Update from Luke on the Nepal and Tibet Program
Hello, my name is Luke Sena and this blog post will be a review of the first half of our trek through the Annapurna Mountain Range. The Annapurna Circuit covers roughly 131 miles and we are trekking it over a span of 17 days. Each night we stay in a tea house. The tea houses are cute little hotels that have meals and rooms set up for trekkers, the meals are amazing and the rooms are cozy.
Our first day was an easier day, we hiked until lunchtime and then stopped at our hotel for the night for lunch. Our tea house was right next to the Maryasangdi River which flows from the mountains down into the valley. We tried visiting a waterfall after lunch but it was too dangerous and slippery.
Our second day we had a longer day hiking about 6-7 miles. We arrived at the hotel at about 2, right in time for our 2:30 tea time. My favorite thing about the tea houses has been the “tea time”. Tea time is when the tea houses give us a couple thermoses of hot tea (mostly masala tea) from 2:30-3:30ish. Afterwards some of us took surprisingly hot showers and played some card games. Devin and Caleb also taught a few of us a board game called Othello.
That night Olivia and Ana gave Zach and I a haircut. Zach got a good haircut, whereas I got a haircut that I won’t (but wish I could) forget about. After messing up the girls with help from Owen decided to make my scalp into the Annapurna Circuit with a bald spot on the top of my head as the sun!
Our 3rd day we travelled to Chame. It was an easy day and we arrived at our tea house by lunch. After lunch a few people went to the hot springs and some people hung out back at the tea house.
Our 4th day was our hardest yet as we had about half a kilometer of elevation over the span of about 9 miles. We got to our tea house in Upper Pisang at around 2ish. We all admired the straight view of the Annapurna II we had from our rooms as some of us played cards, played Othello, went for walks, and read books.
The next day I left the group after spraining my ankle 2 days before. Devin, our porter Ngima, and I left the group in the morning and headed to Manang to see the doctor and rest for a few days by Jeep.
The group had a tough day as they climbed another 500 meters of elevation over 4-5 miles.
That night Ngima taught Devin and I how to play a Nepali game called Kiti. It is similar to poker except much quicker and there is no skill involved, only luck. We played that for a couple hours and eventually had a bit of an audience watching and cheering us on.
The group arrived right after lunch time on the 6th day and everyone was happy to rest and hang out in Manang. At 4:30 the majority of us payed 300 Rupees (about $2.50) to watch 7 Years in Tibet in a little movie theater with yak fur covered seats, a cup of tea, and a little baggy of popcorn.
The 7th day was a rest day and only involved a day hike in the morning to get accustomed to the drastic elevation increase we would be having over the next few days. We hung out in Manang for the day and everyone relaxed and attempted to get on the WiFi. After lunch we went to watch Into The Wild at the same mini theater.
The next day we hiked from Manang to Yak Kharka, trekking about 6 miles with a steady increase or as Dawa; one of our guides likes to say, “Nepali flat”. The views kept on getting better as we went up and everyone had their cameras and phones out to take lots of pictures during the trek.
We got to Yak Kharka (4000 meters) by lunch and everyone hung out and bundled up because of the cold weather.
The past week of trekking has been one of the best weeks of my life. Everyone is so friendly on the trails and one of my favorite things to do is meet new people and exchange stories and experiences with them. The views are incredible and only get better from here. The first week of trekking despite some minor setbacks were amazing and we are all having a great time.
Listed below are some Do’s and Dont’s of the Annapurna Circuit: DO’s DONT’s Look at the beautiful mountains and spend time with friends (1) Get the mountains cut on your head from your friends (2) Keep your eyes on the trail and be a safe hiker (3) Sprain your ankle in the middle of nowhere and visit a very sketchy doctor’s office (4) Drink lots of tea and eat lots of dal baht (5) Bet money on games of Othello (6)