There’s something about doing a long trek in the mountains, away from modern civilization, doing nothing but walking, eating and sleeping for days on end that relaxes you in a way that nothing else can. A ‘shower’, consisting of a bucket of hot water in an outdoor cubicle, as the evening draws in and the air rapidly cools feels like a wonderful treat after a day of hard physical exercise. The mornings so tranquil, the views so consistently spectacular.
The Himalaya are both formidable and beautiful. To climb to the height we did and then gaze up at the mountains that reached high into the heavens was staggering. We walked for days and days up steep rocky paths, through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and through the loveliest mountain villages, full of some of the most beautiful people in the world. When we finally reached the outermost point of our trek and looked up at the mighty Himalayan peaks, it was a truly humbling experience.
We decided on the Annapurna base camp trek because it was long enough to get us right up amongst some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in Nepal, but not as long as the entire Annapurna circuit which takes around 3 weeks to complete.
We observed the contrast between the lush green valleys and forests with idyllic streams and rickety bridges, and the huge rugged snow capped mountains above us, as we undulated and wound our way through the varied landscape. We sometimes sang Nepalese songs with our guide to amuse ourselves as we walked, other times we were quiet and alone with our thoughts.
A natural rhythm brought peace and harmony to our days. We woke early to watch the sunrise, then set off for several hours of steady climbing to our first stop for a welcome rest. We would usually arrive at around sunset at our accommodation for the night, which were lodges with very basic facilities. We exchanged travel tales with our companions, ate mainly rice and dal, played cards and got very early nights in preparation for the early morning starts.
For me the best part was forgetting where I was. Wrapped up in many layers and a winter sleeping bag for the chilly nights, it would be difficult to drag myself out of bed when it was barely light outside. I had this feeling every morning, and without fail, every morning, I would be overcome with happiness when I stepped out of the door. To be greeted by the fresh mountain air and the sun rising from behind the magnificent peaks was the perfect way to start the day. Not a trace of sleepiness remained.
The October skies were clear, so the cool mornings became blazingly hot days, the sun beating down on us as we walked. We cooled ourselves down by dipping our feet and hands in the icy streams that flowed down from the mountains.
By the time we started our descent back towards civilization we were ready to continue with our journey. After 10 long days of non stop trekking our feet needed rest, our stomachs craved the variety of the delights available in the restaurants in Pokhara, and we longed for contact with the rest of the world again. We would recharge with some much appreciated home comforts, before setting off for more Nepali adventures.
There was no end to the active outdoor delights available in this beautiful country, and next on our agenda we would be taking advantage of the modern high adrenaline side of the adventure scene… in the form of a 160 metre bungee jump! Sublime in a completely different way from the tranquil stillness of our immersion in this magical mountainscape.