Day 19: Ghorepani to Chomrung
Ghrorepani is generally regarded as the end of the Annapurna Circuit. It is close to Poonhill, a famous viewpoint where people go in the morning to see the sunrise. My stomach was a bit upset and I decided to stay in bed. I was quite happy to do so, because it was bitterly cold outside, and I wasn’t too worried about missing out on the spectacular views. Soon I would see those mountains from up close.
Around seven thirty I felt much better and after a nice breakfast, I started to walk to Tadapani where I had lunch. Because I knew that Tatopani meant hot water, and Ghorepani meant horse water, I was curious as to what Tadopani might mean and was amused to learn that it translates as: far from water… It started to snow, but only a few flurries. When it stopped snowing I decided to press on to Chomrung, a village two days into the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Day 20: Chomrung to Deurali
A long day leading from farm fields, through jungle to high altitude scenery. In the dense forest I saw grey langurs (also known as Hanuman langurs) in the trees. With their distinctive black faces they are far more attractive than the ordinary rhesus macaques.
By the time I reached Deurali, clouds had drifted into the valley and the temperature had plummeted.
Day 21: Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp
Machapuchare Base Camp (MBC) is not actually a Base Camp (anymore) as it is no longer allowed to climb this mountain. In 1957 it was climbed by Wilfrid Noyce, who was a member of the successful 1953 Everest expedition, and David Cox up till 50 metres from the top. They had promised not to set foot on the top as it was believed to be a holy mountain.
The name of the mountain is sometimes spelled with two double aitches, or even more ridiculously as Machhapuchchhre. In all cases, its name means fishtail in Nepalese.
Annapurna Base Camp is the base camp for the more difficult southern approach of Annapurna I and for this reason its more precise name is South Annapurna Base Camp. It is not the base camp that was used by Maurice Herzog in 1950, who used North Annapurna Base Camp.
In the afternoon it started to snow and the next morning the ground was covered in a centimetre of fresh snow.
Day 22: Annapurna Base Camp to Sinuwa
I have to admit a certain sartorial imperfection in the trousers I wear in the photo above, but I had torn out the seat of my only pair of trousers and these were the largest I could find…
Day 23: Sinuwa to New Bridge
In Jhinu Danda I had lunch and after that I joined some other trekkers to the nearby hot springs, I did this bit on my flip flops, which was a bit ambitious. In the hot springs I noticed a little shrine hanging above the pools. One of the guides told me it was for the god of the hot water (obviously, a freak phenomenon like hot water is holy in Hinduism).
Which god? I asked.
Do you know how many gods Hinduism has? he answered rhetorically.
Day 24: New Bridge to Siwar.
Bus to Pokhara from Siwar.
Postscript : The beard has gone. I shaved it off.