Updating this website with content from a March, 2019 Nepal Annapurna Circuit Trek, long considered one of the world’s great treks. This walk takes one over Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters/17,769 feet. There are quaint Nepali and Tibetan like villages, scores of waterfalls, rivers flowing through tree covered mountains, and then the high treeless white capped mountains of the Annapurnas soaring 20,000 to 26,660 feet above the sea with 19 peaks over 19,685 feet. All my previous treks have been with a guide, but I thought since this is my third time over Thorong La why not give it a go solo.
Will blog the entire trek over the next week or so. Here is Day 1-3:
Days 1-3 of the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Basecamp (Sanctuary) combined trek:
Thorong La Pass has been closed most of the past 2 weeks because of heavy snow so I walk hoping the Spring sun will melt the snow covered Pass.
The trek started in Besi Sahar, an all day bus ride from Kathmandu, but just a few hours from Rajahar where I was over 12 days enjoying preventative health treatments at Nature Cure Naturopathic Hospital.
Arriving at Besi Sahar at 1:30 I had plenty of sunshine left so continued on walking to Bhulbule about 3 hours upriver, crossing The Marsyangdi River and unfortunately following a dirt road much of the way. I did this trek in 2003 and am finding that there has been some serious development having to walk on a gravel or dirt road for parts of the trek.
Fortunately there are still plenty of options to get off road and follow ancient walking paths.
Made it to the Superb View Hotel which indeed have a great view of the river valley below. Though they are often called Hotels, they are teahouses. More like low end hostels in other countries. You do get a private room though it is usually no more than a relatively thin foam mattress on a wood platform and perhaps a small table and chair. If you are lucky there is an outlet to charge your phone. There is always a restaurant as well with hopefully a stove for the cold evenings. When I first came to Nepal in 1987 you usually sat on wood benches, and had to go outside to the outhouse, but today there are cushioned benches and usually flush toilets.
Enjoyed my first dinner of the Nepali national dish of dal bhat, rice, local veggies usually potato, spinach, and lentil soup with a bit of spicy pickle.
Afterwards, I picked up a book, as there is no wifi up here though I wonder if that has changed. The Book, The Dice Man, started slowly and soon I was laughing. I had stayed at this very hotel in 16 years earlier and had started reading this very book, and found it to be one of the worst books ever. About a guy who made each and every decision based on the roll of the die. Anyway, I wasn’t going to give it a second chance.
Waking on Day 2, and a delicious hot oatmeal porridge, I resumed the trek. Today’s hike was much better as the road crossed over to the left side of the river and the trail was hilly and interesting taking me through Ghermu and Jagat passing many waterfalls. I passed a few trekkers who had limited time and were going back down because of the Pass being closed.
I was planning to stop earlier, but the walking was great and sometimes you just feel like continuing. So I ended up doing 2 days and 1100 meters up according to the Lonely Planet Guidebook and ended up about 4PM in the lovely village of Tal, and got a room at Mont Blanc Hotel. Love the names in Nepal.
Walked down to the edge of town where there is a tall, spectacular waterfall. Returning to the hotel, saw potato, pumpkin, and bean curry on the Menu and it was quite nice. The food has really improved here in the past 25 years. On my first trip in 1987 the choices were dal bhat, dal bhat, and dal bhat.
Day 3 started out with a difficult but invigorating walk on the mountain edge eventually getting to Dharapani where they have a checkpoint to verify you have the proper trekking permits. This is also the village where the Manaslu Trek merges onto the Annapurna Trek. I came through here last year at the finish of the Manaslu of course walking in the reverse direction to Besi Sahar.
Shortly after Dharapani, there was a decent amount of snow which surprised me as the previous 2 treks on Annapurna I did not reach snow until after Manang a few days higher up. The walking got a bit tough in the forest with deeper snow but eventually I arrived in tonight’s destination, Chame. Another long walking day of over 6 hours and 1100 meter ascent. I liked the sound of Moon Love Hotel and confirmed when I saw a larger than normal bed that felt relatively comfortable. A Russian couple showed up later and we enjoyed dinner together. Macaroni with tuna and cheese may not sound appealing but after a day’s walk it was excellent.
Some serious snow at 2700 meters. Does not bode well for the Pass at 5,416 meters