Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Annapurna Circuit: Excerpts from the trekking journal, Part 1

Okay, so this is a little late in coming since in the interim between the trek and now I've also been to India and am now in Malaysia. But the 21-day trek was an amazing start to this trip and was chock full of sights and sounds that I will not soon forget. So here are some snippets from the journey to provide you with a taste of the diversity of terrain that the circuit covers.Purna, my guide/porter, near the beginning of the Circuit

Day 3: Ghernu Phant to Tal
The theme of the day was donkeys, known in Nepalese as "kajar." Though we hardly saw any yesterday, today it seemed as if they were snaking down or up every path and cable bridge. In the afternoon we had donkey trains both in front and behind us at one point and later had to stop several times so such trains could pass on the narrow trail. Some packs had around 60 animals, with some carrying steel cables and others sacks of rice.

Day 4: Tal to Temang
Today we left the humid warm lowlands and made the long, steep climb to alpine country. Here the clouds roll in every evening, covering the surrounding peaks, one of which is Manaslu (the eighth-highest peak in the world). The cooler weather made the climb easier but an earlier one -- a makeshift trail due to road construction -- was a series of steep switchbacks on an exposed ridge, in other words, grueling.

**As I'm falling asleep since I was on a red-eye flight from India to Kuala Lumpur last night and thus got no sleep at all, I will continue this tomorrow.