AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Annapurna Circuit: Day 5 – Chame to Upper Pisang

Altitude: 2,710m
Climb: 600m
Time: 4hr
Daily Cost: 3,800 rupees ($39/£23)

We left Chame on the road via the Kani, spinning the prayer wheels as we past for good luck. This time they seemed to work as we had perfect weather and great views all day.

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The road took us through a nice forest for an hour or so. We had great views of mountains around us and the river below us was crystal clear. The scenery had changed and was now looking great. We really enjoyed walking this section.

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We came to a section where the road seemed to have been blasted out of the rock face. To the left was a sheer drop down to the river far below us, but more terrifyingly was the sheer cliff face on the right which rose far far above our heads. The cliff face wasn’t exactly solid and was crumbling in places, so falling rocks were a serious hazard here. We walked through at a good pace, constantly watching above our heads for any rocks coming our way.

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After crossing a bridge and climbing a short but steep slope we could see the impressive sight of Paungda Danda. This is a huge curved slab of rock rising more than 1,500m above the river. The locals call it the Gateway to Heaven and believe the spirits of the dead must climb this wall after leaving their bodies.

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We continued walking through the forest, enjoying the views of the mountains which were now much clearer and the forest that was so green. It reminded us of our trip to Scotland, well aside from the 5 and 6 thousand metre peaks surrounding us. At this point, we had crossed the 3,000m threshold and suddenly everything looks a little better. The air feels fresher, the mountains are clearer as the haze finally disappears and the forest scents can be clearly smelt. We finally reached the settlement of Dhukur Pokhari and considered stopping here for a late tea break or maybe even an early lunch. But Annemarie convinced us that Pisang wasn’t too much further do we might as well continue to there and have lunch plus we felt really good and not at all tired.

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We followed the trail out of the group of lodges and the trees started to thin out. After a passing near a lake we crossed a rickety looking bridge and slowly climbed around the hillside towards Upper Pisang. Here the ground was dry and dusty and the trees had thinned out and were much smaller. The view down into the valley was getting better all the time.

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We rounded one last corner and saw Upper Pisang above us. We looked around and saw a lodge right at the top of the village. We decided that we must eat lunch there. It’s called the Himalaya Hotel. It was a tough walk to reach the lodge due to the wind and the steep slope up but when we finally reached it the views were great. The two Canadians who we’d met in Danaque two days ago were here too. As we sat down to order we realised the lodge looked pretty good, far better than we had been expecting. Annemarie and Marco went for a look at the rooms and decided we should stay there the night. It had a nice cosy dining room with an amazing view down to Lower Pisang (where the road is and also where most trekkers seem to stay) and to the Annapurna range opposite. The Lonely Planet describes Upper Pisang as being basic, well it was not really any more basic than most of the lodges we’d already stayed in, but the views and the location were superb and made up for any possible shortcomings.

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After lunch we went for a walk up to the Gompa (temple) at the top of the village – only a minute or so walk from our lodge. The decoration inside the Gompa was great. A notice stated that all villagers had to either donate money or about a month of their time to the temple. This was because the Old Temple had been destroyed and this was the replacement.

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After the temple we decided to climb higher up the hillside. We found the ruined fort and sat down to just enjoy the views. The sun was warm and the site was clear. This was almost a perfect day and we just sat there and gazed around at the beautiful view.

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The evening again consisted of reading again then another early night, but we are still the last ones up at 8pm!

Day 4PhotosDay 6

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