Day 11 – Marpha – Kalopani - Annapurna Circuit

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April 25th 2012
Published: July 7th 2012
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My Tsampa porridge was very watery this morning and the apples in it didn’t taste too good at all, after yesterdays bad experience I really was not really looking forward to today. Starting the day with bad porridge was exactly what I didn’t need! I was however feeling much livelier today after 15+ hour+ sleep!

The first 1 ½ hours of the walk were not promising at all, even at this early time I could feel the wind starting to howl and once again we were following a boring dry, dusty rived bed. Would there be no mercy for me? Well fortunately yes there would be. About 3 hours into the journey we arrived into a small village called Larjung, at this point the scenery instantly changed for the better, once again I saw the beautiful sight of trees and green grass! As well as this the wind pleasingly dropped to a barely noticeable level. Almost instantly my feelings of anxiety/anger faded away and were replaced by feelings of relief and dare I say perhaps even enjoyment. Things we once again starting to look up and not a moment too soon.

From Larjung the valley became increasingly sheltered and the prior sparseness gave way to an increasingly dense alpine forest. The trail from Larjung to our final destination Kalopani and the villages we passed through en route very much reminded me of the Lake District. The flora and geography was very similar (albeit you have 8000m+ mountains in the background here), there were dry stone walls and the village buildings appeared to be built in the same rock and style as those in the Lakes. Life in the villages here looked like life might had looked in the Lakes hundreds of years ago, many villages we passed through appeared to be very traditional agricultural settlements which hadn’t really been touched by modernity or tourism. It was fascinating walking through such areas, it felt at times like I was walking through the set of a Victorian rural drama! Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures of today as I put my camera away in the morning due to the dust and didn’t get it out again till just before arrival in Kalopani, mostly due to laziness.

At our guesthouse in Kalopani I was the only a guest, although this had been the case in many places so I was now well used to it. The guesthouse was run by an eccentric old lady who seemed to find anything and everything hilarious. She was a real character and I instantly like her, and this was all before she had served lunch! As with everyday I ordered Dal Bhat for lunch, however todays Dhal Bat was rather more special than the usual. Indeed I was go as far as to say it was easily the best Dhal Bhat I have eaten in Nepal and better than any of the Thali’s I ate in India, it was truly superb. Eating my delicious lunch I felt like all of yesterdays bad times had today been rectified, the nightmarish dust bowl conditions were now gone and I had finally tasted the famed ‘Thakali’ cuisine this region is famous for, albeit not in the town where it is supposedly best. I had today wanted to continue walking for another 1 ½ hours to Ghasa to make the long walk tomorrow shorter, KC had been resistant to do so and having tasted the food at this hotel I now understood why, I was very much glad to be here.

Things today seemed to have taken a positive turn and I was very much glad that they did so for my moral reserves had really hit the bottom of the barrel yesterday and this morning. Once again I was looking forward to the rest of the trek. However, in all honesty despite knowing fantastic scenery lay ahead I was a little upset at the thought of really cold nights at altitude again! I am realising quickly that I am very much a hot weather person or at least certainly not a person who can handle chill you to the bone cold!

It had began to rain before our arrival in Kalopani and over the course of the afternoon the rain increased before turning into a full blown thunder storm. I sat in my bedroom most of the afternoon resting and also writing this blog, as I did so I listened to the incredible sounds of the thunder, I have never heard it so loud. The rumbles of thunder would last for 10-20 seconds and were so loud that I could feel the sound waves from the thunder physically shake the building. Each time it felt a little like a mini earth quake had hit. I believe the sound of the thunder was particularly loud as it was reverberating off the towering mountain walls which surrounded us on all sides. Once again the Himalaya was showing the awesome power of nature and I was feeling very glad and lucky to experience it. The storm also meant tomorrow would be a clear day.

We would be dropping a full 1,500m of altitude tomorrow on what would be a long but hopefully very pleasant walk to Tatopani, home to Nepal’s most famous set of hot springs, I could imagine myself there already...

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