4000 steps to Heaven’s View

Nepal Trip Day 3, Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 1

We slept very well that night, well we did, Jenny got woken up by a bunch of noisy tourists who were leaving early in the morning.  HAHHAHA.. That’s two nights in a row now. After breakfast, we took a 90 min drive to Nayapul.. and then we started our trek for real (or so we thought).  DSC02112DSC02111

It turns out, the first bit of the trek was to Birethanti which is not considered part of the trek. And there we were thinking, this isn’t too bad.  HAHAH.  Little did we know, the trek only begins at Birethanti after you’ve checked in with the tourism office.  DSC02124DSC02113

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The real beginning bit of our trek looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings set.  It felt like we were walking in the shire in Middle Earth.  I couldn’t help humming the shire theme as we walked here.  DSC02146DSC02159

Unfortunately Jenny’s shoe fell apart while we were walking and we had to wait for our porters to catch up to grab our repair kit out of the bags they were carrying. Au Chew Travel Tip: Always bring a shoe repair kit with things like super glue and duct tape on these trips.

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Then it was time for lunch.  Jet had mixed fried noodles, I had mixed fried rice Jenny has chicken fried rice and the boys had dhal bat..They were telling us that they eat dhal bat for every meal (excluding breakfast) and we couldn’t figure out how they didn’t get bored eating the same thing over and over again.  We would soon come to understand this.

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This is quite amazing, the place we had lunch had a school nearby, but the houses were nowhere in sight.  Lama explained that the kids had to walk up and down the trails that we’ve been walking to get to school and back home, EVERY DAY.  We were gobsmacked.

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Lama told us at our nightly after dinner briefing that we’d face 4000 steps on this trail and after lunch we soon found out he wasn’t kidding.. It was steps after steps after steps! and very steep too! I had to stop so many times, it was embarrassing and when we got overtaken by some local old ladies, I just wanted to crawl into the ground and stay there.

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About mid way up the stairs, the mules / donkeys we had seen earlier had caught up with us.  Lama had warned us earlier that if we were to see donkeys / mules / horses etc, always hug the wall or at least walk on the inner side of the trail.  People have been pushed off by them and it’s a long way down.  The good thing about donkeys / mules / horses is there you’ll always hear them coming cause the owners always put bells on them.  The bad thing is, it’s really noisy when you’ve got a herd of them near you!! DSC02222

So with this herd of mules, we decided to try to stay in front of them, and that worked for a while but soon, they started walking with us which wasn’t great cause the path is quite narrow.  We decided to let them pass first, but we soon realise walking behind them wasn’t a good idea either.  The mules will find any opportunity to stop and eat.  Walking behind them means we have to wait for them to graze or their herder to hurry them along.  And because they keep eating.. well, what goes in, must come out.  YEAH.  THE SMELL OF FRESH MULE POOP IS NOT SOMETHING I’D EVER NEED TO SMELL AGAIN. OMG.  Not to mention we now had to watch every step so we didn’t walk onto it.

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Lama explained that as it was already the tail end of the climbing season, quite a number of the locals that live along the trek had gone back down to the towns etc and would only return when the climbing season reopened.  This explained a number of closed hospital / medical center and guest houses along the way.  One of the strange sights we saw along the way was a closed church with the words Merry Xmas on the window.

Somewhere around this point of this climb I was so hungry that I could not go on.  We were told we were going to reach the guest house soon (like 10 mins) but I was so exhausted that I was like no just give me food now.  Jet took out my snack pack which contained my trusted Jacob’s crackers and Toblerone chocolate.   Once I had some food in me, I felt revived and got my second wind.    Au Chew Travel Tip: Always have your snack pack with you and eat when you’re hungry!   DSC02234

When we got to this 10 min away guest house (located in Uleri), we were told they didn’t have any space!! I was so glad I had my chocolate earlier.  We were also quite thankful not to have stayed there as it was full of noisy tourists with kids.

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30 mins later, we finally reached our lodge (located in Banthanti) and saw some crazy people playing volley ball.  Strangely the first thing we heard was a Singaporean accent in the midst of all yelling.. Loo and behold we meet a Singaporean couple staying there.  We also met a Japanese girl travelling alone and a motley crew of Ang mohs from various parts of Europe.  I love the name of our lodge Heaven View Guest house! I think it’s quite apt.

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As Lama put it, we deserved a hot shower after that crazy hike. He also managed to get us rooms with attached toilets (not showers) with is a real bonus on these treks. As it was quite late, the clouds had already descended so there wasn’t much of a view.  But the rooms were really nice.DSC02245 DSC02247DSC02248DSC02249

After a nice hot steaming shower, it was time for dinner, Jet and I had dhal bat with chicken.  Jenny had dhal bat with vege and we ordered a portion of sukuthi to share. While waiting for the food we snuck into the kitchen to see them prepare and they allowed us to take a photo.

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The Ang Mohs sat next to us during dinner and we found out they were trekking without a guide and all 4 of them had different trip lengths.  The Ang Mohs then tried to play citadel.  Well one of them tried to teach the other 3 how to play and took so long to explain it that I think they eventually gave up.  They asked if we wanted to play as well but after listening to the instructions the first time, we decided not to.

Then Lama came over to give us our nightly briefing for the next day’s trek, we realised we had climbed about 1000m vertically today.  We started at Birenthanti which is approx 1100m above sea level and heaven view which is at Banthanti is approx 2200m above sea level.  During our briefing, you could see the Ang Mohs perk up and one of them started asking Lama a bunch of questions. It was around this time I think they gave up playing Citadel and we decided it was time for bed!

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