These days as I have started playing around with videos I am looking at my old folders as well. I remember this bumpy ride from Beshishehar to Sangey really well. It required a strong back, it was that bumpy. Sangey could be one of the starting points of Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. Many people feel the charm of the trek has gone down with a kaccha road now running at least up to Chame. But you can see what is the condition of the road.
I am always torn between roads and no roads argument. I tried talking to the locals on the issue of the road. A lady at the lodge in Manang said because of the road the prices of transporting food dropped down. So, it was a win-win situation for everyone.
The Bumpy Road to Sangey, Nepal
While talking to the people I realized that they resented the fact that helicopters would fly to lift stranded tourists but not for the locals. I could not explain it to them that they flew only for those who had insurance. I wonder why chopper companies could not run an insurance scheme for local people.
The local people in the far flung villages, particularly without road connections, found it very difficult to reach a hospital when someone was ill. Transporting an ill person was a great challenge. I could hear then loud and clear on that one.
While going for the trek, I took the jeep and the road for granted. While coming back, it was another story. There was heavy rain which washed away the roads, so there was no jeep. Which meant I had to walk more and more. And in the end I realized that sometimes finding a jeep could be almost the best part in a rain soaked trek!
I tried to trek through the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal in June 2013. I reached as high as Letdar (4200 meters). It rained a lot from Manang onward. The continuous snow at Letdar finally convinced us to turn back and give up on the trek. It is always sad when I cannot complete a trek, but then if the weather is adverse I would like to come back to the place, rather than continuing foolishly.
I have written a day by day account of my trek. So here I collect it in one post. The posts after Letdar may not interest you as I was walking back whereas you would be going ahead. But I need to record it so that I may remember even 10 years from now. I cannot tell you how happy I was when we finally got to the road and found a jeep that would take us back to the civilization!
Snow at Letdar, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
So without further delay here are the posts in detail-
If you have any questions about the trek, do leave a comment or write to me. My email is in my profile at the top right of this page. I wish you a better weather than I got at the Annapurna Circuit Trek!
Timang is a small village on the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. I reached there while walking back after a lot of bad weather at Letdar. The sky was almost always overcast throughout this trek.
Morning at Timang, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
The night I was at Timang was exceptionally clear and the entire range was bathed in moonlight. I was just too tired to try and click a picture. I do not carry a tripod on the trek as well. I was hoping that the range would be clear in the morning too. But no such luck. there were clouds in the morning and this was the view I got. Still, Himalayas always look majestic to me!
This post is part of Sky Watch Friday. Do check out this fabulous theme.
If the weather would have cooperated with us we would have on the other side of the Throng La pass by now. But after the snow at Letdar we decided to walk back. I was looking forward to reach Chame because my cell phone would work there. I was looking forward to all the calls I could make.
For a change it was not raining hard when I started walking after breakfast. But raining it was. The mist looked beautiful but I knew what it was hiding.
The Mist on the Mountains, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
By now we were fairly sure that there were no jeeps at Chame and we would have to walk further. I was quite philosohpical about it, anyway I had no other options. If there were no jeeps or motorcycles then you walk, it was as simple as that. But while walking back I did view the road with slightly different feelings. After all, the people who live there, should walking be the only option for them? I was not so sure anymore that road was a bad option. After all I was forced to walk back in their shoes for three days and I quickly saw sense behind the road.
We had another minor adventure while getting out of Humde. Once again a stream was raging on what used to be the road. There was a narrow wooden plank across it. Hari asked if I would like to wade through but I told him I would cross by the plank. I gave my bag to a local gentleman on the other side who continuously cautioned me to go slowly. I inched across the plank, he gave me his hand for the last few steps. And suddenly I was on the other side. The local person remarked that he had not seen so much rains at Manang in last 40 years! He could not remember any other time when it rained for 4 days in a row.
I stopped for tea at Pissang around 9.00 am. I had only walked for two hours and I was already feeling tired. From here till Chame, which I reached at 2.00 pm I sustained myself by thinking of all the phone calls I would get to make! And even then it was a tough going.
A Child at a Lodge, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
At Chame we had lunch at the same spot where we stayed while going up. I asked for Daal Bhaat and promptly started calling home. It was then I got to know about the Uttarakhand tragedy. It was 19th June and I had no inkling as there was no TV nothing higher up. So back home everyone was worried about me and the weather conditions in Nepal too. They were quite relieved to hear that we were safe and just facing rains and nothing more.
After lunch we started walking once again. I met a local woman who was gathering data for her Ph.D. in Buddhism from Manang and nearby areas. We walked together for the rest of the journey. The rain had stopped by now and what a relief it was.
We met a small girl (in the picture above) at Dhanchok where we stopped for tea. I asked her if she went to school and she said yes and pointed in one direction. She looked too small so I asked her mother as well. She laughed and said no was not going to school yet! She also liked to use the stick as a sword and expected me to fight with my walking pole. I did not do much fighting but it was fun.
Mint Tea on the Way, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
Tea keeps me going throughout the day but it becomes absolutely essential for me on a trek. A cup of tea break gives my legs a much needed breather and revives me as well. I like chai actually but on these routes they use milk powder so I switch to mint and ginger tea. I put my feet up and enjoyed my tea. We were still some distance away from Timang and that is how far we were going to go, we could not reach Danaque.
Refreshed after tea we started again only to find a waterfall on the road a short distance ahead. This time there was no doubt, I was going to take off my shoes and wade through with Hari’s help. The water was not deep but it was so so cold. I crossed it giggling, laughing and cursing, all at the same time! Putting on my shoes again I told Hari and the lady walking with us that I would slowly move ahead. I think in less than half an hour I was at Timang.
The Lodge at Timang, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
The lodge at Timang was spotlessly clean. It was such a luxury to go and crash in such a room. All the lodges at the route were clean barring the ones in bigger cities like Beshishahar and Pokhara. When I came to the dining room for my tea Hari told me that there were jeeps from Chamche in all probability. That was good news. We decided to start at 6.00 am the next morning after a 5.40 breakfast. In city if someone tries to wake me up at 5.00 am they risk grievous bodily harm but on the treks I am a different person.
I met a young girl and her godmother from Canada in the dining hall. The godmother was 59 and still trekking. There is hope for me too then. They were also on the same plan the next day. They asked me, “is not a little unusual for an Indian women to trek?” I told them it was not unusual to trek maybe it was a little unusual to trek solo. But as my daughter is small my husband and I take turns to do bigger treks. And it is his turn to trek in August!
Dahlia Flowers at the Lodge, Timang, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
After dinner all I could think was of the possibility of finding a jeep at Chamche. Chamche was beyond Dharapani but before Jagat. It was a long way ahead but there was no other option but to try to reach the place. The reward would be reaching Beshishahar the same day and enjoying at Pokhara the next day.
I must have walked for 8-9 hours to reach Timang from Humde. On other days, I have reached London from Dehli in 9 hours or so!
Read another day’s account from my Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal