We broke one of the cardinal rules for traveling. If you wear glasses, take a spare pair. Didn’t and last night one of ex-Marine’s ear pieces broke off from metal fatigue. Fortunately, his sunglasses are prescription otherwise he’d be up the creek without a paddle. Even so, how do you use prescription sunglasses to see anything when it is pitch-black in your room? Impossible. Used our handy-dandy roll of duct tape to semi-attach the stem. And then…the other ear piece broke off. Duct-taped that one. This is going to be a daily routine duct-taping stems until we return home.
It was going to be another exhausting day from Chomrong to Doban, at 1,600m/5,429′. Powered up at breakfast with egg and onion omelets, chapatis and lots of coffee. Since the day we saw the egg man carrying his 2,000 eggs, we’ve been trying to eat more eggs. Doing our bit to help him. Chomrong is the village where the trail divides into two – those trekkers heading towards Annapurna Sanctuary, and those heading back down to Pokhara – and where we’ll take the new trail returning from Sanctuary.
A steep down towards the Chomrong River on too many slate steps to count (however, I did count them on the return to Chomrong), past small children… with a stop at the General Store selling everything with reasonable prices…
From here on out, the day would become all uphill on the way to Doban. At times the trail was very steep through thick jungle and Rhododenron forest. Vimal pointed out white orchids on a tree… View image…bushes of baby’s breath flowers…heading to Sinuwa for a tea break. And, what do you think we saw in Sinuwa…our yak from yesterday…totally tuckered out from his psychologically taxing experience on the suspension bridge…resting in a field.
We probably drank more soft drinks during the 12-days than the last five years. From Sinuwa, the route took us up a steep-sided valley with Machapuchhre just towering above us on one side of the valley and Hinchuli Mountain on the other. Bamboo (had a Western toilet and we’d overnight here on the return) for lunch and another 1-1/2 hours to Doban, arriving at 4:30 pm. Past waterfalls, over log bridges, swinging bridges, through Bamboo forests, climbing more slate stairs until Doban. When Vimal says “exhausting,” he means exhausting. This was the 5th day in a row of heavy-duty trekking.
The guesthouse in Doban had only a few double rooms. There are definite advantages to being last and older than anyone else in the group. We had a double room. Everyone got cleaned up and gathered in the dining room listening to heavy rain. It’s rained every day in little starts and stops but the heavy rain has taken place during the night. Let’s hope it continues that way. But you know if it’s raining at this low altitude, it’s snowing up higher. Please…no hiking in heavy snow.. This is difficult enough averaging at least 3,000 vertical feet a day.