I’ve gone into a lot of detail about the Annapurna Sanctuary trek because it’s important to know all this information if you’ve never trekked before or want to trek in this area. There are almost too many tour operators to list plus almost every guide runs their own operation on the side. Before booking with your adorable, knowledgeable guide, ask yourself – what if he becomes ill or just disappears in the mountains with your money? It can happen. We’ve used Adventure Center (see side box) for over 15 trips including this one. They are the hand-off for many relatively inexpensive tour operators around the world (Exodus, Explore, Imaginative Traveller, Dragoman, Geckos, Peregrine). Trekking – bicycling – cultural – overland trips – volunteer. Singles, couples, gays…you’ll all feel comfortable. And, without a doubt, these organizers visit every “safe” country in the world. Remember, I never recommend anyone I haven’t used and am satisfied with! Request a catalog. Look at their offerings. Book a trip.
- Remember, a “B” grade trek is not the same around the world. A “B” in Nepal could be considered a “C” somwhere else.
- Bring “gently” used old clothes to leave behind. Not just here but everywhere. There is always someone who will think your cast-offs are wonderful.
- Talk to someone who has already done this trek for a better understanding. (We didn’t…)
- Pack everything in plastic (trash) bags inside your duffels and/or suitcases.
- April is the most beautiful time of the year to trek in Nepal. The pink, red and white Rhododendrons are incredible against the greenery and snow-capped mountains.
- If you wear glasses and/or contact lenses, bring an extra pair!
- Your clothes will not dry overnight if you get rain or wash them. Bring extra socks and liners. The wet clothes and socks will usually dry on your body while walking if they’re not dripping wet. But there’s nothing more disgusting than pulling on sopping wet, cold socks in the morning. We ended up taking smelly, dry socks out of the duffel to wear.
- Use sock liners. They will help prevent blisters.
- It’s even more important to be mentally tough than physically tough. Difficult to keep going during the long days. Psych yourself up! This trek demanded:
—– Two 10-hour days —- over 3,800+ steps UP in 90 degree heat (Remember? Two times the height of a 94-story building?) — a 5,000 foot vertical drop down one day —- and the entire trail was primarily on uneven slate steps and rocks —-
- Bring powerful torches/flashlights. Not the dinky ones we brought along.
We returned home from this trek with a new definition of what “luxury” is:
- The ability to drink water from a tap without purifying it;
- A Western toilet;
- Fluffy pillows;
- An abundance of fruits and vegetables; and
- Good health.
The mountains, scenery and people of Nepal are so beyond belief that you should come here. I’m not trying to warn you away from visiting or attempting a trek, but you know what is involved. Would I still have trekked to the Annapurna Sanctuary if it was labeled a “C”? Probably not. I don’t think anyone in the group (regardless of age) had any idea that the entire ordeal involved “steps.” To me, a trail consists of dirt with stones and boulders interspered along it. Nonetheless, Annapurna Sanctuary was quite an achievement to put it mildly. And, with that, let’s say a fervant Amen…