AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 3,600m Climb: Descent: 890m Time: 6hr 15m + 1hr 45m breaks Daily Cost: 2,840 rupees ($29/£17) We woke at 5:50am to see the sunrise. We quickly got dressed and stepped outside to see the view. It was still a bit hazy but the sunrise over the Dhaulagiri Range looked great. The Khopra Danda ridge was fantastic. Everyone flocks to Poon Hill to see the sunrise over the mountain ranges, but the Khopra Danda was better in so many respects. Poon Hill is only at 3,200m, we were over 10% higher. Poon Hill was also behind us, they had to look over the Khopra Ridge to see the mountains, we were closer. At Poon Hill there’s a 45 minute (well over an hour for the slow people) climb from Ghorepani to reach the summit before sunrise, we simply had to roll out of bed. And best of all, no crowds. There were 5 people on the ridge. When we climbed Poon Hill on a cloudy and pointless day there were a few hundred people up there! We watched the sun rise over the mountains for about an hour, before going in to eat breakfast. After breakfast we set off around the hillside and down the path we had come up on. The morning was clear and the sun was on us. The toilet visits in the middle of the night had left me feeling weaker and tired. Downhill was fine but any uphill was difficult. We walked down to the small lake and then continued straight along the edge of the hillside. The path was wide enough for two feet side by side, nothing more. Off the edge was a long and steep slope down into the forest. We followed the hillside for a couple of hours, mostly flat with the occasional downhill switchbacks. A few streams followed the downhill section and they had dug valleys into the hill, meaning that we would usually go down to the steam, cross, then climb back up the side of the valley. This way the path pretty much maintained the same altitude for most of the morning. We then had a large drop in altitude as we rapidly descended down the hillside. From here we hit a large rhododendron forest. The forest hadn’t flowered yet, but it still looked good. Along the hillside we went, down a bit, up a bit, down a lot more, up a bit. We never seemed to go down very far and every time we went down we gained it again almost immediately. We reached Bayeli at 11:15am. We knew there was another lodge between here and...

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Altitude: 2,200m Climb: Descent: 1,400m Time: 3hr 30m + 1hr 30m breaks Daily Cost: 4,020 rupees ($41/£24) In the morning the sun was shining and it was warm. We set off, back through the school playground and onto the trail. The good news is that the trail is well marked with blue and white markers. This section was all in forest and the shade kept us cool allowing us to walk fast. We soon caught up with a group of Americans, they were the people who had been camping in front of the other lodge. I forgot to ask why they were camping when there were lodges on the route. Why not camp elsewhere, such as Dolpo, where there are no lodges and it’s camping only. They were going to Khopra Danda, although they were staying the night at Chistibang and getting there the next day. Then they were going over to Annapurna Base Camp. They knew the UK well and even knew Ilkley (about 10 miles from where we lived). We left them and continued up. We knew we had 1,400m to climb so we were prepared for plenty of uphill. The only bad bits were when the shade ran out and we had stretches of uphill in the sun. The forest was nice and the path was in pretty good condition. At about 10am we reached a lodge. It was hot, but we didn’t feel like having a drink. We sat in the shade and ate one of our trekker bars (basically a muesli bar) and drank our water. The lodge owner told us Chistibang was a little over an hour away and Khopra Danda was about 4 hours walk in total. That was good news. With that we left the lodge up a very steep path. We continued walking steeply uphill through the forest for about 60 minutes. It was hard work but enjoyable. The area seemed deserted. We knew the French couple we ahead of us and the American campers were behind us, but we felt totally alone. We emerged from the forest to a clearing on the slope with a couple of lodges dug into the hillside. We stopped at the first one, ordered some food and cooled off in the shade. This was Chistibang (labeled as Sistibang on our map for extra confusion). We were now at 3,000m above sea level again. Only 600m further to climb today! The lodge was basic but looked OK. The food took an age to arrive though! We had arrived at 11:15am and planned an early lunch. It was around 12:30pm by the time we left. The...

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