Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. [Regarder profondément dans la nature, et alors vous comprendrez tout mieux.]
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. – Freya Stark
Living on the edge, trying different things, and being an Adrenaline Junkie, none of these have I ever tried in my life, n’ now here I was –preparing for 5 days of cold-blooded trekking to the Great Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), where I shall experience my life from the other side. What else then? I packed my bag, tightened up the belt and off to 4,195 meters above the Sea Level to Annapurna Base Camp.
The crowd in the Pokhara was awesome, mostly Tourists preparing for the Trek and other who just came back from their expedition. You had to mind your steps through such a crowd, otherwise it was sure to bump into someone. After a good sleep and a mediocre Nepali breakfast, we were off to start our Trek.
The Uphill route from Phedi to Dhampus (1750m) was the first challenge which we completed with loads of effort. The first day is never easy when you’re carrying 30kgs backpack. Wrestling with the heat and making our way up was quite exhausting for the first day. There we not much trekkers who had started along with us, either we were late or they were far behind us, but we did meet many who were descending.
By the last of Sunlight we made it up to Landruk, a small village in Annapurna Region with 10-15 hotels within its premise. We chose a cheap ad simple hotel for us, for just Rs. 100 a night (which was OK). After an early dinner, we slept while recollecting the first day experience and whining about hurting feet.
Second day invited another Great Hike Downhill and again Uphill. From Landruk (1620m) to Jhinu Danda (1720m) was a great waterfall, dense forest, 1000s of stairs uphill and down. Reaching the most advanced town in the Annapurna Region, Chhomrong, was a great experience. We reached there in the noon. The availability of hotel, message center, hair cut salon, shower and entertainment stuffs, makes it the most happening place in all the Annapurna Region, and also one of the Stop for every Trekker. The flow of tourist, going up and coming down, started increasing. We met many fellow trekkers who were ascending that day.
It’s natural for the Cost of Meal to go UP during the ascent. The cost of accommodation is ever similar, however it is in meal that these hotel owners reap profit. A good meal, with high protein, carbohydrate and vitamin is very essential, along with good amount of fluid.
Our final stop for the day was Sinuwa (2000m). Though they didn’t provide us with any Blankets, we slept cosy in our Sleeping Bag.
The temperature and altitude hadn’t taken its toll yet, we were still way below the Freezing point and altitude. The beginning of the third day Trek started with downhill hike. We completed countless stairs that day, and hiked through the rocky and slippery terrain of Annapurna while fighting with rain and dropping temperature. Our Lunch stop was Himalaya (2500m). The temperature started dropping at this time. There was a huge crowd of South Asians ascending the trail (Mostly Japanese and Chinese). We managed to have a brief chat with some trekkers on our way.
ABC wasn’t very far now, but the ascend was steep and rocky, and managing to stand on the feet, in the dropping temperature and cold gusty wind, was getting difficult.
We crossed numerous bridges and rocky climbs to reach Deurali (3000m), and reached the last stop for the day Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3720m), which provided us with never seen view of closest Mountain ranges, flora and waterfalls.
We managed to find a cave made up of Ice deposited by Avalanche. With every steps, breathing was getting short and harder. We had to make a stop soon, and the closest point was MBC.
MBC welcomed us with -4°C temperature and very warm people. The other trekkers were very friendly and we chatted till late night.
Here, we found Zulekha Schwarz, fellow trekker, with whom we shared our large room. Sleeping at this temperature was impossible. I barely managed to catch some sleep that night.
The 4th day day marked the final day of Ascent. Our destination, Annapurna Base Camp (ABC: 4,095m), was just an hour or two away from us.
We covered ourselves with the heaviest clothes we’d got. ABC was further North. The scenery wasn’t much clear but we could see the mountains closer to our naked eyes, and the Ice was all over the ground.
The first ray of the sunlight started catching up with us to the mountain top. In the distance, we could now see Mt. Annapurna and the base camp clearer. Annapurna at our front and Machhapuchhre behind us gave such a sweet Mountain viewing experience that I can’t describe in words. It was magnificent. A Heaven on Earth!
At around 9 in the morning we made it to the Base Camp. There was huge crowd upstairs planning to descend from the base.
It was our time and we couldn’t miss it. We ran up and experienced the ascent of ABC. The grit emotion and the feelings in general was overwhelmed by the ascent of ABC. It felt like I could live rest of my life here, forever. I can rest here in peace. The surrounding, the mountains and the landscape was so much fabulous that I cannot describe.
Finishing the trail and catching up with everyone else in Pokhara was Awesome. I met my friend Kevin in Pokhara and few of his friends. I spent few more days in Pokhara, walking and cycling around with them. Overall, it was an amazing experience!