See the Nepal page for links to all posts related to this trip.
Written October 30, 2012
An early morning pre-breakfast hike to see the sunrise view from the top of Poon Hill. In actuality we have the same view from our hotel window, but it’s the thing to do and it seems everyone staying in town does it. It’s a slog up in the frigid dark climbing 400 meters in a long queue to the view point.
Once at the top the crowd disperses somewhat. Thankfully Poon Hill has a fairly large top and although the observation tower is already jammed there is a plenty of space around the tower to take in the morning’s first rays on the Annapurna peaks.
After breakfast – I’m feeling much better thanks to Cipro; don’t leave home without it – we pack up and start the second climb of the morning up another set of steep stone stairs but the views at the top of the ridge are worth every step . We are back up to 3200 meters for the second time this morning with a similar viewpoint as Poon Hill.
From here the trail climbs gently along the ridge with peak views through the trees that beckon you forward.
Finally we start down, steeply, and after a short tea break we continue down the steep trail to the bottom where we begin to follow a clear mountain stream.
Lunch in Banthanti (this is a second Banthanti as many villages have the same name) at the Shankar stream-side restaurant. The people watching is priceless. A group of Chinese, men and women, dressed in military fatigues and donning walkie-talkies, dominate the small outdoor terrace talking loudly and taking up most of the table space.
After lunch we continue to follow the stream before hitting a long slippery descent through the forest only to climb up the other side again, first along a stone staircase through a pretty moss covered forest and then up a hillside with distant views back over Ulleri and the rice fields in the valley where we slept on the first night of the trek.
Laxmi and the assistant guides, Siwani and Jayanti, are starting to bond and have become much chattier along the trail.
We reach Tadapani, a typical tea-house village with mountain peak views obscured by afternoon clouds.
Past Tadepani we descend, sometimes steeply, for another hour through green forest and arrive at Chuile, a more tranquil setting with just one lodge on a grassy terrace at the edge a vertical drop and views of Annapurna South and Fish Tail. We quickly lose the sun and the temperature drops.
Rooms at the Super View guest house are the same cell-like rooms. Toilets are clean – one western and one squat. “Hot” showers are tepid at best.
Peak views at Super View are from the guest house courtyard rather than select guest rooms, allowing all guests access to the stunning vistas.
It’s a smaller guest house with a more intimate dining room and no large tour groups. A small TV mounted in the corner of the room plays a Hindi movie and our new young friends’ eyes are glued to the screen. Nepalese, it turns out, is a close cousin to Hindi.
So far I’m feeling pretty strong, despite the intestinal problems, and am not too tired at the end of the day. It’s a good thing because according to Laxmi it’s only going to get harder from here.