Annapurna Trekking: The day I was done

Day 12: Dobato to Ghandruk (The last day) We froze all night in our thin walled little room at the lodge in Dobato. I was fully dressed, in my sleep sack, sleeping bag, and heavy wool blanket over everything, and still never got warm. The cold can get you going in the morning, and once I got up the courage to crawl out of my ineffectively warm cocoon and  put my feet on the icy floor, I was up and ready to go check out those spectacular mountain views we had heard so much about.   They didn’t lie.  There, […]

Annapurna Trekking Days 9-11: The nasty (and cool) trip down

Day 9: Khopra to Chistibang: 4.5 hours, 650m elevation loss What goes up must also come down, and after a freezing night in the community lodge at Khopra, some spectacular sunrise photos, and a rough idea of the trail we wanted to take, we set off, aiming for a village that wasn’t on our map, on a trail that was only a red dotted line. We had another mutinous Austin on our hand for at least half an hour he woudn’t budge out of the surrounds of the lodge. We were still on the main trail for this part, but […]

Annapurna Trekking Days 7&8: Altitude gains and mutiny

One week into our trek, we were at the bottom of the valley, on a road, with buses.  We could have gotten ourselves out of there via motorised transport, but we’re more masochistic than that.  It was only natural that we decided to go back up,on foot, to a lesser travelled to ridge, higher than we’d been so far.  I thought we were crazy for following a trail that was little more than a red dotted line on our map, but this turned out to be my favourite part of the trek overall.  We worked hard for it – very […]

The tough descent to a fantastic break

Day 5: Khibang to Tatopani: 6 hours, 850m elevation loss What should have been a 2.5 hour downhill stroll turned in to a 4 hour ordeal down terraced fields, sandy roads, across landslides, over the ridge of a mountain, and down, down, down switchbacked stone steps on a tiny ridge, culminating in two long suspension bridges over a roaring river and a 20 minute walk up a dusty dirt road, dodging jeeps and buses as we went — all in the blazing hot sun. I thought I would be completely freaked out by the suspension bridges.  They were high, long, […]

Trekking Day 4: The day we were treated like gods

Day 4: Ghorepani to Khibang: Down, Down and Down some more (8 hours, 1,050m elevation loss With our rest day over, we left Ghorepani after numerous goodbyes between Austin and his gaggle of friends, including Rihanna, the girl about his age whose father is a Gurkha in the British Army. She’ll be joining him in London in a few months’ time, and she and Austin formed a special bond. He even gave her some of his lego as a parting gift, and I’m sure their fast friendship won’t soon be forgotten. The trail started off well enough — a newly […]

Annapurnas Day 3: We came here for this

Poon Hill: 3 hours, 3.5 miles, 350m elevation gain We woke up at 4 am on a chilly and clear morning in Ghorepani, ready to start our 1.5 mile climb up to Poon Hill. This viewpoint is the “money shot” of the Annapurnas, with Dhaliguari, Annapurna Soutn and others, all coming into perfect view, one by one as the sun rises to the East, and striking their faces as it climbs higher in the sky. The view is breathtaking, and the mountains reveal themselves piece by piece with each new ray of light. We followed the single file trail of […]

Trekking Day 2: The little king of the mountain

Hille to Ghorepani: (9 hours, 1800 m total elevation gain) There are moments as a parent when your child surprises you with such immense amounts of resilience and taps into depths of the human psyche that you can’t believe you’re speaking to a 6 year old. Your precious offspring cries glitter tears and shits rainbows on an average day. However, there is nothing that can prepare you for the heart bursting amount of pride you feel when your child reaches into the strength of mind they usually reserve for mealtimes, and push themselves through exhaustion, through four hours of unrelenting […]