Friday, November 12, 2010

Trekking Annapurna - - Days 1 - 2

The Trekkers

Back - Arjun, Amar, Kate, Dawa, Jo, Mick, Mike, Jack, Mary Ann, Sue, Leo
Front - Pat, Angela, Geno
(Phil taking pic)

I joined eleven other hikers for the 18 day trek around the Annapurna Mountains. Our group consisted of 9 members from Canada, all from British Columbia; 2 fellas from the UK; and I was the lone American.

Our group was supported by five sherpas (guides), twelve porters, one porter guide, six kitchen staff, one donkey driver, and ten donkeys. It was a literal safari in the mountains.

Note: Click on any pic once/twice for enlarged view

The first bridge we crossed was quite rickety. What an exciting and precarious way to start a trek.

Jack doing the crawl

Sue walking the tight-rope

A funky bamboo bridge . . .what a cool way to start the trek.

I luv'd it . . . crossing bridges were exciting . . . good thing most were made of steel unlike this one

Golly! . . .The 2nd bridge was not much better

Broken boards and tumultuous river made for white knuckle crossings

Cof-feee Reaaady!

Every morning at 6 a.m., the sherpas brought coffee or tea to our tents . . . how lux!

Here's how our 6-7-8 daily routine worked:

Up at 6 and coffee/tea brought to our tent
Pan of hot water also brought to wash up
Breakfast at 7 a.m.
We hit the trail at 8 a.m.

Our first campground in Bhulbbule. That's Jack, my tentmate, a great guy from Vancouver BC. Our tents were 4 season expedition models.

Kool Kute Kids

We started the trek at around 2400' elevation and followed the Marsyangdi River up a valley rich in agriculture and forests

It's quite green and lush at the lower elevations

It wasn't long before we caught sight of the big snow capped peaks of the Annapurnas . . . an awesome sight. First of many Shangri-La moments.

Mick, our trek leader, set an example for the porters/sherpas and picked up litter. He was passionate about keeping Nepal clean and beautiful.

The heavy load of the porters was astonishing, especially Table Man. See blog entry on "Porters/Sherpas."

Jack and Mick on litter patrol

With limited electricity, solar ovens were common

People watching was fascinating . . . or were they watching us?

Dawa, the head sherpa, was a sharp, fun guy. He was also fluent in Japanese and I had a hoot bantering with him through out the trek.

These concrete water spigot stands were common and source of fresh water

"Little Sister" was our only female porter but she carried the same load as the guys. She was very shy.

Terraced rice patties were the main agriculture in the lower part of the valley

A rustic farm house

The aesthetics of terraced mountain sides were sublime (above and below)

I wasn't expecting this

Family doing the wash

Jack, Jo, and Dawa serving hot water for tea or coffee.

Lunch time at a trail-side eatery. Our kitchen staff would take over the kitchen and prepare our lunch.

Phil, Mary Ann, and Sue

Phil, Kate, and Mick

Pat and Jo

Everest, the most popular local beer

I kept running into this nice couple from Singapore (sitting with their sherpa guide in white shirt) for the first 4-5 days. They were doing an independent trek of the Circuit using one porter and sherpa and staying in Tea Houses.

Another Shangri-La Moment. Cresting a hill, we encounter a beautiful river valley.

More vast terraced mountain-side. Which brings up the question: who in the heck built all these, when and how long did it take?

Zig-zagging our way down into the valley

Another neat bridge crossing

Gushing waterfalls were everywhere

Taking a break

Crossing our first gateway chorten signals we're in Buddhist country

Approaching our 2nd night's destination

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