At 6.30am breakfast is ready and served. First time that this happens on the trail! Usually I wait around 15-30minutes. I was in the bed for 12h, sleeping, reading, listening to music and got a good rest. It takes me quite some time to warm up and get a good pace again. The first 50min to Dovan appear hence difficult and steep. A few more hours and 11am I arrive in Deurali and enjoy a Masala tea and yummy chapati bread with cheese. I meet again a French woman who just came down and tells me some weird story about her having lost her hiking friend so she just continued on her own. I continue and finally am feeling good again, hiking faster and overtaking the Asian groups. They tell me that they arrived in the dark at their guesthouse last night and seem rather tired. As I am getting close to Machapuchare Base Camp I follow the group to the only open guesthouse. I ask the manager what I can eat without having to wait for this big group to be served first and he brings me Dhal Bhat about 2minutes later. Worst Dhal Bhat of this trip but at least it gives me some energy. I observe the Chinese group. They are all over the place, chatting, asking the owner for WIFI (200NR – and its just a short lunch break!), expensive tissues and other stuff they didn’t bring. Its very different from the usual hikers, they seem very inexperienced but also very enthusiastic about the whole experience.
Machapuchare is also called fishtail mountain due to the shape of the summit. Its close to 7,000m and the one mountain I always recognize. It is a holy mountain, sacred to the god Shiva, and no one is allowed to climb it. The name Machapuchare Base Camp is hence misleading. From there it is not far anylonger to the Annapurna Base Camp. It’s a much easier hike from here and at 3.30pm I already arrive at ABC, after having climbed 2,000m altitude today. The approach to ABC is impressive, there is a strong wind and as its cloudy the view changes every few minutes. You can see ABC from far away and it seems so close, although it is still quite a walk. I take a few pictures at the standard sign, welcoming you to the camp at 4,130m altitude.
I am staying at the guesthouse which was recommended by the French girl I met in Tadapani. It looks fine at first although the owner only very reluctantly gives me a discount after asking me not to tell anyone. Only after starting to walk around the basecamp, up higher, I start being impressed to be here, so close to Annapurna I and Annapurna South. The amount of commemorative signs is overwhelming- far too many people died here trying to summit Annapurna.
As per Edmund Hillary, its not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves. The mountains only tolerates us and we should always respect them.
The evening is cold as I sit in the rather empty dining room. I chat with an Italian couple, waiting for dinner. The promised heater is not started although the owner promised this to me earlier. I am angry, especially as they treat me inferior and laugh at me. Well, this will be my last cold night for this trip and again a night where I am very early in my sleeping bag!