We followed our trusty river down the valleys. By this point, I think we were all ready for some relaxation in Pokhara. But first we craved the hot springs to soothe our aching muscles.
On our way down to Jhinudanda, we came across a young Nepali girl. She must have been about 13. She had passed out from exhaustion while gathering supplies. It’s very easy to think of these places in the world as novelty for tourists, but it’s important to remember that to these people, it’s life. It would have obviously been completely inappropriate to take a photo of the girl for my own memories (as some tourists were doing), but I thought it would be interesting to relay the story.
We also passed a MASSIVE herd of goats on the way. The odd goat is not uncommon in Nepal, but the size of this herd was mental. We were literally stepping over them and between them because there were so many. Obvs I took plenty of pics.
The hot springs near Jhinudanda. A river roars next to you as you bask in the jungle. This was heaven. I was a little skeptical before reaching the hot springs, but trust me, it’s exactly what you need after a week of trekking.
The next day was our final day! When I thought of the jeeps we were making our way towards, my eyes lit up and were almost as bright as this buffalo’s.
We walked through really beautiful villages on the last day. While I was eager to get home, I couldn’t help but take a moment to admire the beauty around me one last time.
We came into a clearing with a bunch of horses and donkeys in it and I had to snap this one. Spying on us through the bushes.
The final stretch of the journey… The end was in sight!
We stopped at this spot and could see a village on the other side of the valley. Under closer inspection, we could see what we were certain were…
JEEPS! The first cars we had seen in a week were a welcome sight. We bounded across the last leg of the journey.
Fun fact: My time as a Chicagoan has come to an end.
This last year has been a whirlwind. Since graduating last May, I’ve traveled to eight states, lived in three very different places and written about a bizarre range of topics, including the… 550 more words
We woke up to some spectacular views at Fishtail Base Camp. There were mountains (or ‘hills’ if you’re Nepali) all around us.
Sunrise over the mountains.
We began the walk to Annapurna Base Camp – the final stretch until the big payoff.
This photo is indicative of what the walk to the Base Camp was like. It was stunning.
Finally, we reached our destination! The prize was in sight!
A helicopter flew and landed at the camp. I’m not sure what it was doing there. There was also an expeditition preparing to try to summit from the south side of the mountain – an incredibly dangerous task. Most people who want to summit Annapurna do it from the other side.
A hot lemon was well deserved after the long climb to the Base Camp. We stayed for around 2 hours before beginning the descent.
On the way back, I saw many mice like this one.
Goodbye mountains, we’ll miss you!
And so, we headed back along the gorge between the valleys to a slightly warmer climate. The next big step of the journey was to get to Jhinudanda and enjoy the natural hot springs there.
We left Pokhara at the crack of dawn and were driven, weaving through the valleys to Nayapul – the start of the journey.
Before setting off, you might almost have said that we look quite good. This definitely would not be the case by the end.
Entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, we purchased tickets and were given a short guidebook with some instructions to respect the local culture.
This is representative of our first day. We followed this river the entire way to the top.
As you can see, it was quite hazy. Our first few days has quite low visibility due to the forest fires that raged in Chitwan polluting the sky.
One of the things I was most looking forward to on this trek was a big suspension bridge like this. I wasn’t disappointed, as there were several throughout the journey.
We saw loads of horses and donkeys transporting goods from one village to the next. I really like the designs on the head.
Steps! While I would describe the difficulty of the trek as only ‘moderate’, there were periods of steep steps for sometimes a good hour at a time. At the top of this set was our prize: the first stop, Ghandruk.
We finally reached our destination and walked through the narrow streets to our hotel. It was a satisfying victory.
We stayed in a hotel called Bishow Guest House, which was very nice. It overlooks a small village where the architecture is fascinating. Sitting on the balcony, you can see the people just live their lives. It’s very interesting.