AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Annapurna Circuit: Day 2 – Bahundanda to Chamje

Altitude: 1,370m
Climb: 140m
Time: 4hr 50m + 1hr 30m breaks
Daily Cost: 3,320 rupees ($34/£20)

We set off that morning with our new friend Marco. The day before he’d kept up with our pace but said it was a little fast (he was carrying his own bag whilst we only had our day bags), so we decided it would be a good idea to try and pace ourselves at a slower walking speed. That meant we might notice more of our surroundings, allow Harry our porter to keep up with us and also talk with Marco. Plus, the path and towns were almost deserted, so there wasn’t the rush to get a lodge, unlike on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek.

The path started on the high ridge and quickly dropped down to a mainly flat path high above the river valley. The valley was lined with terraces. The road was now on the other side of the river and nothing more than a mark on the landscape.

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Because we were still at a low altitude it was hot and we stopped for some tea. Where we stopped was rather basic, but for a tea and toilet break the standard doesn’t have to be very high. The lodges we had encountered so far all looked very basic and were all deserted. We hoped that the standard of the lodges was going to rise soon, presumably when we reached the part of the trek where most trekkers seemed to start from.

As we left the village there was a man and woman and a group of children with them. He stopped me for a chat. He was drunk and slurred his words lots, making him even more difficult to understand. When he found out we were British he wanted to know where in the UK we were from. This happens lots in Nepal, even though the people have only heard of the cities which have famous football teams. Some people know lots about football and have therefore heard of Leeds, most only know Manchester or Liverpool or London. So we usually say near Manchester, they almost always respond with, “yes, Manchester United, I know Manchester”. But this guy had a brother in the Gurkhas and he lived in Bristol. Lots of people in these remote villages have brothers or uncles or grandfathers in the Gurkhas who are now living in the UK. And every person I ask say they will never travel to the UK to visit. Obviously, these Nepalese villagers could never afford that trip, but I assumed the family in the UK would have had some spare money for family to come over. I guess not. Rather sad when I think about our trip and our lives and how lucky we are to travel so far and for so long and not have to worry about mundane parts of life. But we couldn’t talk for long; the kids were beating him with sticks and shouting at him. The woman was his wife but he said the kids weren’t his. I have no idea where they were going or why he had so many kids with him, all running around and beating him. He showed me which building was the village school and which was the village hospital, both big, new buildings. We said goodbye and continued walking up the valley.

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We crossed a suspension bridge and walked onto the road. This was Jagat a fairly large village where we planned to stop for lunch. As we walked through the village, almost every building, on both sides of the road was a lodge. And every lodge was deserted. There were almost no people in sight, and the only people who were in sight was shopkeepers or lodge owners. We found a lodge which had some backpacks outside, a sign that trekkers were there, so we went in.

The afternoon was spent walking on the road. This was maybe 2 hours or so on the road in total. Walking on the road wasn’t too bad. The views along the valley were still quite nice and a Jeep would pass maybe once every 20 minutes. But the Jeeps did throw up a lot of dust into the air, which was not a pleasant experience. The road had a reasonable gradient on it and we quickly climbed high above the river.

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Our destination was Chamje and we expected to get there around 3pm. Just before the village was a sign containing a basic map of the village with most of the lodges listed on it. The Lonely Planet had recommended a lodge opposite a waterfall so we were going there first to check it out. This meant coming off the road and heading up a very steep path up the side of the hill. As we started climbing this path the sky changed colour into an orange glow. Thick clouds had built up and the air suddenly became much more humid. Getting to the lodge became more of a priority now; around the Annapurna range it often rains, in the afternoon around 3pm (we had 6 days in a row of rain on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek). The orange light made the plants a vivid green and everything was lit up in the strange light.

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Me on the path to Chamje

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Thick Clouds above Chamje

We got a room in the lodge and had a pot of tea between the three of us. Then we went for a wander to see the rest of the village as this lodge was about 5 minutes out of the main village. Yet again, the village showed almost no signs of life. One lodge had a couple of trekkers in and that was it. We wandered back and found the British couple from the day before had just got here. After getting off the bus in Bhulbule they’d walked to Ngadi Bazaar and slept there, meaning they’d had an hour or so further to walk than us. That was good because we’d done it about 2 hours faster than them.

We took some photos of the waterfall opposite the lodge, ate and went to bed for another early night.

Day 1PhotosDay 3

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