One of the most beautiful parts of the trek, the valley bathed in early morning light with Annapurna towering ahead.
Day 5: Chhromrong 2170 meters (7120 feet) to Bamboo 2,335m (7661 feet)
It was an easier day, more Nepali flat, without any huge climbs or descents. The task at hand seemed less daunting. We were becoming acclimated to the altitude after spending the last few months at sea level in Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Our muscles had bounced back from the shock and overexertion of the first few days. I’d recovered from my bout of food poisoning, but Mandy was still bothered by her swollen right knee, which had weirdly popped up the day before we left on our trek. She was able to take some weight off it with hiking poles and continued to warrior her way up. Continue reading
Early morning view of Machapuchare from Tadapani
Day 4: Tadapani 2706 meters (8878 feet)to Chhomrong 2170 meters (7120 feet)
I woke up the next morning, my stomach feeling better, but with my legs still wobbling a bit beneath me. Mandy and I shuffled outside, blinking as bright sunlight replaced the grimness and dinginess of our room, the sacred peak of Machapuchare (which has never been summited and is now off-limits to climbers) towered ahead of us. We breakfasted at a long table outside under a clear blue sky that capped the glistening white Himalayan peaks surrounding us. Breakfast was warm porridge–I was able to eat half. Continue reading
View from Poon Hill summit
Day 3: Ghorepani 2874 meters (9430 feet) to Poon Hill 3240 meters (10,630 feet) to Tadapani 2706 meters (8878 feet)
I stared up through cold blackness at the barely visible ceiling. The darkness was damp and heavy. It was 2:30am and most of the generators in Ghorepani were powered down for the night. Waves of cramping surged through my stomach. Rather than make the trek down two long, unheated concrete hallways to the communal bathroom, I tucked myself deeper into my sleeping bag and hoped that full-blown food poisoning wasn’t looming. Not here, not at 10,000 feet, with 8 more days of extreme terrain and squat toilets yet to navigate. I was already exhausted from yesterday’s climb, but sleep eluded me as my stomach continued its violent protests.
At 4:30am, Mandy joined me in wakefulness. Across the valley, icy Himalayan peaks appeared to be floating in the darkness, their icecaps shimmering in the starlight. We pulled on every layer we had with us, flicked on our headlamps, and stepped out on the day’s first expedition. Continue reading
Monkey Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal
We awoke late in the morning to more brilliant tropical sunshine. A few lazy hours flitted past, carried away gently by the warm ocean breeze, before time accelerated to its customary frenetic pace. Packs loaded, we walked down to the dock where we embarked on a less eventful return journey: ferry ride (minus the puking), overnight bus transport (minus the cockroach infestation), a quick transfer at sunrise, and we found ourselves inside Bangkok’s modern, glassy airport. It was remarkably devoid of people. We stood alone on the moving walkway, which, like the hands of time, carried us steadily and inevitably forward into another chapter of our trip. Continue reading
My intentions were good. I’d planned to write a post tonight about our arrival in Sydney, Australia. But after a late night out on a rooftop restaurant/bar in Kathmandu, Nepal, that’s going to have to wait. The simple truth is that there’s always a lot going on, which doesn’t leave much time to blog about it.
Tomorrow, Mandy and I are headed off into the Himalayas for twelve days hiking the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Needless to say, it’ll be pretty quiet around twoandahalfbackpacks. When we return, we’ll start back on the impossible task of trying to get this blog up to date.