Trekking the Annapurna Circuit… or not.

Trekking part one:

Gate welcoming us to Tal:

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One of the many swing bridges we would cross and a monkey:DSC02719

Our initial plans were probably too ambitious. With very little previous trekking experience we chose a combination of the Annapurna circuit, Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) treks. This would have taken around 25 days and that was with skipping parts using a jeep. It took only 5 days of trekking for our plan to go wrong. Surprisingly the change was not a result of Pinion taking a tumble – I would have lost money if I had made a bet. Instead it was due to something out of our control – the weather. We were on the circuit part of the trek, the part where people should all really be going in the same direction. On our 4th day we started to notice that the very few tourists we actually saw were going in the opposite direction. No one said anything, so we put it down to them changing their plans for reasons that wouldn’t affect us: tired legs; altitude sickness; couldn’t be bothered. On the 5th day someone decided to chat, they told us that there was 5ft of snow further up and that with the cold weather it was really unlikely that the pass would be open for a number of days or potentially longer. .

Some easy directions to follow:

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Seeing all the well equipped and very fit looking trekkers turning around was enough to influence us into making a similar decision. On what was supposed to be our 6th day of trekking we spent 12 hours on a jeep retracing our steps without as much sweat but even less comfortable. This rather epic road journey included: seeing a man flying off his scooter around a bend and his leg looking like jelly; an unscheduled toilet stop for me and Pinion whilst the entire coach load of Nepalis had to wait and try avoid looking at our pale bums; passing people marching with flaming torches getting ready for the following day’s strikes. Those first 5 days had been a tough introduction into long distance treks but I was finally getting into the swing of it and had started to enjoy the routine, mainly the afternoon naps and the food.

Animals and lush scenery:

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We eventually arrived in Pokhara, this lakeside town was to be our reward for twenty-odd days of trekking but instead we found ourselves here quite early. We spent our day re-organising our permits and lazing by the lake, I think we were almost excited to start trekking again once the strike finished and we could get some transport to the start of the ABC trek.

New life motto:

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