Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 10 The Retreat, Timang to Chamche

Today’s walk was completely dominate by the thoughts of finding a jeep. All my life I have taken roads for granted. I (or rather my husband) bought my first car late, in my thirties but I completely take automobiles for granted. Not so on this trek. Jeeps were now elusive and their continued absence would mean four more days of walking. My legs were not even willing to contemplate such a scenario. I was not willing to contemplate what it would mean for my flights.

Streams on the Road, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Streams on the Road, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Once we started retreating streams on the road were a common scenario. I gradually became adept at crossing them. For shallow ones if I was wearing my trekking shoe I would just wade through it. But after a while the two toe nails that were trying to come out started giving me a lot of pain. I was forced to switch to my sneakers. As they get wet easily I had to be more careful.

When I eventually reached Danaque I met Justin and Erick again. It was good to see them again. All of us were walking to Chamche and if we got a jeep we would go to Beshishahar the same day.

A Beautiful Tree, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Finally there was Sun! Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

After a long time it was not raining when I started. Even the sun came out for a while. Our plan was to walk to Chamche and have the lunch there as well. We crossed many minor landslides on the way. They did scare me and left me wondering what if I got caught in one? Luckily it never happened. I saw two helicopters flying in the area and the ‘guide grapevine’ was that one of them was for a group of trekkers who were caught in a landslide. I am not sure if this was true or not but two helicopters definitely were flying in the region.

The Best Noodles I Ever Had, Tal, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

The Best Noodles I Ever Had, Tal, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

As there were landslides we were taking detours. At one point the climb uphill was so steep (for me), it was  also without many toeholds. I asked Hari to remain behind me. Sure enough at one place I wrong footed myself. I extracted myself with Hari’s help. Usually trekking doesn’t involve any tricky things but I was glad to be out of this one. Later Justin and Erick also commented on this patch and how they disliked it.

By 12.00 noon our plan of not having lunch was not looking so good to me. We were approaching Tal again. I told Hari if the tea shops on the road were open, we should have tea and noodles. It would not take much time. He readily agreed. For the first time in the entire trek he told me, “Even I am tired.”

When we reached the small tea shop thankfully it was open. I got my tea and noodles and so did Hari. I asked the young girl who made the noodles for a photograph. I explained, “That way I will remember who made the best noodles I ever had!”

Landslides, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Landslides, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Only on treks I realize the value of food and sleep. In the plains their connection to nourishment is never so obvious to me. Revived after the best noodles I ever had I walked for two more hours to reach Chamche. We crossed the landslide you see in the picture, it was the biggest I saw on the route. No wonder they were no jeeps to Chame.

When we approached Chamche, Hari went ahead to see if there were jeeps? Ten minutes later I was there and my first question was, “Are the jeeps going?” His yes was the best sound I heard in the past few days.

I sat at a lodge at Chamche and ordered potato wedges which we shared. Hari told me it would take 4 hours to reach Beshishahar by jeep, to which I asked, “Would you rather walk?” He had a good laugh at it.

Rainbow Colors, Chamche, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Rainbow at a Waterfall, Chamche, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

After 4 hours and a rainbow later I was back to civilization where I could take the buses and flights for granted again. The jeep ride is worth a story in its own and I will tell that tale one day. It was good to see Justin, Erick and the two women from Canada again. We all looked slightly different after taking a shower, our first in many many days!

Read another day’s account from my Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

Annapurna Circuit Trek- Reaching Sangey, Day 1- Sangey to Dharapani, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Day 2- Dharapani to Chame

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 3 Chame to Pisang

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 4 Pisang to Manang

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 5 Rest and Acclimatization Day at Manang

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 6 Manang to Letdar

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- Day 7 The Snowfall at Letdar

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- The Retreat, Day 8 Letdar to Humde

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal- The Retreat, Day 9 Humde to Timang

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I am back from my attempt to trek through the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Attempt because I had to give up the trek at Ledar (4200 meters). I was perfectly fine and looking to move to the high camp at 4800 but the weather was not. Anyway it is a long story and will be told day by day. I am back now. This time also I trekked with Above the Himalayas. But I wonder why do we trek?

A Rainbow at a Waterfall, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

A Rainbow at a Waterfall near Chamche, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Why do I lament so? Here are some of the reasons!

  • Two of toenails are trying to come out right now. Last year when I trekked through the Everest Base Camp in Nepal two of my toe nails actually came out. This time they are only trying to come out.
  • There are deep gashes above my ankles from my new shoes. No, I tried to break them before I went, only by walking on a straight road. I have no access to the mountain tracks before the trek.
  • There were days (more than one) when we started trekking in rain and it was still raining till we reached the next stop. Which would mean at least 6 hours of rain for me.
  • Last year I trekked in May and I was so besotted by Nepal that I had to trek again this year. Only I had no leaves in May. In June it rains. I who come from a family that treks and countless friends who trek too, it occurred to no one (particularly me) that it is the monsoon when I am trying to trek!
  • At Ledar (where we gave up and turned back) when I woke up the next day (the day when we should have gone to the high camp) it was raining hard. It soon turned to snow. When I went for breakfast it was snowing. I was thrilled. After all how many times do I get to see snow? When I went for lunch, it was snowing, hard. When I went for evening tea it was still snowing. When I had dinner you guessed it right, it was snowing, still. And when I went to bed, well what else, it was still snowing. I was sick of it by now. The next day we turned back and walked all the day in snow and rain.
  • There is a road (if you like to call it so) for part of the way on this trek (jeeps up to Chame and motorcycles up to Manang). And a lot has been written about it. When we started there were regular jeeps till Chame that would honk us out of the way. When we gave up the trek due to rain and snow there was no road left at Chame. There were only waterfalls and landslides on the road.
  • No one knew for sure if there was a jeep at all from anywhere to anywhere anymore!
  • We walked for three days, 9 hours, 12 hours and 8.5 hours before we found the jeep and eventually that rainbow at Chamche (and not Chame where the jeeps originally were to be found).

Mridula Dwivedi

All Smiles after Finding the Elusive Jeep, With my Guide Hari from Above the Himalayas at Chamche

  • My knees hurt like mad while climbing down.
  • And I pay good money to do all this to myself!
  • I could have lived with all of it but for the views. Hardly any high peaks for me this time and that is what I miss most. This time it was more of a character building exercise than an actual trek.
  • Will I trek again? You bet, but not in June and if it is June then not in Nepal.

Why do we do this to self? My guide in Uttarakhand (and yes he is safe) Sohan Singh Bisht has a theory. He says some of us trekkers drop a nut from our brains somewhere on our very first treks. And we just keep going back in the hope of finding it somewhere again. Nothing else can explain it!

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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