I love that it is so easy to sleep in the mountains after a good day of exercice! Usually I am a very “difficult sleeper”, meaning I have a lot of troubles falling asleep, laying in my bed for hours still awake. But during the whole trip I seem to be tired enough (if not exhausted on some days) to just fall asleep quickly.
Breakfast is muesli with powdered hot milk and apple. Not too bad, but powdered milk is not my favorite (although I didn’t expect them to have anything else up here). I am only paying 800 NRS for dinner, breakfast, tea and my shower. The good thing about travelling off-season is that you can often negotiate to stay for free if you have dinner and breakfast at the guesthouse. The higher we get / the more far away from road access the more expensive the food gets obviously but it’s still cheap for European tourists. Think about the crazy prices you pay for food in huts in the alps!
We start our trip walking through Tal and along the river when I realize I forgot my hiking sticks! My guide says he will walk back – and disappears slowly. Maybe it would have been quicker with me getting them 🙂 It gives me some time to take some pictures of the trail: the whole Annapurna Circuit is marked with white/red signs and relatively easy to find. According to my guidebook, Tal is also an area with a lot of horses, although I can only see a few. The trail is beautiful and rough for a while.
In Dharapni we are taking a break for tea and I show Prakash the side trip described in the guidebook I would like to take to avoid the road. The road which is built up to Manang has not everywhere been replaced by nice trails. I was aware that hiking the AC includes some road, but wherever possible I planned to take alternatives. Prakash nods – but after a while I realize that we didn’t take the right turn for the sidetrail. I get angry, also at myself for not paying more attention – but I was trusting my guide at that time. I listen to music for a while and as more and more mountains become visible, I forget being angry. How can you be angry if you are so spoiled to be here in this breathtaking scenery? Prakash aplogizes and soon we are sitting in the sun, enjoying a great view on the mountains and waiting for our Dhal Bhat for lunch. I also benefit from the warm break to wash socks and underwear. At least my hands warm up quickly after soaking in cold water.
I enjoy the afternoon hike and meet the first other hikers today 🙂 One single hiker with a guide at a permit check post and a couple before Chame – I will soon get to know them better. At 4.h30 we arrive in Chame, at the guesthouse I am the only foreigner but there are 3 Nepali on holidays staying for a few days. We are sitting in our downjackets around the small fire and something feels very odd. We are at 2670m altitude, there is barely electricity, no central heating, but there is WIFI and the 3 Nepali are constantly checking their smartphones instead of talking. Unfortunately they also smoke and the smoke seems to flow directly into my room where I try to sleep a little later. I’ve got a headache and I think that it was great being on my own in the guesthouse the night before 🙂 How can you sleep here in high season with hundreds of other hikers?