Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Annapurna Sanctury

Saturday 15 May: I practically run the mile downhill back to Ghoropani, have my usual breakfast of oat porridge and black tea, and at 6:30 am set off at pace for Ghhomrong (7,119ft) eleven hard miles north - all of them steeply up, or down. I grab a quick lunch of boiled new potatoes and Yak cheese at the Hotel Grand View in Tadapani and reach Ghomrong's Hotel Excellent Top View in time for a Dhal Bhatt dinner and hot shower. When the snow-clouds clear the sight of Machhapuchhre's (22,956ft) 'Fish Tail' twin peaks highlighted in the dusk sunlight are magical. This is a virgin mountain, sacred to Buddhists and unconquered.
Sunday 16: This is a long tough day. I hear two young American's describe the climbs and dips as brutal but I'm acclimatised and now have leg muscles I didn't know existed. I make Sinuwa (7,579ft) in two hours, Bamboo in four, Dovan (8,530ft) for lunch in five, Himalaya (9,580ft) in seven, Deoralia (10,499ft) in more than eight and MBC's (Machhapuchhre Base Camp's) basic Ganggapurna Lodge (12,139ft) in eleven hours. Ten miles in eleven hours and I'm knackered but the lodge serves great Dhall Bhatt and even the porters are impressed by my efforts. Surprisingly, hanging on the wall, is one of Philip Storey's pictorial maps of the English Lake District. It's a well worn copy but it's been carefully mounted on a cut-to-size teak board. This must have been carried all the way up from the nearest trail head, three days on foot, at Nayapal. It seems the British Cartographic Society has a long, and high, reach. I know Philip and perhaps he should take this as a hint to expand his horizons.
Monday 17: It's a dawn start again and I reach ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) at 13,550ft in two hours. The rest of the day is the long 15 mile descent back to Ghhomrong (7,119ft). In the final section I count more than 2,200 steps from the river valley up to the top of Ghhomrong village - and this is on the return 'downhill' trail.
Tuesday 18: Another dawn start and I reach the main road at Nayapal mid-afternoon, take a taxi to Pokara and a microbus (minibus) to Kathmandu and the joys of a hot shower and clean dry clothes from my big pack at Annapurna Lodge in Freak Street - two swift Everest beers and it's midnight.
Pictures of Annapurna Sanctuary trek.

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