Oct 29, 2014:

Long day. It was hard during the walk/hike but I’m surprisingly not that exhausted. I wonder if there’s something called a trekker’s high which seems like what I’m having right now. I’ll probably be dead tonight.

So in the morning got the bus to Kimche. Everyone said it’d pass after 9, possibly even later 10, or 11. Yet at about 8:40 I saw a bus coming down and asked the ticket collector and yes, it was that bus! Ran to grab my bag and didn’t even say bye to anyone. Good thing I’d packed and paid before that.

Bus stop, Berithani, Kimche, Annapurna

Started walking from Kimche to Ghandruk and took me 1hr instead of the 2hrs in the brochure. Made me feel pretty good. The clouds had gathered by then and looked like it’d rain all afternoon like yesterday. Took room at a lodge with a view of Fishtail and probably Annapurna (left of Fishtail) but it was cloudy so only partly revealed. After lunch, around 1:30pm rain lightened and so were the clouds. They were still there but the direction where I was headed to looked pretty ok, cloudy but not that overcast. Decided to move on and got charged 150 rupees for the room. But whatever.

Kimche, walking to Ghandruk, Gurung women, Annapurna

Kimche, walking to Ghandruk, Annapurna, terraced fields, harvesting

Ghandruk village, Annapurna, Gurung

Ghandruk village

typical house architecture, Ghandruk village, Annapurna, Gurung

traditional Gurung architecture

Next village is Khomrong which I was thinking where I might spend the night, but again got there in half time (45 mins). Ran into a group of Nepali guys who wanted to get to Chomrong and I thought well if these beer-bellied guys with huge packs can make it, so can I. And plus I was making good time. We went together for the next leg. They’re from somewhere near Lumbini.

Ghandruk, Gurung men, porters carrying stones

Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong, Annapurna, log footbridge over brook

Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong, house on cliff

Nepali trekkers, Annapurna, Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong

It was 400m down and pretty muddy after the rain. Took me 50 mins, very close to the 1hr in the brochure. Either I was getting tired, or can’t go down that much faster than recommended. Probably both. The guys took a break as I pressed on for a long ascent. Parts of it almost as steep as Marble Mountain. Had to take so many breaks. And then also walked wrong way briefly for a couple of times. It just kept going up and up for 500m! I broke my very first chocolate bar to get some energy and spirit. And then up and up again. Such a relief to see “Hilltop” side. Now only a down part to get to Chomrong.

Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong, bridge over river

Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong, steep stairs

Ghandruk, walking to Chomrong, cherry blossom

Got here in Chomrong at 5:15pm before it got completely dark and felt damn good!

One thing I realized is that I need to think kind loving thoughts to fellow trekkers I came across, instead of feeling smug and judgmental. Need to smile more, and bigger smiles. And as conflicted as I feel about porters having to carry enormous loads, I gotta respect the older trekkers for doing these treks, I’m sure they’re pushing their limits. Hard! I’m glad I’m doing these things now when I’m still physically fit. Not sure if my knees can handle this in my 50s. (The younger trekkers though, should try to carry less around.)

And either I’m much fitter than I’d thought (and my training really paid off) or the time recommended is really for average person taking lots of breaks/photos. Anyway here’s hoping for better weather. I think the view here in the morning will be pretty good.