Poon Hill Trek – Day 2

IMG_0229Good morning Himalayas!  The air is crisp and the sun is bright.  It’s a great day for a trek.  Peaking over the horizon is snow capped summit of Annapurna.  I love being in the mountains.

Yesterday’s 3,500 steps between Tikhedhungga and Ulleri are said to be the most difficult part of the trek.  I’m looking forward to an easier day.  My legs are a little sore but everything is feeling good.

We aren’t the only ones on the path today.  There are plenty of tourists (German, Russian, French, Thai, Chinese, Japanese…), many locals including porters with huge packs strapped to their foreheads, and a variety of animals.  Everyone says “Namaste” as we pass and small children smile and wave.  We meet chickens, goats and cows grazing away while donkeys and ponies schelp packs up and down the mountain.  In the distance we spot a family of grey langur monkeys playing in the trees.

The sound of rushing water is never too far away. The paths crosses several creeks,  but there are also fountains, faucets, and even hoses that are just left running.  People use them to wash their dishes or do their laundry outside.  The water looks clear and clean, but I doubt its safe for tourists.

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The trek is strenuous and continues to be all up hill.  As we climb higher the landscape begins to change.  Trees covered in blooming red or pink pedals begin to appear.  It’s flowering season for the rhododendrons.  I’ve never seen a mountain covered in flowers, and it spectacular!  I’m awestruck and for a few brief moments I forget how tired I am.

In late afternoon clouds roll in and the sun disappears.  The cool weather is a relief, but soon the wind picks up and thunder claps in the distance.  We’re not far from our next check-stop, so we pick up speed to try to beat the rain.  We make it to Ghorepani just as it starts to pour.

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We pick our teahouse because of two signs. One says “wifi” and the other declares “hot apple pie today!”.  “Does the wifi work?” I ask half-joking.  “Yes,” our host replies.  “What’s the password?” I say as I get out my phone.  “No electricity right now because of rain,” he tells me.

It’s cold here! Our room has two single beds, one light switch and one electrical outlet.  The floors are concrete and the walls are plywood.  There’s no heating but there are big heavy blankets on the bed.  Our room has an attached toilet and cold-water shower that will go unused.

The hot water showers are downstairs.  The shower stalls are made of concrete block with concrete floors and a square opening for a window.  Basically I am showering in the outdoors and it’s 10ºC.  The propane heater says the water is 25ºC, which is too cold to shower.  I regret even trying.  I barely rinse and then put on all the clothes  I own.

We celebrate our day with a giant piece of hot apple pie.  300 rupees/slice sounds expensive since our room is only 200 rupees, and we enjoy every bite.  Our hosts lights a fire in the metal drum in the middle of the common room.  Once the storm ends, the electricity comes on and the wifi works.  We absorb as much heat as we can before we head to bed in the cold.

I’m wearing leggings, pants, socks, a shirt, fleece jacket, toque and scarf and I’m bundled up in two heavy blankets.  I don’t think I’ve ever slept anywhere this cold.  Good thing I’m so tired.  By morning I have kicked off one blanket and I slept great.

Day 2 Stats

  • trekking time 9:00 am – 3:30 pm (6.5 hours)
  • change in elevation from Ulleri (1960 m) to Ghorepani (3210 m) – 1250 meters
  • breakfast (550 NPR x2)
  • lunch (500 NPR)
  • pie (300 NPR x 2)
  • dinner (890 NPR) and momos (500 NPR)
  • room (200 NPR)

Total 3,790 NPR = $38 USD/two people

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