AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Annapurna Circuit: Day 15 – Kalopani to Tatopani

Altitude: 2,520m
Climb: Descent: 1,330m
Time: 6hr 30m + 1hr 30m breaks
Daily Cost: 4,300 rupees ($44/£26)

This was planned to be a long grind of a day. There was nothing of interest marked in the guide book. We knew that dropping in altitude the haze would be back and obscure the views and the temperature was going to rise to make this a hot day.

We left the lodge at 8:30am and walked through Kalopani on the road. Just after the village we turned left into the woods. Walking through the woods was nice. It reminded us of home. After the woods the landscape opened out to grassy fields with dry stone walls. This was eerily similar to walking in the Yorkshire Dales (ignoring the 7,000m peaks in view). This was a nice start to the day and we excitedly told Harry that with the exception of the mountains this was pretty much what walking near our home was like.

We joined the road and walked along it for probably about an hour. We reached the village of Ghasa and walked through. At the end of the village was a checkpoint for our permits. It was also a tourist information point. I’d read in the Lonely Planet about a side trip which have great views of the Dhaulagiri range and the Annapurna range, but it had no details out route. I asked about the Khopra Danda trek and the guy asked me where that was. Oh well, I’ll ask in Tatopani about it.

Just after the village we reached a split in the path, down to a suspension bridge or straight along the road. We stopped to wait for Harry. After 5 minutes he didn’t arrive. We waited another 5 minutes, still nothing. I decided to walk back up the path to the lodges we’d past. He might have needed a drink, or the toilet, or just a rest. But he wasn’t there. I went back down to Annemarie. We decided there was nothing we could do but continue and hope we meet him in Tatopani. We walked down and crossed the bridge and walked along the path beside the river. Then we saw Harry. He was sat beside another suspension bridge about 200m away. He’d walked on the road and crossed this second bridge while we’d followed the markers to the old bridge.

From here we walked along a good path beside the river. The river which had had a gorge half a mile wide was now squeezed into a gorge of 100m metres wide. It made a lot more noise now! Walking down here was hot and sweaty. As the temperature rose so did the humidity and as the humidity rose the mountains disappeared into the haze. This section was all a steady downhill walk with the occasional steeper section or steps. There was one other trekker on the path, apart from him we were all alone.

We stopped for lunch at a lodge. After that we continued down the path. It was green and rocky and we were in the bottom of the deep valley, but other than that it was nothing more than an OK walk.

Around 2:30pm the sky became overcast with dark clouds and the humidity climbed even higher. A thunderstorm was brewing. It wasn’t long before we heard the first rumbles of thunder and the odd flash of lightening. We picked up our pace knowing that it wouldn’t be long before the inevitable rain would start pouring down. By 4pm we still hadn’t reached Tatopani and a few large drops of rain had started to fall. We could only hope that the rain would hold off long enough for us to reach Tatopani.

It didn’t! At 4:15pm the big drops turned to a thunder shower. We put our ponchos on and continued. The rain was torrential but luckily we were on the edge of town. We passed the hot springs of Tatopani. They were basically two large concrete pools. A couple of bikini clad girls were just getting in, whilst a few Nepalese guys sat and watched. I wonder if they get any work done around here…

We found the lodges we were looking for. The first one had a huge walk through the gardens to a very basic and dirty looking room. We weren’t impressed and went to compare with the lodge opposite. That lodge looked better but was still not great. We stayed anyway. The shower was solar heated and we were told it had been cloudy all afternoon so the water might not be very warm. I tested it and the water was perfect! We both really needed there shower after such a hot and sweaty day.

That evening we sat around in the lodge. We read and ate and asked the lodge owner about the Khopra Danda. He knew about it by wasn’t sure about the paths. He said about the path from Tatopani, the one I planned on taking, but said he didn’t think there were any lodges between Tatopani and Khopra Danda. A better idea would be to continue up the path towards Ghorepani and ask in the villages there. We went to bed with a plan and slept well.

That night we were woken a couple of times by a massive thunderstorm and a torrential downpour. This was a huge storm and all we could hear was the rain pounding on the ground.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *