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 headlamps in the dark up a winding set of stone steps for an hour and a half – up and up — more stone steps just the day after we had climbed so many to get to Ghorepani. But this is what we came here. Poon Hill.
An iconic landmark and spectacular vista to see the “big mountains” light up in the sunshine.
When we reached the top of the climb, they were hulking white shadows in the pale early morning sky; already inspiring enough to draw you in to sit in wonder at the enormity of the Earth.
As the sun came up over the surrounding mountains, the highest peaks glowed warm and golden. Then Annapurna South came in to view, the sun lighting up the detail of its craggy face. As the sun continued to rise and the clouds settled below the mountains, more and more jagged white peaks emerged, each one eliciting gasps from the at least 300 people who, like us had risen early and walked further up a steep hill – all of us — to reach the place we’ve dreamed about for so very long. It was a heady experience being there in this iconic place.
While the “thing” to do is to wake up at 4 to trudge yourself up the hill ahead of the sunrise, we found the play of the light on the mountains much more interesting a bit later….around 7:30 am, when most people had already started making their way down. Mark and I stayed until 8:30 while the Beth’s took Austin, who just wasn’t having any of it on this early morning, down for breakfast. We nearly had the place to ourselves, apart from a few stragglers who had perhaps indulged in a bit too much early morning herbal relaxation, and were stoned in place there watching the mountains.
As for our legs, the 3.5 mile round trip certainly woke us up, and worked out the lactic acid from the day before. After a day’s rest in the quirky little mountain village of Ghorepani, we’ll set out again tomorrow. But not before saying goodbye to Beth and Beth, who hit the trail down to Ghandruk and their long bus ride back to Kathmandu to catch their flight to Delhi.
It was fantastic experiencing this with my cousin, and she and her friend couldn’t have been better trekking partners. Goodbyes with Beth are bittersweet. I love spending time with her, and when it’s time to go, I know we’ll find one another somewhere in some corner of the world, at some unexpected time. I love that about expat life.
Heaps more photos on our facebook and instagram pages @longitudinalshift