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travelling with laughter

Still walking and walking AND walking!

NEPAL | Friday, 2 November 2007 | Views [1711]

so the tale continues.......a week endured, survived and still walking.....and walking ...and walking......."Are we nearly there yet?"

Day 7..."the day of endurance"
The day didn't start so well.....it was to be my first and hopefully only whingey day. I woke up feeling shattered and sluggish but there was nothing to do but carry on. I really had chosen the wrong day to feel like this...we were in for a long one, leaving at 8.30am we had a distance of 21km to cover and a climb of 1010m!
It was hard mentally and physically, there were moments when i just wanted to throw my bag on the floor, then my body, kick my legs around, scream and then produce a white flag!..in no particular order!
The worst part was after a big climb up, i thought we were almost there so i scanned the mountain to see what was next......looking across i saw our path drop deep down and then ascend back up to the same height i was standing on, on the other side of the river! It was a little bit upsetting but other than sprouting wings it was full steam ahead.
Reaching our destination eight hours later was a HUGE relief and i felt a massive sense of achievement! Hooray! We found a room, contemplated washing.....saw our own breath and deemed it too cold, had a chocolate bar to celebrate and wrapped up warm for the couple of hours before bed!
Day 8..."Puff puff puff"
Sleeping well and actually being warm, (thanks to my two toasty chums squeezed next to me-three in a bed) i woke up feeling like myself again. We had an easy day, only five hours of walking to do and no nasty surprises....or so we hoped! We jioned up with two english guys and took it easy , stopping for lengthy lunch breaks in the sun and afternoon cake a little later on. It was so chilled....
The scenery around us began to change, the jungle disappearing being replaced by dense pine forests, slate paths and a cool crisp air. The wind picked up keeping us wrapped tight but when we were in the sun it was wonderfully warm and most appreciated. I started to feel the effects of the increasing altitude, we were at about 3000m and the air was beginning to get thinner and breathing slightly more laboured. The main concern of this trek is getting altitude sickness which can be a killer if not properly treated, at the level we were at its not a problem but good to be aware so we made sure we kept well hydrated and took care of eachother.
Early afternoon we reached Upper Pisang a beautiful town, the buildings look ramshackle with there stone walls, the paths dusty but its picturesque. We got our first sight of Annapurna two lit up by the sun in the blue sky towering over us at 7937m! Absolutely awesome.....such a sight to see! Even though i have had moments of 'why am i doing this', arriving in amazing places and having the fantastic views makes it all worth while and the aches and pains insignificant.
We settled in to our cosy hotel, and sat ourselves in the dining room awaiting dinner. The dining room was fab, not to the eye but because it had a stove in the middle warming the room to t-shirt temperature allowing us to be snug as a bug in a rug. The lights however were a touch irritating, flashing as the power surged through creating the feel of a horror movie.....so cards were our entertainment as reading was definatley out of the question!
Day 9..."getting fitter and enjoying the challenge"
Chilled out morning.....yay! I read, did some well needed washing and had a nap...all in the name of relaxation. Later at three we finally left (just as others were arriving) heading to a little town which rested at the top of a steep hill. We only had 300m to climb but looking at out height chart it said that it would take about two hours...meaning it was steep. We set off at a steady pace following the stream round the mountains until the base of the hill, then we took our time. Everyone in there usual positions, Mark in the front, Sharon following and me at the back. The path had continual switch backs, at each corner i stopped, caught my breath, had a swig of water and went on to the next. I felt breathless and began getting tired but i had a wonderful distraction to keep me going...the view!
We arrived in the tourist free town and found ourselves some 'shelter' in the name of a hotel.....we had to climb two rickerty staircases to the top, duck our heads to enter the room which consisted of three beds, a holey door and bin bag covered ceilings...unique! The view was amazing, i know i keep saying this but there really aren't adequate words i can find to describe it any better.....We watched as the clouds came in and within the hour we were mobbed by them......you couldn't see a thing at all!
The day threw in a hard climb and it was challenging but i am begginning to enjoy it.....that feeling of exhaustion masked by the sense of achievement.
Day 10 ..."Where am i jurassic park of the himalayas?"
Now we were going to get up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise.......sending Mark out to look he promptly came back in declaring it too cloudy, allowing us to get a few more zzz's in! What a super star! The morning was hectic, loads of tourists popped there heads over the hill into the peaceful (not for long) village, helicopters flew overhead on the recue mission and i saw my first avalance. We heard an almighty rumble, looked across the river to see snow billow up in what seemed to be slow motion as it slid down the mountain. Amazing to see but i was grateful to be on the 'right' side!
 As we set off Mark went off ahead maybe to have 'time-out' from us gigglers and to speed up the pace, so we just took our time chatting and singing our way along stopping for a leisurely lunch....this is when we heard dinosaurs......'rrrroarrrrr, roooarrrr'.....i thumped the table causing a ripple in Sharons glass...."there coming...!" In actual fact they were yaks but the noise they made....well it almost had us fooled!
I had a wonderful day, little ups and downs and again the scenery changed becoming more barron and snow filled. It was nice to stop on a rock, take a breather and enjoy the moment. How glad i felt to be there, i had made a good decision.
Day 11..."is the lake a mirage?"
Today was our 'rest' day and what did we do????? none other than a 1300m climb to ice lake (4600m) to acclimatise! thats not my idea of resting......
We had to acclimatise to reduce the risk of getting altitude sickness, you climb up high and sleep low allowing your body to adjust. I emptied my back pack filling it with Sharons and my stuff that we needed, then at least we could take it in turns not to have a bag on. For me though for some odd reason i didnt actually manage to go any faster without it on...infact i seemed to slow down...odd....
I was nervous before the climb as i knew it would roughly take about four hours up but once on the trail i got into a rhythm of breathing and walking at a nice steady pace taking regular 'pit stops' to slow my heart rate down, as the Nepalise like to say 'slowly slowly' . The start of our walk was cloudy but soon showed signs of clearing....well we hoped and prayed we would be able to see after all the walking. Reaching the top of a hill we saw mark in the distance standing by one of the poles leading the way, however the sign was on the floor and Mark was trying to diguise it....we quickly found out why! The blue sign had ICE LAKE printed on it and some kind (or sadistic) soul had etched in it.....'its still miles away'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AHHHH! Later we found out that this person was indeed correct as we topped another hill and another and another! It was really hard work, no longer was i thinking 'why am i doing this?' but 'where is the damn lake?'........
At a point where we thought we had gone wrong we sat down to fuel up on nuts and chocolate, Sharon set off up the hill to peak over the top to see if she could see the lake. Once at the top ,Sharon now a pin prick of a person signalled for us to carry on following the path. Mark and i scurried round the path in search of the lake and waited for Sharon to return. I was soooo excited, almost there! Sharons words when i asked if she had seen the lake and was it as amazing as the photos we had seen were....."yes, but don't get too excited". As usual Sharon was right, it wasn't magnificant at all but just the fact of being there at 4600m with mountains rising all around us made up for it. The clouds had blessed us by disappearing, the sun came out and after lunch i had a nap before heading down.
Downhill was 'fun'.....wind blowing, narrow paths and a load of shale...not the best combination ever! Now heres something i never thought i would say....i prefer going up hill! Negiotating the shale and rocks i half skidded half walked down and then to make it even more 'fun' we lost the path and ended up walking down a stream...literally hopping rocks to avoid the water! A bizarre end to the day! We later warmed up by the fire, ate a hearty meal and went to bed. "whats the time?" i was asked, giving my usual response of "guess?", after getting there estimations i looked at my watch in disbelief......7.20pm! Not even half past and we were tucked up in bed!!! Nighty night!
Day 12 ..."the start of the bug"
  Sat in the sun with a book to warm up my limbs for the days walking and we were off...late as usual compared to our fellow trekkers but in no hurry. However the bug would slow us right down as i started to feel sick, dry heaving and walking is no fun but there is no chioce once on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere! We passed through one town and were just exiting the other side when Mark declared, "girls, last chance to stay here"..at that point stomach cramps set in and i flew the white flag.....then ran to the loo, where i spent most of the evening.....great!
Day 13 ..."the trail of trekkers going up hell hill...toe to heel , toe to heel.."
Dry toast and water...the start of my day! I felt much better, a little drained but ready to carry on. Mark was a true gentlemen and on one of the up hills he took my bag from me as i was struggling (and pratically at a stand still!), giving me a resbite...thankyou!
 The day in itself wasnt too bad until we reached HELL HILL, it was here that i lost my sense of humour for a little bit! The path dropped down dramatically to a bridge before retracing its way on the other side just as steeply....you could see the other trekkers going up sooooo slowly, literally toe, heel, toe, heel and we were soon to join this chain gang! I was not a happy bunny. I just put my head down, looked at the floor and tried to zone out. Sharon behind me said 'this isn't too bad"...this is when i lost it.... 'sod off' i responded gruffly, thinking that she was talking of the steepness of the hill as i huffed, puffed and sweated. At the top i swiftly took back my comment as she was actually talking about the pace we were going at. I blame my reaction on still feeling not quite right....i did say sorry though.
Finally we arrived at Thorang Pedi (4450m and our last stop before crossing the pass) after gingerly crossing 'landslide areas'.....these had a sign just incase you hadn't noticed half the mountain missing! Sat outside in the sun, ate lunch, fell asleep on a corrugated roof and chilled trying not to worry about the impending day that lay ahead.

Tags: The Great Outdoors


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