There And Back Again..
Trip Start May 02, 2006
113Trip End Mar 02, 2007
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The Annapurna Base Camp Trek or ABC as it's known traverses a variety of terrain. Over seven days we trekked through villages and rice terraces then climbed through forests into the Annapurna Sanctuary, a valley surrounded by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers offering simply the most outstanding mountain views. Sounds nice huh, well there's a catch - stairs, lots and lots of stairs.
We have never seen so many stairs, we were warned that there were stairs but nothing prepares you for not only the physical torture the stairs dish out but the psychological torment as well. You see, just when you think you've reached the top of a particular section you turn a corner and there they are, more frikking stairs
To try and circumvent the punishment the stairs would inflict upon us we hired a porter through our hotel. His name is Baburam and he is an absolute legend as far as we were concerned. He carried our bag (at 12 KG's light by normal standards - normal for camping groups is 50 KG's per porter) up and down those bloody stairs, he would race ahead and organise our beds for the night, he would order our breakfast, lunch and dinner, make sure we were always warm, would wake us up in the morning when we wanted to sleep in. He just kept us organised and kept us moving each day, what a champ.
Anyway, when you finally make it to ABC, you spend the day and night looking around at some of the most incredible scenery you're ever likely to encounter and then you get to go back down again. And going down steps is much much harder on the body than going up. Especially so as we were sick to death of the daily routine and decided to set a land speed record to get back to the comfort of our hotel and the sleep-in and hot shower it would afford us. Boy was that a big mistake! Baburam was like the walking dead and we only managed to drag our broken bodies back to the hotel. We spent the next few days limping around town much to the amusement of the hotel staff. When you're coming back down from
ABC, play it smart and do it in three days
Our trek ended up breaking down as follows -
Day 1 Pokhara to Ghandruk - Ascent 1090m
Day 2 Ghandruk to Chhomrong - Ascent 220m
Day 3 Chhomrong to Deorali - Ascent 930m
Day 4 Deorali to Machhapuchhare Base Camp (MBC) - Ascent 560m
Day 5 MBC to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) - Ascent 530m
Day 6 ABC to Sinuwa - Descent 1890m
Day 7 Sinuwa to Pokhara - Descent 1440m
And the daily routine broke down to something like this -
-Wake up at 6.00am and pack backpack for Baburam.
-Eat breakfast and drink Tea.
-Start trekking around 7.00am
-Lunch break at around 11.30am for an hour at one of the tea houses along the way. Our staple was vegetable fried rice or noodles lathered in ketchup(don't ask). Washed down with a bottle of ice cold coke. The porters and guides all eat dahl baht 3 ties a day every day of the trek. And as we discovered later (when we had lunch at Baburam's home), they eat it every day of their life as well.
-After lunch we'd trek for another 2 hours or so and end up at a tea house. We'd get there around 3 and have the rest of the day to rest and try and recuperate so we could repeat it all again the next day.
-Times the above by 5 days on the way up and you can understand why we double-timed it down in 2 days much to our body's disgust.
After day 2 most places didn't have electricity, so at night we'd eat and read by candle or lantern light, keeping yourself warm by staying wrapped up in your sleeping bag or as close to the dining room's kerosene heater as possible. And boy did it get cold as we got closer
to the top. Minus 15c at MBC and ABC was the record for us, so cold the toilets froze up which made those midnight runs for Kat quite hazardous. As a bloke it's not a problem but you feel for the girls at times like these, these being times where altitude makes you pee alot.
And that's that. All in all a major major highlight of the trip.
If you want to get in touch with our porter - Mr Baburam Puri you can contact him through either the Giri Guest-house or the Sacred Valley Inn, both of which are Lakeside, Pokhara. He is also available on firstname.lastname@example.org - but he's new to email as we set him up when we got back so he may not get back to you in a timely manner. If you receive no answer it may be best to get hold of him through either of the two guest-houses above.
Next Pod - Kathmandu, Nepal.
Nath and Kat.