Solo on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek - Nepal
Solo on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, referred to as ABC from here on in. My first time in Nepal, only my 2nd time to go on a multi day trek. First things first, the documentation. The trekking permit and park entry permit. This is from 2011 so most likely something different and more expensive is in place. Route profile card and trekking map. In reality you don't really need the map for the trek itself as there are maps painted on the walls of the guest houses and everywhere trails are marked.
I spent a week in Kathmandu with a lot of the time with my head down the loo-squatting and puking over the floor as there was no bucket. When there was a lull in the stomach cramps I was trying (unsuccessfully) to get into a fellow travellers knickers or drinking beer. As thin as hell I headed to Pokhara but not before getting myself checked out at the western run clinic. All tests came back -ve save for some bacterial infection. With a supply of anti-biotics, it'd clear up.
I rested for just 2 days in Pokhara to let my belly recover, keen to start trekking. I took a bus to the start of the trek.
You can go alone or you can take a guide and or porter. I of course chose the former option. I was strong enough to carry my own pack, I can navigate with my eyes shut and no guide in their right mind would want to go at my pace. I travel light and fast.
The first day thru the Himalayan foot hills to Landruk where I spent the first night. Awesome feeling. Absolute no issues with energy levels. I had spent 2 weeks in Darjeeling @2000m and 2 weeks in Sikkim at similar altitudes. There are very few flat sections of footpaths in Nepal. You're even going up or down, mostly very steeply. And always steps, endless steps, down one valley, cross the river and back up the other side. 400 - 500m climbs everytime. My legs burnt with lactate but boy I was feeling good.
Young village girl at Landruk
Early morning view above the roof tops of Landruk towards the snowy peaks. The treks are known as Tea Shop Treks. You pass thru small villages such as Landruk every 2 hours or so. They are well set up to cater for the trekker. Simple rooms and awesome food. Everything must be carried up so prices rise the higher you go. Understandably.
I had to smile yesterday.... sitting out side my room. The footpath goes thru the homestay.... the European tourist, all kitted out for a snow storm...(i'm in my shorts,).. goretex jacket, hood up, brand new hiking boots that looked like the had just been taken out of the box and those dammed Leki poles going click click on the nice smooth footpath looking like they are on a mission to god knows where and then the porter ambles by, a big smile on his face, in flip flops and 3 bags tied together and the strap going round his forehead.. the favoured carrying method here..... shame on u tourists.. able bodied and healthy but sooooooo utterly pathetic ...... but at least u keep the porters in a job..... hes getting 3US$ a day.... the agency is getting 12US$ from u for him... the porter is smiling..... he's getting paid and he is laughing at u!!!!!!....... they greet me with a BIG namaste
Night 3 at Duerali. I slept well in the rarified air. Each day I was waking at 6. By 7 after Dahl Bhat and porridge and 3 mugs of tea I'd be on my way. Stopping for liquid at 9, more porridge at around 11 and around 2 I'd be in the guest house relaxing with a cold EVEREST beer and yet another bowl of porridge and watch the other trekkers wander in after getting caught out in the pre monsoon showers which started around 2, everyday.
Machhapuchhre or FISH TAIL MOUNTAIN @6693m, revered by the local population as particularly sacred to the god Shiva, and hence is off limits to climbing.
Everything must be carried up on the backs of the locals. They start carrying from an early age. They are used to the thin air, the hard conditions. They become porters and then if they can master a foreign language, guides.
day 4. Annapurna Base camp. 4130m.... arrived 8:13am.... break fast in bed at 5am... the dining room was full with others who found no bed and were still fast asleep at that hour.... me and my room mate an ex army Swedish guy.... nice bloke!!! left at 5:45 alone... a bit chilly. just about light.. cold wind blowing down the valley.... after 20 minutes i adjusted my clothing..... long pants off, , shorts on, cut off Indian army socks for leg warmers.... 1 t shirt with arm warmers and my water proof jacket on back to front to keep the wind off.... no need to keep the back covered... my rucksack did that... and i looked so dam sexy!!! non stop all the way .. good pace, easy rhythm.... no hard effort... not affected by the altitude ..... EASY.....!!!!!! massive views of Annapurna South, 7219m. Annapurna 1, 8091m and the Fish tail Mountain, 6997m.... WOW what beauty.. i love it hear!!!!!!!!
After warming up with chai and getting lots of photos I descended to Deurali and spent a second night. No real need to spend a sleep less night in Annapurna Base camp guest house. I'd met others the night before and all complained of the cold and the shortage of breath.
end of day 5... Kimrong 1829m a long long day, even by my standards.... dont offer to come hiking with me!!!!!! i am 43.... and will kick ur butts!!!!.... all day i was ummming and rrring about where i wanted to sleep for the night..... i just lost alltitude all day.... 1000m... down and down..... then the path kicked up again.... 400m straight up.... steps..... but i blasted up them non stop.... was delirious at the top.... had a snack and then down another 800m to the river..... and found a homestay!!!!....
day 6 .. early morning.... i was in bed at 7:45pm... asleep seconds later.. the sun is already up.... a short day is on the cards.... well.... there's a big climb and a crazy steep descent down the other side and back up a few hundred metres..... should be there in time for lunch.... this trip takes most people 7-8 hours.... end of day 6.... Landruk... again...... i like the homestay here!!!! friendly.. best food ever.... and warmer... can wash my stinky stuff.... had a great day!!!!! up hill 450m in 1 hour.. taking it easy!!!!!.... had some food.. and down the other side..... as planned..... god my legs were sore.... but the rhythm was intact!!!!! easy easy easy.....
end of day 7... Tadapani....... 2640m.... the joys of going solo..... can go where the hell i want!!!!.... so i back tracked 3 hours..... down the hill, up the hill and up some more to where i was yesterday (1 hour from where i had slept in Kimrong)..... 3 hours of precious energy only having to do it all again... and then turned left!!!! easy walk on a little used track...... was a delight!!!! the weather is on the change.. no clear skies.... hazy sun...... i had the best days!!!!! Day 9.... on my way down..... stopping for a yak cheese buttie...... mmm LEKKER...... time to get going.. rain coimng!!!!! 12 midday!!!! walkover...... .... what a great trip..... i will come back. i wanna go to Everest Base camp next time..... need more cold weather gear and be here in the fall, not spring!!!!