October 9, 2008:
A long day: First Poon Hill (3,200 m) for sunrise, then trek all the
way to Chomrong (2,100 m) via Tadapani (2,600 m)
Bharat woke us up at 4:45 am. "Clear skies, let's go to Poon Hill", he shouted. Got dressed quickly and
then we started the hike up to Poon Hill. It took us about 45 minutes or so. For whatever reason I was
exhausted when we were up there. I had a hard time following Bharat and Suzi this morning.
Sunrise was different. The clouds gave the vistas additional color and made for some spectacular
pictures. There were lots of clouds especially in the valleys below us and surrounding Dhaulagiri. Many
people had made the trek up to Poon Hill this morning, many more than I expected. We took a lot of
pictures.
The way back down to Ghorepani took forever as there were so many people going down. We were back
at the lodge at 7:15 am. Breakfast also took forever as the lodge was so crowded. Around 8 am, it was
finally ready and then we packed up and left Ghorepani at 8:30 am.
It took us 45 minutes to get up to Deurali pass. The walk up there
was spectacular. It was very cloudy and foggy and walking
through the rhododendron forests was surreal. Almost like
Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings. Up at the pass there was no
view at all. I took a picture of Bharat at the same place I took one
of him 2 years ago, back then without any clouds and great views.
After reaching the village of Deurali, we steeply descended into the mossy gorge. There were lots of
people going down, but also coming up. We passed through Banthanti and from there hiked steeply
down to the river. We crossed the river. Bharat went ahead and Suzi and I slogged up the steep climb to
Tadapani. We got there at 12:30 pm, just in time before it started to pour rain.
We had lunch at the Super View Lodge. The super view was blocked by clouds and raindrops. I hate rain!
We still wanted to continue all the way to Chomrong and the thought of getting soaked did not make me
too happy! Anyway, lunch was good. There were a couple of Irish lads there and they were goofy. Also, in
the dining room we met David. He also had booked his trip with Thirdpole. His guide Anil and Bharat of
course knew each other very well and as we all had the same destination, i.e. Annapurna Base Camp, we
decided to "join forces".
We finished lunch, put on our raingear, and
made our packs rainproof by wrapping them
with plastic bags. We left Tadapani around 2
pm. Just as we left, the rain stopped. Great!! At
first, we went steeply down through more
rhododenron forests. All of a sudden,
however, we were out of the forest and
reached Chule which is a little village on a
green ridge above the valley.
From here, we had great views down the Kimrong Khola. We saw the trail we had to steeply descend and
then steeply ascend on the other side of the valley. Chomrong was not to be seen from here as it was
around the bend downvalley and on the other side, still a couple of hours away.
We went steeply down the valley mainly
through fields of barley. We passed a few
beautifully located lodges but kept walking.
Once we were down in the Kimrong Khola, we
crossed the river and started`to hike up the
steep path on the other side. Luckily, after a
while, the path flattened out and then only
gradually gained altitude.
We went through Ghurjung which had a couple of nice lodges, but by now we were determined to make it
all the way to Chomrong. We finally reached it at 6 pm, just as it was getting dark. Bharat again went
ahead and booked us rooms in the Excellent View Lodge. Only drawback was that the lodge was under
construction, but the rooms were fine. The dining room was huge with just a small table and a couple of
benches because of the work going on.
I ordered a beer and got a can. I hate cans....so I found out that from now on there are no beer bottles
available as they are not allowed in the Annapurna Sanctuary where we were in now. Also, no more
water plastic bottles, only boiled water. This means I will give up beer for a few days as I don't like cans.
We had a late dinner, probably around 7:30 pm. I had veggie noodle soup and a tomato cheese pizza.
Best pizza I had since Kathmandu! We went to bed late, 9:30 pm, after a long, hard day and a good
distance!!
Macchapucchre (Fishtail)
Annapurna South and Hinchuli
Tukuche Peak