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Published: June 20th 2010
Dhaulagiri (8167m) can be seen in the background. Dhaulagiri is the highest mountain visible on the Annapurna Circuit.
first of all let me explain the title of this blog. For some reason my camera started malfunctioning during my most recent trek, so I was unable to take any pictures during my 12 days in Langtang and Gosainkunda. I do however still have thousands and thousands of pictures from trekking in the Annapurna region, so I am posting a selection of pictures from the second half of that trek.
Trekking in Nepal has been a fantastic adventure. Its really hard to believe that I've already spent 36 days on the trail here and have covered over 300 miles of tough terrain by foot. The term "Tea House Trekking" is used to describe this type of trek, and refers to the lodges or "tea houses" found in villages along the trail. Unlike trekking in wilderness areas of the US, where a lack of a permanent population makes it necessary to carry loads of camping gear, many of the valleys and slopes here are fairly heavily populated. Thus it is possible to trek in 3 separate regions of Nepal and stay in "tea houses" every night of the stay. Having just completed the Langtang and Annapurna treks, I have now
Another pic of me at the highest point I reached while trekking. Thorung La is 5416 meters in elevation, or about 17,800 feet. The highest point I reached on my last trek was only 5000 meters.
done two of the three tea house treks available in Nepal. All that remains is the Everest Base Camp trek, which I have avoided this time around because it is necessary to fly to the trail head.
On a typical day trekking I would wake up between 5 and 6, eat a breakfast of porridge and eggs, and hit the trail by 7. Generally speaking there would be small villages at least every couple hours where I could stop for tea and food. Most of the tea houses were basic lodges with simple rooms built from wood and run by local families. The accommodation charge was generally nominal as most tea houses make their money from selling food. Every night I had Dal Bhat for dinner - the one and only Nepali dish of rice, lentils, and curried potatoes. Although I began to crave more variety after days on the trail, I stuck to eating Dal Bhat not only because of its high nutritional value or its place in Nepali culture, but because it was the one menu item offered that was served "all you can eat". So every night after hiking I would gorge on an endless mixture
Descent to Muktinath
From Throung La pass I have nearly a mile descent to the town of Muktinath. The views on the way to town were incredible.
of rice, lentils, and potatoes before crawling into my sleeping bag for an early night's sleep. In addition to Dal Bhat, pasta and potato dishes were also available, as were Western snack items such as Snickers bars and Pringles carried in on the backs of porters and re-sold at nearly 3 times their US retail price. Perhaps not surprisingly I spent far more than I budgeted on food.
While both treks offered amazing scenery and views, Annapurna and Langtang regions both have very distinctive characters. If I had to describe the Annapurna Circuit the words dramatic, stunning, and breathtaking come to mind. It was here that I followed the world's deepest gorge, relaxed next to thundering waterfalls, and crossed the much feared Thorung La. In comparison, the scenery of the Langtang region was less dramatic than Annapurna. Here the mountains were a little bit lower, the gorges less deep, and the waterfalls fewer and further between. However, what Langtang lacked in its gorges and waterfalls was more than made up for by the character of its forests and slopes. Here the trail wound its way through thick conifer, bamboo, and rhodedendron forests, the air rich with the thick smell
Muktinath (3870m/12600 feet) This is where I stayed the day I crossed THorung La. Muktinath is a very holy city to TIbetan Buddhists. It is believed that the 5 Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wood and Metal) exist in their purest forms here.
of sap and blossoms. Ethereal mist hung softly in the thin mountain air blanketing the foliage and giving the slopes of Langtang an otherworldly feel. In the Gosainkunda region a series of high altitude holy lakes served as magnets for the monsoon mist, through which ephemeral glimpses of distant passes and peaks were occasionally seen. Like Annapurna the Langtang trek also followed a thundering mountain river running gray with glacial till, and like the Annapurna region there were side hikes leading to vistas of snowcapped mountains and slowly moving glaciers.
All in all I loved my time trekking here in Nepal and am going through a bit of hiking withdrawal here in Kathmandu. However, with the recent arrival of the monsoon from India -the last 4 days of the trek I had zero visibility from the monsoon clouds - it is now time to move on. I don't have all of my travel plans in place yet, but will be heading back to India within the next couple days. I hope to keep this blog updated as much as possible.
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