AC: Ghorepani – Tadapani + Poon Hill | Dec. 28, 2015

Poon Hill

Ghorepani is like the “base camp” for walks up to Poon Hill – which is famous for the beautiful lit mountains at sunrise. It’s as touristy as it sounds and even in off season it was very busy. Compared to the small amount of hikers on the Annapurna Circuit in winter, the area around Ghorepani and Annapurna Base Camp are still very popular. It’s quite fast to reach from Pokhara, much shorter and at lower altitude which makes it attractive for much more people. Plenty of them are having guides, porters and look at me astonished that I carry everything on my own and have already hiked a couple of weeks. The atmosphere is very different here and also the landscape as we are at much lower altitude.

Following the recommendation of the manager at our guesthouse, Mirke and I are only starting the ascent at 6am. Bad mistake, I am still extremely tired and my body isn’t able anylonger to hike upstairs. It takes me an incredible effort for this few hundred meters of altitude (Ghorepani is at 2860m and Poon Hill at 3193m) until I reach the peak – and I am only having a very daypack and not my big backpack. I am angry at myself and unhappy as I reach the top. But I make it just in time as the sun appears at the corner of the mountain. Wow! My bad mood disappears instantly and I just sit and enjoy for a moment. Although there are many people, I can still enjoy the view and the beautiful light and mountains around it. We enjoy some tea (thanks again thermos flask – second time I “needed” you) and take pictures.

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Poon Hill sunrise

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The moon!

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Top of Poon Hill

 

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Mirke & me

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Despite Poon Hill being quite touristy, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and experience. If you have time, try to do Muldai instead (or additonally) for the sunrise. Mirke highly recommended it as its closer to the mountains and there are far less tourists. But due to my bad knee I decided to skip this and focus on getting to ABC.

The descent is bad for my knees (again), so after breakfast I am sending Mirke and the guy from New Zealand off to hike at their own pace. We will have to seperate anyway today as I will be hiking to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) which Mirke already visited a couple of weeks ago. At least I want to try  to reach ABC, I can be quite stubborn and even with my painful knee I cannot really let go of the plan to see ABC. I have heard that while the Annapurna Circuit reaches high altitude and has breathtaking mountain views, ABC is a very different experience because you actually get really close to the mountains. So I cannot miss it 🙂 At least, I decide to hike only half a day today and relax the afternoon in Tadapani, at a lodge recommended by Mirke.

Ghorepani – Tadapani

For the first time I am now on my own, as I start at 8h30 yet another ascent to Deurali Pass at 3090m. I reach the pass at 11h after walking very slowly, but it was again worth the effort! Sunshine and white mountains around me! There are plenty of tourists again and a group of Dutch have good photo skills and I finally get some nice pictures of myself!

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Endless stairs

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View at Deurali Pass

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After the pass, the descent is beautiful in the rainforest, along (frozen) rivers and of course I get lost once! But there are 3 Nepali guys hiking with me and together we can find again the right trail… later I hear that other people couldn’t find the right trail either at this section so I am relieved its not only my bad navigation skills. After the nice and rather easy descent part (which only hurt my knee terribly), there is a very long section up again. I am so exhausted that I am seriously questioning again why I am doing this again and again to myself. Well, once you reach the top, you know why!

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Even though the morning seemed endless, I can still find Mirke at Tadapani at the very top lodge “Hotel Grand View”, finishing her lunch. I am relieved to know that I will have a rest for the day at this beautiful location and I am offered the best room of the guesthouse with the most impressive view I have had on this trail. During the ascent I have decided that I need to ditch some of my stuff, otherwise I cannot make it. Mirke instantly offers to take something with her to Pokhara as she is not as tired and will already be in Pokhara in 2-3 days. I am so grateful and give her my thermos flask, spikes and emergency blanket. Later I will finish off or give away a few other things, which will make my backpack about 1,5kg lighter. It doesn’t sound that much but it’s exactly the difference I couldn’t carry easily anylonger.

After lunch, I am taking a long nap and have a short walk around the river. Unfortunately the water tank was empty and there is no hot water for a shower. Instead I order apple pancakes, ginger tea and enjoy the view. Incredible how many people walk around here and I listen to other people talking, too lazy to join the conversation myself. The owner of the guesthouse is incredibly kind and always hushes around to make you feel comfortable. At dinner, I sit next to a French girl who is very happy to be able to speak French with me as her English is bad. She talks about the ABC where she just comes from and I look forward to it.

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My perfect room in Tadapni

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View at night from my room
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