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Annapurna Circuit Trek (NSR) - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib View Post

What an incredible journey.

Thanks for sharing, Kevin.

My sentiments too - and a wonderful job you're doing with the narrative.
post #32 of 45
Thread Starter 

Day 13:  Ghorepani to Hillie

 

Whoever built the trail to Ghorepani built the trail leaving it as well, as the endless staircases continued.  However, this time, the stairs were going down.  We left our regular views of the high mountains behind and continued our journey through fertile farm lands.

 

A traffic jam in Nepal:

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Typical scenery.  Note the terraced hillsides surrounding any visible town.

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Looking back up the endless staircase.  Right after our lunch break, we came to the top of a hill and our guide pointed out Hillie in the valley floor below us.  He then said that there are 3,700 stairs between us and the town.  Wow.  Well, at least we're going down 3,700 stairs and not UP 3,700 stairs.  That would be the stairmaster workout from hell.  I asked if there was a bannister that we could slide down instead of walking down smile.gif, but there's not.  frown.gif  Our porters came hauling past us at one point.  They were practically running down the stairs.  I kept expecting to see one of them sprawled on the ground, but they all stayed upright.  The sure-footedness of porters is amazing, especially when you take into account the 70, 80 pound loads they're carrying while wearing flip-flops.

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The night in Hillie was the last night that everybody would be together, as the next day would be the last day.  Chocolate cake was served, raksi was served (I thought it tasted awful, but I'm not a big alcohol drinker anyway...), tunes were cranked (Nepali music is actually pretty good) and the dance floor was opened.  It was a great party, but it was sad to know that the journey was all but over.

post #33 of 45
Thread Starter 

Day 14:  Hillie to Naya Pul and Pokhara

 

This was a really short day, just three or four hours.  Easy, flat, road walk back to civilization.  Farm lands gave way to more populated areas, and suddenly we were standing on a paved road in the town of Naya Pul.  From there, we hopped a bus to get back to Pokhara, which is a real city (population is 100,000 or so).

 

The five of us and our head guide spent the night in Pokhara, but the porters and rest of the staff continued the bus ride back to Kathmandu, so we said farewell to them.  A lot of them join right up with another trekking group and head out again.  Trekking season in Nepal is short (May, October and November for the most part), so they work as much as possible in those months to make as much money as possible.  You can rest when the tourists leave, I guess!  Their stamina never ceased to amaze me.

 

We checked into a hotel.  Somebody showed me to my room and asked if "everything was fine?".  Are you kidding?  I've been camping for 14 days!  A shower?  A bed?  A real toilet?  Hot running water?  Is everything fine?  It's fab!  Heaven!  I know my shower lasted about 20 minutes, and I spent the first 10 minutes just standing there.  icon14.gif

 

Did some wandering around in the tourist-district of Pokhara, ate dinner somewhere, and tried to re-enter "civilization".

 

The road on the way to Naya Pul.  The water was actually pretty deep.  We walked across on the left-hand edge.  There's also a waterfall right there.  One last place that you really didn't want to fall!  Nobody fell into the water, and nobody fell off the edge, so all was good.

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Saw some natives working their farms and doing other labor along the road side.  These ladies were breaking up rocks, by hand, with a small hammer.  I have no idea why they were doing this.  They certainly weren't going to run out of rocks anytime soon.

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post #34 of 45
Thread Starter 

Day 15:  Pokhara to Kathmandu

 

The five of us and our guide flew back to Kathmandu.  Our flight was at 9:50; our shuttle to take us to the airport showed up around 9:00.  Not exactly a busy airport.  Our guide checked us in, we walked across the tarmac, boarded a little prop plane, and embarked on about a 30 minute flight to Kathmandu.

 

We stayed fairly low -- pilot didn't announce our altitude, but probably not much over 15,000 feet or so.  It gave us a spectacular view of the high Himalayan peaks though.  They stretch as an unbroken white wall for as far as you can see in either direction.  No obvious gaps or ways through.  Makes me wonder what the original settlers of the region must have thought.  Sure makes you realize why they believed (and still believe to some degree) that their gods reside in the mountains.

 

We checked into another hotel in Kathmandu.  Did a little sight-seeing that afternoon, and then that night the six of us went out for dinner one last time.  Our guide had the next day off ("I need to do laundry" he said), and then the next day -- he was heading out again, leading another group.  He was a great guide -- funny, knowledgeable, really knew how to keep us to a good pace.

 

And then that was it.  We've gone our separate ways since then.  Some of us hung around in Kathmandu for a few more days to do a bit more sight-seeing, but in the next two or three days, we all were on planes and flying back home.

 

They say that when you're out hiking you should "take only photographs and leave only footprints".  I always try to adhere to that rule, but I've been home for a couple weeks now, and there's no denying it -- I left more then my footprints in Nepal.  A part of my heart is there too.  Nepal is a stunningly beautiful, magical place.  I thought when I first left home to go to Nepal that it would be a "once in a lifetime" trip, but I have to find a way to get back to experience it again.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

 

I hope you've enjoyed reading and seeing some of the highlights as much as I enjoyed writing up some of my memories of the trip.  I hope I've inspired somebody to go trekking in Nepal as well.  It's expensive and takes forever to get there, but it's most definitely worth it.

 

Thanks for reading,

Kevin

post #35 of 45
If we could post sound files I would insert the sound of people clapping their hands.

Thanks Kevin, it's been a great read, felt like we went on the journey too.
post #36 of 45
Thanks for sharing Kevin. Great pictures and writing. beercheer.gif
post #37 of 45

Thanks for sharing this. I find it fascinating to see and hear of the changes in Nepal, so much as I remember it and yet so different!

post #38 of 45

Your photos and narrative brought it all to life.   Thanks so much for going to the effort to tell your story so well.  I wanna go to Nepal now.

post #39 of 45
Kevin- 👏
post #40 of 45

Very Nice. Hope I can do it someday.

post #41 of 45

Beautiful pix, Kevin!  I especially loved the pix to Thorung High Camp!  In 2009, we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp (13,500) and Gokyo Ri (17,585).  The scenery was breathtaking!  The Gokyo Ri trek was the highlight of the trip!  I did not take diamox on the trip to ABC and I got AMS once I slept over 12,000 ft.  On the trip to Gokyo Ri, I did take diamox and it made all the difference in the world!  I still remember sleeping at 14,445 and waking up in the middle of the night gulping air. When we got back to the US and were driving home to the Eastern Sierra, we both kept commenting on how small our mountains looked on the drive.  Nepal really is "the rooftop of the world".   

post #42 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWshred View Post

Beautiful pix, Kevin!  I especially loved the pix to Thorung High Camp!  In 2009, we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp (13,500) and Gokyo Ri (17,585).  The scenery was breathtaking!  The Gokyo Ri trek was the highlight of the trip!  I did not take diamox on the trip to ABC and I got AMS once I slept over 12,000 ft.  On the trip to Gokyo Ri, I did take diamox and it made all the difference in the world!  I still remember sleeping at 14,445 and waking up in the middle of the night gulping air. When we got back to the US and were driving home to the Eastern Sierra, we both kept commenting on how small our mountains looked on the drive.  Nepal really is "the rooftop of the world".   

 

When we first started the trek, the first thing our group asked the guide was "when should we start taking diamox?".  Our guide told us "never", as it's a diuretic (i.e., you'll get dehydrated), which he thought would be worse then AMS.  So everybody in our group had diamox and nobody took it.  Did you notice negative side effects of taking diamox?

 

That night at High Camp when I was sick with AMS, I was wondering about the wisdom of not taking diamox though!  It's not a "miracle drug", so taking it at High Camp wouldn't have done anything.  At some point going to Thorung La Pass, you have to do a 3,000 vertical foot climb, which is "pushing it" at those altitudes.

 

Our guide was a big believer in garlic being the best altitude medicine available, and our guides cooked every single meal with garlic.  I'm not sure if there's any medical / scientific evidence proving that garlic helps with acclimatization, but, as I said above, a group of five people made it to 15,000 feet before anybody started getting AMS symptoms.  We had the "contingency day" in the schedule as well; I'm assuming that if any of us were "dangerously sick" at High Camp, we would have spent another day there or gone back down a bit.

post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

 

When we first started the trek, the first thing our group asked the guide was "when should we start taking diamox?".  Our guide told us "never", as it's a diuretic (i.e., you'll get dehydrated), which he thought would be worse then AMS.  So everybody in our group had diamox and nobody took it.  Did you notice negative side effects of taking diamox?

 

That night at High Camp when I was sick with AMS, I was wondering about the wisdom of not taking diamox though!  It's not a "miracle drug", so taking it at High Camp wouldn't have done anything.  At some point going to Thorung La Pass, you have to do a 3,000 vertical foot climb, which is "pushing it" at those altitudes.

 

Our guide was a big believer in garlic being the best altitude medicine available, and our guides cooked every single meal with garlic.  I'm not sure if there's any medical / scientific evidence proving that garlic helps with acclimatization, but, as I said above, a group of five people made it to 15,000 feet before anybody started getting AMS symptoms.  We had the "contingency day" in the schedule as well; I'm assuming that if any of us were "dangerously sick" at High Camp, we would have spent another day there or gone back down a bit.

Diamox is a vasodilator. I did not want to take it but I am prone to altitude sickness.  It was the only way I could climb over 14,500 which is my threshold.  I did not experience any side effects, but some do experience tingling in the hands.  At ABC Basecamp, I had a bad headache, which got worse the 2nd day.  I couldn't eat and spent most of the time in the tent on my back. At that point, I took diamox hoping something, anything, would help.  It did!  I didn't feel great, but I was able to get some food down and sleep that night.   On the Gokyo Ri trek, I started taking it at Namche Bazaar (11,500).  Felt fine, but wanted it in my system for the higher parts of the trek.  As far as dehydration goes, I was drinking 4-5 liters of water a day.  I didn't have any problems.  

post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
When we got back to the US and were driving home to the Eastern Sierra, we both kept commenting on how small our mountains looked on the drive.  Nepal really is "the rooftop of the world"

 

Not that Annapurna is anywhere close to K2 (world's second highest mountain, which is hundreds of miles way in Pakistan), but I did come across this picture on Wikipedia comparing the relative sizes of the Matterhorn and K2:

 

 

I think that does a good job of visualizing how enormous a Himalayan peak is.

post #45 of 45

Fantastic pics and highlights of your journey Kevin! I too decided on going to the Himalaya's instead of another prolonged ski adventure and had the time of my life.

 

After returning from Mt Everest Base Camp (in excellent shape!) I got really sick in Kathmandu & couldn't leave my hostel bed for 5 days. I was supposed to then go on to the Annapurna Circuit so I head over to Pokhara, but couldn't fully recover in time, before I had to continue my journey through India. So I missed out on Annapurna. Your photo's helped me see it through your eyes.

 

For those wondering about a good trekking book, this is the best book that I know of trekking in the Himalaya's that I know:

http://alibris-marketplace.store.buy.com/p/trekking-in-himalayas/202780492.html

 

It is just the trekking routes and gives pics and descriptions of each day's journey on what to expect. (Just like Kevin did)

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