only the local dal bath (rice with ‘linzen’), but also macaroni, pizza, fried rice, potatoes, pancakes (yummie) and soup. Besides the food, the hot showers that were available in most of the lodges were an unexpected convenience. Some also had electricity, but usually only a few hours of the day.
The ninth day Fidel, the assistant-guide, one of the porters and I took a somewhat more difficult path and visited another town. We arrived at Syauli Bazar before the others though, because the ‘easy’ path was not a easy as it sounded. The tenth (last) day was a short walk along the river back to the main road. There the bus to Pokhara was already waiting.