Day 19 Tatopani – Ghorepani Tatopani lies beside the Kali Gandaki river. Ghorepani lies atop a hill. And when I say hill, I mean just over two Ben Nevis’ stacked on top of each other. Between them, as we would soon discover is a staircase – actual steps all the way up. This to my mind sounded a pretty easy ride considering some of the climbs I’ve done. But have you ever, ever, walked upstairs continuously for 10 hours? No, neither had I. Until this day. The day starts in beau
Day 17 - Kalopani - Tatopani We wake up at the foot of a beautifully clear Dalaugiri, thankfully we remain unmolested by the cabbage zombies that Susan had feared. I exit the room and walk the short distance along the balcony to the shared sink to clean my teeth. And there in the reflection behind me are the Annapurnas. So vast and distant. My first pang of sorrow that the trek is nearing the end and that these incredible peaks are now literally and metaphorically behind me.
Day 15 - Muktinath - Jomsom Somethings up with the lads and there is an atmosphere, a large amount of them not looking at each other and a general air of grumpiness. I’m not sure whether they’ve had a disagreement or they’re annoyed with us. We’re all tired and none of us need this. So we do the very British thing when there is an awkward atmosphere and make ourselves scarce by visiting the temple with Dilli. The temple, sacred to both Hindu and Buddhists, is built around a h
Day 14: The Thorung La Pass For the past few months I have been worrying about the seemingly random nature of altitude sickness and how my body would react and how it would affect the trip. I’ve also researched the severity of the trek across the pass, reports ranging from almost impossible to a walk in the park. I’ve trained hard to give my lungs and limbs the best possible chance at making it over. It has been the one day that I have had doubts over all this time. The day h
Day 11: Tilicho Base Camp – Sri Karka – Thorung Pedi High Camp It’s 9.30am and I’m sat in the bright teahouse in Sri Karka we passed two days ago. I’ve just been offered lunch, which just three hours after a huge bowl of porridge is a stretch too far. So I sit and wait for the others, listening to the singing in the kitchen, sipping a scaldingly hot lemon tea and making notes in my sketchbook. I’m so far ahead as I feel I’ve been tested. We were put one-on-one to get through
Day 9 - Manang – Kangsar – Sri Kharkar – Tilicho I was sad to leave Manang and it’s peanut butter on toast. Glancing behind as we took the left hand path (that no one else was taking) I felt a twang of regret that maybe, possibly, I won’t have the pleasure of visiting this little dusty town and Gangapurna Tal again. I also had another, very good reason to be a bit sad to leave, I just didn’t know it yet. Our ‘easy’ day would soon turn into a mammoth effort and a day that woul
Day 8 – Manang ‘Rest’ Day Peanut butter on toast! I have gone an entire week without peanut butter, unheard of since I was a kid. I need my daily hit and I am missing its comforting nutty goodness. In fact I spent quite some time searching the shelves of all the local supermarkets at home before I came to Nepal, trying to think of a suitable unsquashable peanut buttery snack that I could bring along, alas to no avail. Here in Manang there is peanut butter and there is somethi
Day 5 – Bumpy rides & the onset of sobriety I don’t know if it’s the pre-dawn start or the worry that I’ve left something really important behind, but my brain feels in a foggy whirlwind as I sandwich myself between bags, bottles, poles and humans in the jeep that’s to take us to Besisahar… 8 hours away. This is our opportunity to make our initial bonds crammed up against our guide and porters, Dilli, Gyalzen and Nima, but it all feels a bit awkward in a very British way. As