Most trekkers take a rest day in Manang for acclimatization. Walk high and sleep low is the best way to get used to the altitude. So I decided to go really high today, from the 3,540m in Manang up to the 4,600 of Ice Lake. My guide adviced it would be too difficult, but having met other hikers who plan to hike up as well, I am quite confident that I can make it.
To start the trail, we first have to walk back half an hour to Braka. I thought about sleeping there, but the guesthouse in Manang was so much more comfortable that I don’t regret my decision to continue yesterday! And suprise, just when we arrive in Braka I am meeting again with the Belgium Twins and the couple who also planned hiking up the Ice Lake. We are leaving together, only to start drifting apart as everyone hikes at his own pace. I can already feel the altitude a little. The view is fantastic so I enjoy hiking even though it’s quite steep and exhausting. The sun is shining and the sky really blue (again!) but it’s windy and gets cold as soon as you stop. It’s nice to walk for once without my big backpack.
I am very excited to see my first Yaks. They look so fluffy I would love to cuddle them. But although they are not dangerous and you can get close, they didn’t really want to be touched by me.
It takes a few hours to hike up to the lake and the last bit stretches, you think you must be very close and then you walk and walk around the mountain until you finally come to a first lake, continuing just a few hundred meters further you reach Ice Lake. We take a long time for a nice photo shooting of everyone and then walk around the lake to discover the view is much more impressive from the other side with the mountains as backdrop! Another hike is joining us – the Dutch girl I met on the first day in Besisahar! Nice to see people again and share some great moments.
Downhill is easy and I hike fast, being back in Braka in only 90minutes. We order a late lunch at the nice guesthouse, which unfortunately takes a lot of time to prepare for so many people. We start being cold after the sun has disappeared behind the mountains so we sit finally inside. Finally we walk back to Manang where I relax a little and enjoy another evening around the fire. We are now a group of 8 hikers to decide to hike together the next day to Tilicho Lake. It’s a nice but difficult side trip to the highest lake in the world. We are lucky that there is no snow yet, otherwise the trail would be closed already. Everyone is happy to have a guide coming with us – so finally useful to have him! I look forward to sharing the day with other people and not just being on my own with my guide.