Notes to self. TRY and remember that a “B” hike in Peru…is not a “B” in Nepal…is not a “B” in Ladakh…is not a “B” in Europe. The rating refers ONLY to that specific country! Why do I keep forgetting this all-important piece of information? Why did I think that the Annapurna Sanctuary trek graded “B” in Nepal would be easy? Our only saving grace is the ability to walk very slowly at the back of the pack. Stamina, from all the years of exercise, and mental tenacity are the other two reasons we’re still upright, still moving and “not dead yet.” (One of my favorite lines in Monty Python & The Holy Grail …”bring out your dead…but I’m not dead yet.”)
Beside all the soft drinks, the entire group is living on carbohydrates. Pancakes, bread, cereals for breakfast…bowls of thick noodle soups, chapatis, french fries/chips, tuna pasta, pizza, small potatoes with cheese on top, rice, Dal (lentils), cheese toast…and let’s not forget candy bars. Hardly any vegetables to be seen and no fruit. You can see the weight falling off. ex-Marine has lost his “Buddha-belly” and my pants are loose.
It’s much cooler at this altitude and we’re dressed for cold weather and possibly rain. Not much sun today. Tea stop will be at Himalaya and should take two hours. Lunch in Danfe. Danfe means “pheasant” in Nepali, the country’s national bird.
If I thought yesterday was hard, today was a killer. Lila is my savior and not only carried ex-Marine’s pack but mine too. I was just dragging and staggering on proverbial last legs, and when he offered, I swallowed my pride and accepted. The trail followed the rushing Modi Khola River (the prettiest part of the day and “Khola” means river in Nepali), waterfalls…View image… and continued along a rocky path to Hinko Cave. The weather kept changing from sun…to light rain…to fog…back to sun…and finally to a serious rain with major mud to walk through. The relatively flat river area would have been the best of the entire trip for me without all the mud.
The flats ended and ascents, ascents, and more ascents began in the rain. You know it’s getting serious when you start seeing altitude warning signs…View image
Two and a half more hours until we spotted a building ahead, and passed through the gates of the sanctuary to Machapuchhre Base Camp at 3,600m/11,811′. There would have been 360 degree views of the Annapurna giants in good weather. Let’s hope tomorrow is a great day.
At dinner, the group paid 70 Rupees/person to put a huge burner under the dining room table for warmth. The entire table had a skirt of blankets around the perimeter and when you put your legs under the blanket, it was nice and toasty. Some of our clever people even took wet clothes and strung them under the table to dry. It goes without saying, no lights here.
The kitchen staff was busy rolling out pizza dough in the small, kerosene lit kitchen…while we sat around the table waiting for food (starving to death) and trying to keep warm. There is no doubt that everyone will make it to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) tomorrow. If you get this far, it’s just another 500m/1,800′ up. A cakewalk. HA! It better be worth it…