Annapurna Base Camp Trek Pokhora (part 2)

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May 16th 2010
Published: August 25th 2010
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16/5/10: I dragged Jacinta out of bed around 5:30am, the view couldn't have been more perfect. The crystal clear air was thin and refreshing, I managed to have the best night sleep yet and my tickly cough had only bothered me for half an hour, it stopped after breathing in some moist air by putting my sleep sheet over my mouth. This worked surprisingly well and the tickle almost stopped in its tracks. Jacinta woke up in the middle of the night fighting for breath, she managed to lose the opening to her hooded sleeping bag and panicked to find an opening before she suffocated under the sheets; I laughed when she told me. Others had the same experience and compared it to drowning without the water. Everyone was up early; we all stood on the edge of the northern moraine wall overlooking the glacier, we all watched this amazing wonder. I made the comment about seeing an avalanche, a French guy that thought he knew everything about mountains made a smart comment saying that it wouldn't happen in the morning. Not more than a minute later we all witness our first avalanche, I chuckled to myself as had to swallow his own words. The same French guy also tried telling me that there was no glacier and it was gone, but it was just obscured by the rocks leaving the dirty ice underneath. I don't know why I added this into my blog, maybe it’s because I dislike smart arses that don't know what they are talking about.
We kept walking to the western edge of the glacial moraine, there we witness the remnants of the glacier desperately clinging onto a smoothed face rock as it peers over the 150m edge, down to the glacial river below. This is where I saw most of the tumbling boulders and rocks. As the sun warmed the glacier, rocks that had been trapped in the dirty Ice suddenly were let loose and sent plummeting down the rock face. The waterfalls were just as impressive; if they weren’t plummeting 80m down the one of the sheer cliffs they were disappearing under piles of rubble and appear some 50m out the other side. We took some WHERES DAN photos and ran the video camera until it was around 9:00am. We were contemplating staying another night but the weather already started to bring in clouds and it was pointless to stay in a place so beautiful and not see the view. Richard and Emily had left half an hour earlier than us as they wanted to trek all the way back to Bamboo. I thought this would be impossible as it was quiet a walk away but we later surprised ourselves buy reaching Bamboo in the day. We paid our 2500nrs bill including food an accommodation and headed back down the hill. As usual Jacinta took awhile to get into the rhythm of things and at the speed we were going we were never going to get there. She was extremely slow going down; I mentioned this and within seconds we were in a full blown argument; I guess it was just the lack of sleep that made her upset but when I explained to her how to look ahead of the path instead of stopping, looking then stepping down she started to get quicker and quicker until we were keeping up with other trekkers going down. We started to make great time and we basically halved all our accent times. We reached MBC in an hour and Deorali in 2 hours. We had lunch at Himalaya with Richard and Emily and had packet noodles just for something different Haha. Just before we finished we caught up with Caroline and Claire again. They had stayed inside one of the other guest houses because they were unprepared for the cold weather. Just before we left we all complained about how hard it was on our legs coming down the hill. It was much worse than going up as the impact of dropping down onto the steps below, jolted your knees until they felt swollen. Our trekking poles took some of the pressure of but it still was hard. We left 10min after Richard and Emily but never saw them again until we reached Bamboo. The whole way down we kept crossing paths with all the people we summited with at ABC. We made it to Bamboo around 3:00pm without getting wet. Richard and Emily made great time and had already settled into a room when we arrived. The first thing they said when we saw them was “you are never going to guess what we just saw?” we both said “what?” at the same time. “We saw a mountain lion!” We couldn't believe there luck. They only saw it for a flash of a second; it was drinking out of a stream in the forest when they came around dhe corner and scared it, I was happy for them, it was a great sighting for anyone. We also got a room in the same lodge, we were looking forward to a hot shower as Bamboo was the first village coming down that had solar hot water. Caroline and Claire were not far behind us, they debated on going down to Sinuwa another hour and half walk down the hill. They were both really good walkers and it would have been tough keeping up with them. The decision was made to stay at our lodge when the heavens opened up and it started to rain. As usual Richard poured over the menu for an hour undecided about what to order for dinner, most of us ordered pizza and of course after dinner Richard wanted another apple pasty topped with custard, he pondered for another half an hour wondering whether he should risk being disappointed over desert. He ended up ordering an apple pasty anyway. He knew it couldn't be as good as the one at ABC but hoped anyway. It turned out he shouldn't have scarred his memories of the ABC apple pasty with custard, having to settle with a half hearted desert. All six of us sat and talked we were all tired after trekking more than 12km and dropping 2000m in altitude. Again we all went to bed around 7:30.

17/5/10: Once again I had a horrible tickling cough that reappeared keepping me up some of the night. We all had breakfast together leaving Richard to ponder over the menu again. The menu was the same the whole way up the trek, nothing actually changed on the menu except for the prices as they were set by the national park authority to stop people being ripped off in peak season. We were all convinced that Richard knew everything on the menu by heart. We had a late start, we set off down the hill around 7:00am. It was going to be an easy day today and all we wanted to do was reach Jhinu some five hours walk away were they had natural forming hot springs. We reached Sinuwa in only an hour and a half continuing down the valley to the dreaded steep hill of Chhomrong. This was the hill we all feared when coming back through Chhomrong and it played on our minds ever since we climbed down those stairs. We started to walk up in the hot sun and it took us a gruelling 1:30min to climb up 2366 stairs. It made it so much harder when the temperature hovered around 30degC. Our legs were shacking after the climb and even though we were tired I couldn't not help but wonder that somebody had to build these stairs; climbing them every day to come to work. That's one job I would hate getting out of bed for. Our energy levels were empty and we ate our last chocolate éclairs half way up. Jacinta struggled up but was not far behind me. We both relied on our trekking poles more and more just to take the weight of our jelly legs. Once up the top we had a well earned lunch before walking all the way back down more to Jhinu. This involved more torturous stairs and even though no one could be bothered counting, it must have been around 1500 or so. Buy the time we all got to Jhinu no one could be bothered walking down to the hot springs for a swim. From what I had heard they were just man made concrete pools with natural hot water in them, Oh well maybe next time “NOT”! We negotiated a room free room for the night on the agreement we ate dinner and breakfast there. We were all on a high, we discoverd a short cut back to Nayapal, this meant we only had one day of trekking left. Feeling good we all had a beer to celebrate our summit and completion of ABC. The Everest Beer wasn't a bad drop of beer either. Once again Richard poured over the menu again as we all laughed at his indecisiveness. Most of us had pizza again with the exception to Richard and Emily. Richard started talking about the famous apple pasty again; it made everyone feel like desert. Another early night.
18/5/10: Our last day today. Omelet for breakfast and within a flash we were of walking down the valley again following the raging river below. Jacinta and I powered the whole way back to Nayapal leaving the others behind by almost an hour. This surprised us as we only walked a steady pace the whole way; only stopping for short drink breaks. It got hotter and hotter the farther we got down the valley and the cold river never looked more inviting. We reached our TIMS checkpoint around 12:00midday and had lunch next door while we waited for the others. We all caught up and agreed on dinner at our favorite restaurant called Lumbini’s. We walked another half an hour just making it on the bus before it set of down the road. We were very lucky to get on as the next bus took more than an hour to turn up. Back at Elia Guest house for a hot shower before meeting up with everyone again at Lumbini’s.
Everyone arrive late because of the buses, we all settled in to a huge meal for a really reasonable price. Lumbini’s manages to serve the biggest meals for half the price of other restaurants. Caroline ordered a Veg burger and the paddy turned out to be the size of a small dinner plate and 50mm thick. Needless to say it was impossible to finish and she save the rest for breakfast. We chatted for a little longer until we finally got tired and went to bed.

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