The Annapurna circuit. (October 2007)       Dutch

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 en 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 15 Begin
Hotel in Besi Sahar. Mind your head in the bathroom.
Lock the door.
Switch to switch on the streetlights.
Kathmandu-Besisahar     Thursday, October 11

From Kathmandu we take a bus to Besi Sahar. A trip of about 160 km, whitch take about 7 hours. Besi Sahar is a small village where the paved road ends and the trek will start the next day. The road runs upstream along the Marsyandi Khola, the river that we will follow to the Thorung La pass. Electricians immediately notice something strange. The streetlights are switched on with a normal switch. Definitely not waterproof and weatherproof. It is not surprising that almost every day power outage a few times.
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The valley of the river Marsyandi.
Transport by donkey train.
Pupils make music.
Hotel room with real wallpaper in Ngadi.
Besisahar - Ngadi      Day 1      Friday, October 12 (3 1/2 hours)

The first day begins with a stroll along Marsyangdi river. We pass a number of suspension bridges. Most bridges today are made of steel. The path is shared with many donkeys. If you come across them, the intention is that you place yourself on the side of the mountain and stand on the opposite side of the valley. Loads on the back of the donkey can give you a nice boost, so you may fall down. A single donkey pushes his head against my thigh, trying to pass me. It is a joyous ringing procession, which I enjoy every day again. At night some pupils from a local school make music. They need money for materials. In the hotel, the walls of the bedrooms have been plastered with newspapers. Otherwise you would see the neighbors through the cracks.
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Rice fields.
Helen with children.
Baby in basket. Here you have nothing on a stroller.
Hotel in Jagat.
Ngadi - Jagat     Day 2    Saturday, October 13 (6 hours)

We have breakfast at 7 and leave at 8. That's the daily routine. No problem, because we are usually at 9 o'clock in bed. Today we walk through a subtropical environment including banana trees. It will be every day a little cooler. Bananas will be replaced by apples. Bananas are no longer on the menu. We cross the Marsyangdi river again by long and impressive suspension bridge. Helen gets a hand from a number of helpful children. A stroller is an absurdity. Women bear their children on the back or in a basket.
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Prayer stones at the entrance of a village.
Donkey on a suspension bridge. There is one way traffic for the donkeys.
Suspension bridge over the Marsyandi river.
Helen climbs to the bridgehead.
Jagat - Dharapani     Day 3     Sunday, October 14 (6 hours)

Villages are recognized by the Buddhist prayer flags and stones at the entrance and the exit. Today is a standard trekking day. Climbing a little, decending a little, passing valleys, bridges, donkeys, etc.
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We have the luxury of a private bathroom.
Cash on the Maoists.
Prayer mills at the entrance of a village.
The first white peaks come into view. (Annapurna II)
Dharapani - Chame     Day 4     Monday, October 15 (4 1/2 hours)

Tonight we had a room with bathroom. A luxury in this area. I'm not happy about it afterwards, because the toilet does not spread pleasant scent. Today we first became acquainted with the Maoists. They want to collect about one euro per person. That's acceptable. Later this trip we passed a Maoist post where they wanted twenty euros per person. While the our guide was talking with the Maoists, we all passed without paying. We had a few big guys in our group and the Maoists were only a few small Nepali men. Today we see the first white peaks of the Annapurna mountain range.
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We start today in the rain. These are two of our carriers.
Hotel in Chame.
The rain turns into snow. (Pisang)
Shoes and clothes drying by the stove. Hotel in Pisang.
Chame - Pisang     Day 5     Tuesday, October 16 (5 hours)

According to the description of Shoestring (our travel agency) today we would be in the rain shadow of the Annapurna mountains. It would be very little rain here. We start this day, however, in the rain. During the day we climb to an altitude where rain turns to snow. We arrived cold and wet to our skin in the hotel. The stove is heated to red and the next morning all cloths and shoes are almost dry.
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Views of Annapurna II.
We see the first yaks.
Gate near the village of Manang.
Farm in Manang. Note the stairs.
Pisang - Manang     Day 6 Wednesday, October 17 (4 1/2 hours)

There are two routes to Manang. Because of the snowfall the previous day we take the easy route. We expect a lot of mud and snow on the difficult route. Fortunately the sun is shining again today. At the end of the day we meat the first yaks.
The winter stock is on the roof.
The air is crystal clear.
A Lama blesses us for the journey across the Thorung La.
Day 7    Manang

Today we explore Manang. Our guide advises to climb to 3800 meters, to acclimatize. Three hundred meters up. We head for a lama living in a cottage at the mountain. The 91-year old lama blesses us so we can safely come to the Thorung La. It helped. When Helen brook down, exactly on time a horse came along to bring her up the mountain.
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In the depths two rivers join.
Sidewalk cafe at high altitude. (3700 m)
Hotel in Yak Kharka.
Beautiful view from the hotel room.
Manang - Yak Kharka      Day 8  Friday, October 19 (3 1/2 hours)

Gorgeous day with lots of Sun In the night is getting colder. It's freezing outside and in the room it's only a few degrees above zero. Our new mummy sleeping bags did their work well. We sleep totally strapped in the bag. The thermal underwear is a good choice. We have a room with beautiful mountain views. It is a short walk today, but too much increase per day, the greater chance of altitude sickness.
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Porter with our backpack. His own stuff is tied on top with string.
Helen and René.
There are no trees at this altitude.
View from the terrace of the hotel Thorung Phedi.
Yak Kharka-Thorung Phedi   Day 9  Saturday, October 20 (3 1/2 hours)

Another day with beautiful weather. Nose and ear are protected, because the sun is strong at this altitude. We make the last jump of 400 meters uphill to Thorung La. Tomorrow it will happen. Today I take a picture of "our" carrier. Usually the same man carries our packs. He brings it into the room and picks it up in the morning. There is one porter for two people. You have to do with one backpack. Seven kilo per person, you may take. That is not much. Especially when you consider that there are a few winter days in this trip. The tour leader/guide are implying that twenty kilos with two persons are allowed. As you see in the picture, a headband with rope has been tied to the backpack. Nepalis carry the most weight with their heads. The hip belt is not used.
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Sunrise during the ascent to La Thorung.
The trail to the pass.
Helen gets on a horse, because the journey is too heavy.
Helen on a horseback.
The drinking water freezes in the bottle.
Beautiful scenery with lots of snow.
On the Thorung La is a strong cold wind.
Coming down the Thorung La.
Thorung Phedi-Thorung La-Muktinath     Day 10  Sunday, October 21

At a quarter to five we leave in the dark. Our head lights illuminate the path. It's freezing, but luckily there is no wind. The early departure has to do with the wind on the pass. Starting from ten o'clock am. You must be over as early as possible. The first part goes well. At the tea break, the guide asks me if Helen will make it to the pass. "I do not know," I say. He recommends to continue on a horse back, because with Heleens speed it should take at least another three hours. Helen did not think of any horse. After the break she quickly changed her mind. Fortunately four horses just passed. One without rider. The guide gives a scream and the man with the horse stops. Helen goes on on horseback. A cold draft in spite of all layers of clothes. I myself can now run a faster pace. Step, step, step, 81, 82, 83, 84. I am constantly counting but'm getting lost count and start again. Because I am the last, the guide is just behind me. He takes over my backpack. That gives just enough light to continue. After a while I passed of our group members. "I am out of energy and it's still one hour," she says almost crying. That's useful info. I call casually that I still have enough energy. Apparently, the altitude sickness already caught me. One of the features is that you can not properly assess your own situation and be overconfident. Moments later, the sense of time was apparently confused, I hear a German guide saying that "ein Viertel" is left. (15 minuts) I get five more members of our group. Later I heard that I was swinging violently when passing them. I talked with a thick tongue. During the few moments I rest, I notice that the breathing and heart rate not decrease. Doing nothing at this altitude is enough effort. "This should not take long," I thought. Suddenly I am after four and half hours at the pass. Helen is numb in the tea house and threatens to become hypothermic. I feel if I had a bottle of wine and behave that way. I believe, in German with a beard, to indentifie Bin Laden. "We've found Bin Laden," I shouted loudly. Moments later, I put a drunken song. It is clear that we need to descend quickly. Just a picture and quickly descend. The cold wind blows hard and we do not find the courage to even pose for a photo. Recovery comes slowly. Only after 1400 meters down the impending headache goes away. It will take some days before the breathing returns to normal.
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Women sit outside weaving.
Wall painting in a monastery in Muktinath.
Muktinath - Kagbeni     Day 11    Monday, October 22 (3 hours)

Before breakfast we visit the monastery (gompa) in Muktinath. After breakfast we depart for Khagbeni. The trail goes downhill through an area that shows great similarities with the Tibetan plateau. The rivers and tributaries are deeply ingrained in the sand-colored landscape. Small oasis in the rugged landscape enliven the view. The stabbing blinding white Himalayan peaks against the bright blue sky. After one half hour we walk through Jharkot, a fun and lively village on a ridge above the Jhong Khola valley. Two hours later we see the village of Kagbeni (2800 m).
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Our first view at the valley of the Kali Gandaki river.
Our second view at the Kali Gandaki.
Donkey train.
Monastery in Marpha.
Kagbeni - Marpha     Day 12    Tuesday, October 23 (4 hours)

The path towards Marpha runs through a wide, dry riverbed. At eleven o'clock the wind begins to stir. It is a cold wind coming from the Dhaulagiri massif. We will hold two days experience of this phenomenon. Today we walk through Jomsom. To our surprise, here is an ATM, which is not mentioned in the guidebooks. Brand-new So. It works a few hours a day, due to an expensive satellite connection. In Marpha we visit a gompa, where a service is held.
Click here for a video with sound. .
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Girl in Marpha.
Donkeys wearing a string.
Our porters and two guides.
Some donkeys are decorated.
Marpha - Ghasa    Day 13    Wednesday, October 24 (6 hours)

It's always nice to take the camera into a village. Children, adults and animals enough to take some snapshots. Today one of the porters leaves us. He has got ill. Something with the lungs. Maybe TB? Because the risk of infection, inform our guide later in Kathmandu. No, it was not TB. To get to the hospital, the ill man must walk two days and at least ten hours by bus. Is not easy when you are sick. That is quite different than an hour to wait at the doctor in the Netherlands.
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Working in the field.
The swirling water under a bridge.
Hot spring in Tatopani.
Rice harvest.
Ghasa - Tatopani     Day 14    Thursday, October 25 (4 1/4 hours)

The weather's been a lot warmer. We are of the apple trees descended to an altitude where oranges grow. In Tatopani, where we stay overnight, are hot springs. A benefit for the stricken body.
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Overhanging rocks.
Helen and René.
Tatopani - Sikha     Day 15    Friday, October 26 (4 hours)

According to the itinerary we have a day without trekking. Because tomorrow we would have to climb over 1700 meters, the guide has decided to do half of the climbn today. It is beautiful and walk through village and woods. We walk through a forest ful of noisy crickets. I succeed in making a photo of one of the crickets.
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View from our bedroom in the morning.
Classic Picture.
Chickens are transported in floor cages.
A forest like descriped in the books of Tolkien.
Sikha - Ghorepani     Day 16    Saturday, October 27 (3 hours)

We climb on to Ghorepani.
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Cheerful painted house.
Ghorepani - Tirkedungha     Day 17    Sunday, October 28 (4 hours)

Descent to Tirkedungha. A few hours we do nothing else than descending an irregular staircase with 3280 steps. This evening feel our muscles.
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Luggage is loaded on the bus.
Tirkedungha-Naya Pul-Pokhara  Day 18 Monday, October 29 (2 1/2 hours)

From afar we hear honking cars and buses. After 18 days we are back on the paved road.

By bus we leave for Pokhara. That evening we have dinner with the porters and guides. Also, the tips given.

This trip was a wonderful experience, but we have decided not to make in the future such long trips. A week to ten days walk is long enough. Furthermore we conclude that four weeks in a group is too long.
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Zie ook:    Pics of Nepalis
Roundtrip Nepal 2006
Langtang Helambu
Helens pics Nepal
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