31 October

Oops – sorry i’m posting out of order. well you can sort it out by reading the dates. The story will make more sence if read in the right sequence…

Life and times on the trail in Nepal is always interesting! We departed Tadapani under a sky filled with high hazy cloud. There were many craned necks as guides and trekkers contemplated the meaning. Unanimously it was agreed that these clouds were due to the cyclone currently bashing around in India. No one could hazard a firm weather forecast. We decided to continue north to Chhomrong and take things day at a time.

Our 7:15 departure was early but not the earliest. Everyone is anxious to get a room at their next stop and due to the prolonged closure of Thorung La there are many more people than normal trekking the Sanctuary route. I’m happily not worried as Tendi knows the owners of various tea houses. Phone calls have been made. I have a room and so do Tendi and Furi.

We’re at our destination by 11am. It was a brutal hike down into the river bed, across a suspension bridge and back up the other side. The hike up was as usual not as horrendous as the down! The views from the terrace of the guest house Where we are staying are stupendous. I think this is the most beautiful of any place we’ve been so far on this journey. This side of the valley and partway up the slopes of the other side are heavily terraced with tiny fields of millet and rice. Scattered thoughout the fields are white and blue farm houses, most with grey slate roofs. Above the fields, the slopes steepen and are either tree covered or cliff faces. There are two valleys above that open into this one. At the top of one are the towering peak and ridges of Annapurna South (7219 metres). A glacier hangs beneath the snowfields and a long water fall tumbles into the forest below. The other valley is the one we will take tomorrow. Within its depths, we will ascend up along the Modi Khola (Khola means river) it until we reach Annapurna Base Camp at the top. The haze has remained all day and as the day progresses the peaks become obscured behind ever thickening cloud.

I must mention my shower! I know ….. some of you take these creature comforts for granted. Here that is not the case – a nice shower is special and something to be treasured. It was HOT! Omg so hot I actually had to turn on the cold tap. And after the seriously sweaty business of getting here it was a much desired joy!

The afternoon passed very pleasantly. I enjoyed a long chat with a German couple. They’ve been to Vancouver Island, having driven from Port Hardy to Victoria. They too have confirmed accommodation up to Annapurna Base Camp but as a result they have a couple more hours to put in before they can put their feet up for the day. They clearly wished their schedule wasn’t so demanding. After they left Tendi and I shared a beer. It was cold and delicious. He has a plan…..

Tendi knows I really don’t like the crowds. He knows I really don’t like steep downs on slippery muddy uneven trails. He knows I like trekking in the sun and that I love the big visas. He’s also concerned that if the weather changes it could be unpleasant and maybe even dangerous to be stuck down in that steep deep valley. So an alternative plan is hatched. I get out my map and immediately like the idea….. We’ll make the decision in the morning. But after dinner I head to bed and get out the map again. I’m super intrigued…. This feels like a seriously good adventure and it will take us out of the valley, away from the crowds, up onto a high ridge……the stuff my dreams are made of! The plan is to link up with a lesser know trek – The Mardi Himal route.

Good night from outstandingly beautiful Chhomrong (2170 metres)

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