Brenda and I wake at 5:15. At 5:30 Tendi arrives with our “bed tea.” By 5:45 we are heading through the dark. Our way lit by the light of our headlamps. We just have light day packs. Nima and Pasang remain sleeping.
Sunrise happens quickly at these latitudes and soon the sky lightens and an orange ribbon spreads across the east. We turn off our head lamps and climb quietly, our breathing mingling with the sounds of a waking forest. Birds begin their morning fluttering and tweeting. Small creatures rustle in the undergrowth. The forest itself seems to greet the day with sighs and stirrings of leaves turning towards the coming sun.
Every five minutes or so Tendi stops and we stop behind him. Brenda and I recover our breath and once it is slow and quiet we continue on. None of us speak. Tendi chants a morning mantra, his voice harmonizing with the surrounding sounds.
Slowly the light transforms the dark forest into glowing oranges and greens and warmth replaces the night chill. We remove our down and fleece and carry on in short sleeves, sweating as we climb.
As the trees thin with elevation, we catch glimpses of the towering massive peak of Annapurna South, it too glowing orange for a couple of minutes when the suns rays hit it at just the right angle. Once we clear the tree line we look down on the ridges and valleys where we’ve trekked over the past couple of days.
We pass a couple of tea houses, new since my previous visit in 2014.
Finally we come to a view point partway up the final ridge to High Camp. We stop here. Admire the peaks – they seem close enough to touch now – take a few pictures then descend to one of the nearby tea houses. We enjoy our morning tea in the sun then start our return to Low Camp then back to Forest Camp where we will meet up with the rest and spend the night before continuing our trek together to lower elevations.
We haven’t been walking for long when Tendi gets a call. All is not well at Forest Camp. We were supposed to be moving to nicer digs but “village” politics has kiboshed that idea. The owner of the dump is going to creat a ruckus for the owner of the place we want to move to.
We quickly decide the best thing to do is to all head further down the mountain to an other village. This will make a very long day for Brenda and me but we figure it’s the best option.
Once back at Low Camp, Tendi leaves Brenda and me having breakfast and he heads back to Forest Camp at speed to sort out a move. By 9:20 Brenda and I set off with Nima and Pasang. We’ve already already trekked for over three hours we have a long day ahead of us.
We arrive in Forest Camp by 11, rest over a quick lunch and set off again by 11:45. The trail is generally downhill but in Nepal down also means up and there’s enough steep up bits to ensure we start getting property tired!
Just as the day begins to feel endless with no relief in sight, Tendi and Lakpa come bounding up the trail towards us. They are carrying a huge thermos of tea, china tea cups and a package of yak cheese. We collapse beside the trail and they serve the four of us tea and cheese. It is the perfect restorative!
Feeling renewed we continue on what Tendi tells us is a further 45 minutes of trekking. You know where this is going don’t you? He tricks us again as within 15 minutes we pop out of the forest onto a flat area upon which a new guest house sits. We’ve arrived!
The guest house is new, the rooms very nice. The toilet facilities somewhat dysfunctional. There is one toilet/shower per floor. Eighteen beds per floor. Thank goodness the place isn’t full.
Despite the long day, Brenda and I have loved our adventure! We all celebrate with beers in the tiny rusting dining room. Doug and Joanne, Claire and Jim are rested from their day in Forest Camp and we are ready to continue our trek.