What a day! Impressive landscape, quite different from the trail so far on the Annapurna Circuit (AC) and a lot more difficult.
It feels great to start the day as a group. With my guide, we are now 9 people to walk from Manang to Tilicho Base Camp today. After checking in at the Tourist Checkpoint (and seeing some interesting stats on the top countries visiting the AC (Israel second!) – see pictures), we walk up to Karkash. I am so slow walking up that I am often the last one. It’s always the same, my body seems just not to get enough oxygen when walking up, no matter how hard I practice! And it’s not just the altitude, it’s the same at very low elevation. But I know that I can get there, slowly but steady, and so I feel just a little mad at myself for being so slow 🙂
In Karkash we are told that Shree Kharka, where we wanted to have lunch today and stay overnight tomorrow, is already closed. So we decide to hang around a while at the roof top of a nice guesthouse, enjoying the sun and nice tea and ordering some bread to take away for lunch later. But once the fresh Chapati and buckwheat bread are served, we cannot resist and just eat them right away. It’s so delicious to eat fresh bread!
Finally, we continue to Tilicho Base Camp. The next three hours are quite exhausting, but it’s an impressive landscape. Some difficult parts, icy, sandy, stones, slippery,… We have to be careful and some parts have even been secured against landslides. Just before reaching the base camp, it’s getting really windy and it feels like a little sandstorm around us.
The base camp has a nice dining room. The sun shines on the windows and it’s quite warm to sit there – until again the sun disappears. The rooms are quite cold as well and Mirke – the dutch girl – and I share a room, hoping it will be a little warmer with 2 people inside.
It is so cold up here that all the water pipelines are frozen and we have to go to the river to get water for our bottles. We order tea and hot water, which takes hours before we get it. This guesthouse is the worst I will encounter during the whole trek regarding the service. My guide tells me that the 2 guys are still trainees, left during the cold days up here. The life must be very rough. However, they just sit around and play cards instead of preparing the tea and food we ordered. At least we can start the fire quite early today as there are so many guests. In addition to us 9, there are 4 other people who didn’t walk down after an exhausting walk up to Tilicho Lake in very stormy conditions. We sit around the fire and chat, but I am getting really hungry given that we had a very early lunch which consisted only of some bread. I am not good at all at being hungry, I usually get into a very bad mood… in addition, of course it’s me being the last served! Maybe I deserved it for having such a bad mood 🙂