1.1.6: The Annapurna Sanctuary

Day 24: Chhomrong to Bamboo

The morning was clear and we were now very close to Annapurna south and Hiun chuli. We started off early and descended into the valley before climbing again to Sinuwa hill where we stopped for tea break. We had originally planned to spend the night at Dovan but Kanchha overheard that all the lodges there were fully booked so we decided instead to stay at Bamboo.

24.1. Annapurna South and the view down the Modi Khola valley leading to the sanctuary.

Bamboo, located in a forest of bamboo, was about 2 hours walk from Sinuwa. The first lodge we tried was fully booked but we managed to get a room in the second lodge we tried. The clouds came in and it rained for most of the day. I spent most of the day sitting under the shelter reading ‘Annapurna’ by Maurice Herzog. In the mid-afternoon, Jagat Lama passed through leading an Annapurna sanctuary trek. We chatted briefly in Bamboo and arranged to meet again in Kathmandu. In the evening I played some backgammon with Kanchha and Roj before going to bed early.

Day 25: Bamboo to Deurali

Today was rather similar to yesterday. Roj set off early to book a room in the lodge before Kanchha and I arrived. Kanchha and I set off just after breakfast. In the morning the weather was clear and there were good views to Machhapuchhare and Annapurna III.

25.1. Machhapuchhare – the fish tail mountain.

By mid-morning however it had started to cloud over. We stopped for tea at Dovan and then had a cold drink at Himalaya. Again we finished the walk by lunch time. By mid-afternoon we were completely surrounded by cloud and it had started to rain again, though not as heavily as yesterday. We spent the whole afternoon and evening in the dining hall of the lodge. I played backgammon with Roj and taught him some chess. We went through some of the Nepali that I had been learning over the past few weeks and wrote it down in my journal.

Day 26: Deurali to Machhapuchhare base camp

This morning was very cloudy so there were no good mountain views. The walk this morning was short and we arrived at Machhapuchhare base camp after about 2 hours. Just as we arrived a helicopter came in and landed close to where we were having tea. It was probably someone suffering altitude sickness and needed to be flown back to Pokhara. Soon after we arrived the clouds came in even more and it was not long before it was raining. It was too miserable outside to really do anything so again we sat around in the lodge dining room playing games. At around 17:00 the clouds cleared a bit and we went for a brief walk. During dinner it became even clearer and there were good views to Machhapuchhare above us. By the time I had come out I had just missed the sun set but I took some pictures anyway. Soon after dinner I went to bed as it was quite cold at this altitude and we had an early start tomorrow.

26.1. Machhapuchhare after sunset.

Day 27: Machhapuchhare base camp to Annapurna base camp to Chhomrong

This morning we woke up at about 4:30 to begin the walk to Annapurna base camp. At this time it was still dark and I needed to use my headlight. Luckily it was very clear this morning which was great considering how bad the weather had been over the last couple of days. It wasn’t a very steep climb to Annapurna base camp but at that time of the morning and at altitude it was fairly heavy going. We arrived just before sunrise and the views from the sanctuary to Annapurna I and Annapurna south were incredible and I took a lot of pictures. Soon after the sunrise we went to a lodge for breakfast. I had a large breakfast of fried potatoes and an omelette since we had a long walk ahead of us today. We had decided to walk all the way back to Chhomrong today because Kanchha and I wanted to resume the Dasain celebrations and drink rakshi and eat buffalo meat which we’d been missing over the last couple of days.

27.1. Annapurna, Annapurna south and Machhapuchhare from the Annapurna sanctuary.

Soon after breakfast we walked back down to Machhapuchhare base camp and I packed my bag. We then walked at a fairly quick pace back down to Deurali where we stopped for a tea break. I tried the Marsala tea which is spicy and very nice. After tea we walked back to Dovan and had lunch. During lunch we were joined by Seb, a German tourist who was trekking with his Aunt. He had been staying at the same lodge as us at Machhapuchhare base camp. He was going on to do the Jomsom trek after the sanctuary trek.

27.2. Gangapurna and Machhapuchhare on the walk back down to Chhomrong.

After lunch we were again stopped for tea at Bamboo and Roj went on ahead to book a room in Chhomrong. Just before we arrived at Sinuwa it started to rain and it continued to rain until we reached Chhomrong. When we arrived in Chhomrong it was nearly 17:00 and we had been walking for about 12 hours today minus breaks and we were both pretty tired. The lodge we stayed at last time in Chhomrong was fully booked so we stayed at the Elysium lodge instead. I had a quick shower and then went to join Kanchha. There was no rakshi available so instead Kanchha and I had couple of bottles of Kukri rum with our chhangra meat. I went to bed quite early as I was tired after a long day of walking.

27.3. Holy waterfall and shrine near to Bamboo.