Another morning, another round of porridge and boiled eggs. Some meals are meant to stay the same. We haven't been too adventurous with breakfast.
The view is again spectacular when we peek out of our little concrete hide-away. Annapurna South graciously occupying the morning sky. You can't help but have a smile on your face when this is the first thing you lay eyes on when the curtains open.
Today is a shorter day- only about 4 hours of hiking, Shorty tells us. It does however contain the steepest incline- 45 minutes of stairs. Now, inclines- not bad. Tough on the calves, but easier to pace and keep your breath. But stairs... Another story.
So we set off- and up- out of Landruk. We were told that in peak season over 3000 people a day commence a trek in the Annapurna range- and I am happy to say that in March, we didn't encounter very many people at all. To get to our "tea" spot, it was up and down, back a little further into the mountain and out. The flora and fauna (and school children and cattle) were a welcome sight as we made our way along the path.
When we stopped for tea, we got to witness the madness of 15 Nepalese workers having lunch. Traditionally, Nepalese eat with their hands. They pour steaming lentil soup over fluffy white rice, and then massage the food into a pile and scoop it up, and down the hatch. Without spilling an ounce. Impressive. What was even more impressive, some of these men finished 3 full plates of rice, lentils and greens without batting an eye. I suppose doing hard physical labour in the hot sun will do that to you.
Tea ends- and our journey up begins. A game of mental fortitude really. Don't get me wrong- this is not the most strenuous trek in the Himilayas- it's not Everest or even any of the base camps. But it's a bit of a mind bender when you are feeling your legs burn, and you have to focus so hard to ensure you make it up the next step, as all of the "stairs" are different heights and angles.
Good news is- we made it.
After lunch it was a breezy 35 minute walk to Dhampus, our last stop on the trek. We are staying in the Paradise View Guesthouse. We have learnt through the trek that most villages in Annapurna operate on micro-hydro systems, so the electricity is constant (unlike Kathmandu). Some guesthouses have gas to heat their water, however most do not, and hence hot showers are hard to come by. Paradise had it all- micro-hydro, gas heated water, and amazing water pressure! After three days of trekking and being little Himilaya ragamuffins, we finally all enjoyed amazing hot showers (oh the things we take for granted at home!)
After getting cleaned up, we were treated to a momo cooking lesson in the kitchen. Momo's were a Day 1 discovery in Pokhara and have remained a staple for us throughout our Nepalese eating adventure. The cook giggled at us as we struggled to roll out the dough, and then mashed vegetables into the pastry (not making any of our grandmothers proud). They did however, taste delicious!
For our last night with Porter 1 and Porter 2, they taught us to eat with our hands. Paws full of rice and lentils, we scarfed back the usual fare as they gave us sideways glances and snickered back and fourth to one another. We might not be seasoned vets- but we gave it a hell of a try.
After having Shorty address a situation with a rather large arachnid in the washroom, we are all curled up for our second last night in Nepal. Oh how time flies when you are exploring the world.
L, B & the Ginger Cat
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