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Mountains near Thorung La - Annapurna CircuitMountains near Thorung La - Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Round
Fifteen Days

In autumn of 2010 I ventured out into the Nepali Himalayas, accompanied by my trusty porter-cum-guide Dhan, to attempt one of the classic treks in Nepal - the Annapurna Circuit AKA Annapurna Round.

I opted for a package with Alliance Trek & Expedition costing $650, which included my aforementioned porter-cum-guide; all accommodation and three meals a day whilst trekking; three nights bed and breakfast at Pokhara on completing the trek; permits; plus transport along the way. I'd been advised to just pay for the porter/guide, and pay for everything else as I go . . . but I know what I'm like. I'd be constantly worrying about money along the way and skipping meals to save a few rupees. I did a few sums and didn't think I'd save much that way either, and at least I wouldn't have the stress of worrying I'll run out of cash.

You can read how I got on by clicking the links below.

Getting There, 25th September - Kathmandu to Bhulbhule
Day One, 26th September - Bhulbhule to Jagat
Day Two, 27th September - Jagat to Dharapani
Day Three, 28th September - Dharapani to Chame
Day Four, 29th September - Chame to Pisang
Day Five, 30th September - Pisang to Manang
Day Six, 1st October - Free Day Manang
Day Seven, 2nd October - Manang to Yak Kharka
Day Eight, 3rd October - Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi
Day Nine, 4th October - Thorung Phedi to Mukinath - Crossing Thorung La
Day Ten, 5th October - Mukinath to Marpha
Day Eleven, 6th October - Marpha to Ghasa
Day Twelve, 7th October - Ghasa to Tatopani
Day Thirteen, 8th October - Tatopani to Ghorepani
Day Fourteen, 9th October - Poon Hill Sunrise then Ghorepani to Hile

Day Fifteen, 10th October - Hile to Nayapul then Pokhara by Bus

10/10/10 17:00 Dazed and confused in Pokhara 620 metres

Jessie's guide had mentioned that the walk today was on the flat, so I was surprised by the copious amounts of steps we encountered not long after setting off. Dhan and I left first, around 07:30, but we got stuck behind a woman driving mules, and beating them harshly. After we'd got most of the steps out of the way, and were walking on stone slabs, the mechanism inside one of my sticks came loose just as I slipped and leant on it, snapping the metal inside. I'd been showing off the sticks to Jeremy that morning, and can't have done them back up properly. It was unfortunate - but also incredibly good timing, with just around ninety minutes left to walk. We left the broken stick with some children; somebody might be able to fashion a fix, and get some use out of it.

We stopped for chiya a short while later, and I took pictures of the multitude of cute kids at the teahouse, then continued on our way. After climbing a steep section, we walked along a high path, which looked down upon the seductively clear waters of the river tumbling over large rocks below. There were landslides to be crossed too, which slowed me down. Dhan was almost out of sight as I gingerly negotiated them with my one remaining stick; down to three legs now from four. Before too long we walked through the bustling town of Birethanti, waiting while a large group of goats in front of us were coerced into crossing a suspension bridge, then walked to the outskirts of town where we stopped for tea and rice bread. We turned down offers of taxi rides back to Pokhara, from men driving old-style Toyata Corolas - which I'd already spotted are popular motors out here.

Landslide near BirethantiKids at teahouseGoatskin at Birethanti

There was just a kilometre to go before the trek was officially over, along a busy path lined with stalls, and passed lots of tourists heading the other way, their adventures ahead of them, lucky things. The sound of car horns grew louder, drowning out the cicadas, and we emerged onto the main road to wait for a bus. It wasn't too crowded when it turned up, and I grabbed a window seat. We pulled off, driving for two minutes . . . then stopping for fifteen, with no obvious reason behind it - good old local buses! Then we were off again, diesel fumes blasting in through the open window. We passed a lot of goats, and I shed a tear thinking of how their journey would end. I might be sad that my days of walking are over, but at least I'm not going to have my throat slit and be eaten.

I listened to daft songs on my ipod, and the journey passed quickly, with Dhan prompting me when it was time to get off. We got a taxi to Hotel Image, where I got a rather shabby room on the roof, and emptied the contents of my pack onto the floor. Dhan gave me a bus ticket back to Kathmandu, and my TIMMS card as a souvenir, and I tipped him $50. We'd had our issues throughout the trek, but I guess he wasn't a bad sort really.

Click here for more pictures from Day Fifteen

Annapurna . . . Finiss! 11th October - Reflecting on the Trip from Pokhara

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