We are three days walk downhill from ABC. We spent a relaxed day feasting on the scenery and beauty of the mountains and the new snow. We even went for a walk, attempting a climb up a ridge behind the lodge. Unfortunately, my vertigo struck, so I retired quietly to the lodge and watched as Pricey, Tessa, and Ju climbed along the skyline, perhaps 300m above ABC. Looked fantastic, and I would have loved to join them, but I don't seem to be able to overcome this fear of steep slopes.....
Pricey and I watched our second sunrise. Apparently the moon rise had been just as spectacular. Getting up early is pretty easy, as we are sent off to bed by the lodge custodians not long after dark. 8pmis a late night for them.The sun kissed the tops just before 6am. Amazingly beautiful, and we were the only two watching it happen. So a message to all. This whole area of Annapurna has hardly been touched by the earthquakes. An avalanche has fallen towards MBC, and a few lodges have small cracks, but everything else is as normal. However, already the
locals are hurting. Normally at this time of the year, this area is teeming with Koreans, Japanese and Chinese trekkers, but they have all canceled. Nepal needs us to come and spend our money here. I can direct you to some fantastic trekking companies, that will ensure you have a fantastic and safe time in Nepal. Message me.
So we started our trek downhill, across the snow. It was slow, because there were so many photos to take, and none of us was keen to leave. Our guide was in a hurry, however. He was keen to get past an avalanche zone before 9am, so we let him hurry us along.....until we had reached a safe part of the track.....then we slowed him down, and enjoyed the amble. We saw so much more than on the upward leg. Perhaps because we weren't puffing so much, or maybe because the weather was better. We spotted some Himilayan Tahr, but missed the huge grey monkey with the white beard, hanging from the roof of the cave we had sheltered from the hail storm in on our upward journey (we have Pricey though, so don't feel cheated).
Nine hours, of comfortable downhill, and we were back in Sinuwa. Three hours the next day, and we were in Jhinu Danda, which boasts three natural hot pools, right next to a glacial feed river, and only
50 cents to soak as long as you want.... Pricey was a little sore, so enjoyed the soak. He claims he was pushed off the trail by a yak, but we believe he was just away with the fairies, watching paradise slide past as we descended the 1000s of steps we had previously climbed. Either way, his spill off the trail, cost him a bruised chest and a tweeked ankle. Nothing that will slow him down too much. I also tweeked my ankle a couple of times. The views are just too distracting. Seems the ladies are much better at multi tasking.
We've met some interesting folk over the last couple of days. A German guide, Moritz, who wants me to say a big Gidday to John from Hiking NZ and Mongolia Horse Treking fame. A Russian group in a very big hurry. The ladies in the middle of the group were running to keep up. An Australian/Brit who has a Kiwi passport, who is here to run the Everest Marathon, which may not take place. Interestingly, his grandfather was Prof. Phillip Smithels, who was Director of Otago University School of Physical Education when I was there. A Frenchman, who has spent the last twelve months in NZ, hiking and working, and has totally fallen in love with our country. He is trying to think of a way to return and stay. And an American, who spends four months a year in
Nepal, working with western youth, trekking and other adventurous activities.
Today's trek was meant to be "some up, some flat flat, followed by a down and up". Nepali "flat flat" is similar to a non cyclists "flat road", it has to be taken in perceptive. Nepali "flat flat" has many ups and downs. But after the first half hour, we went off the main route. We passed through some lovely rural areas, think steep hills, terraced. We watched a family thatching the roof of a new building. Tessa learnt lots about foraging. We were fed yummy berries, similar to raspberries, but yellow, and Tessa got to cook us a curry from fern shoots picked fresh from the track side. The village of Ghandruk is the largest in this area. A maze of slate tracks between stone buildings, with slate roofs. Luckily all are intact, but it is very apparent from seeing these buildings up close, why so many villagers died in last week's earthquakes.
Only a few more days and we will be back in Pokhara. Ju tells me not to...but I keep thinking about her leaving to return to NZ. As much as I've been enjoying the cycling, it is hard to see her leave. She tells me I need to just enjoy the present, and not worry about the future. I'm trying.