Wet n Wild Bardia
Risk Reduction and Preparedness in Nepal
are heard History is seen
I decided to make the trip to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC); some 24 years after my father visited the place. I had heard many exciting things from him and others over the course of time but I could make it realize only a couple of weeks before.
We were four. The journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara was mundane and didn’t bring anything special with it. The weather in Pokhara was horrible; it’d been raining for 2 days and our chances of making this trip was very low. But, fortunately the weather cleared out the very next day and we hurriedly proceeded to book the bus to Phedi. Our plan was to make the trip via Dhampus.
We were all tired on the very first day of our trekking, to make our way to Dhampus. We had a lovely rest there. The next stop was Pothana and after a quick break we headed towards Tolkha, our last destination for the day. Back at Pothana, we were advised to take the jeep route, to avoid dizzying trekking route. We did the same but the trail was still horrifying. The heavy rain just a few days before had caused many land slides and at time we had to walk on the narrow edges of the trail. After 1 and half hour of walking along such horrible trail we finally caught site of a human settlement perched on top of the hill and the view was spectacular: cradled in clouds, we were tempted to stay but we had the target to reach to Tolkha.
One of the problems we had was lack of trustworthy information regarding the time that takes from one place to another: people on the way were giving varied and unbelievable estimation and we had a problem to trust on any. We moved on anyway. The trail by then was downhill and it was beautiful to look around: we caught our first glimpse of Annapurna and were mesmerized by the view.
It was already 6:30 and Tolkha was nowhere in sight. After some walk we caught a sight of a settlement. It was not Tolkha as we had assumed but Bherikharka. We changed the plan and we had shelter there. The people of the hotel we stayed in were very friendly and kind. By 8:30 we were fast asleep.
Next morning we consumed the beautiful sceneries around that we were deprived of the previous night. We resumed the trek along the jeep trail. We got to Landruk by noon. We had lunch there, a very windy lunch.
Our target for the day was to make to Chhomrong. The trail after Landruk was mostly muddy and affected by landslides but it was great: it crisscrossed farms and jungles and we had a journey along a river to our left. On the way we were surprised to see a unique waterfall: it was quite unexpected and was hidden. Then, there were many other waterfalls on the way accompanied by terrains, hills, villages and farms.
We had to go across a very long suspended bridge: rocking and scary. The road to new bridge was very difficult: we had to climb a steep stairway. The trail past the bridge went through farms and hillsides and was very pleasing. After walking down and getting across another river we again had to climb up the hill to Jhinu. It was another spectacular place, perched atop a hill. The view from Jhinudanda was mesmerizing. We stayed that day in a resort there.
The next day was the most difficult part of our trip. We had to make long way with ups and downs through Chhomrong and Sinuwa. Up in Sinuwa, it was a sheer relief and the trail to Bamboo was much easier.
Bamboo (2335 m) is situated on the bottom of a hill and it was already 7 p.m. by the time we reached there. We were very tired but the rooms in the hotel were all occupied. Although there were no rooms left they provided us the dining hall to sleep in. Bamboo is one of the best places to stay night in.
After the sweet stay in Bamboo, it is easier to reach Dovan. The way ahead to Deurali (3100 m) was difficult but the foggy slopes, waterfalls, streams and enormous rocks makes one engaged and purges the difficulty. We stayed that night at Deurali. If you have sky phone, you can make a call home from there.
The best part of the trail starts after Deurali. You go along the river through the valley which is flanked by snow covered mountains on one side and towering cliffs on the other. The valley is undoubtedly very beautiful. Its beauty captivates anyone and makes one stop to appreciate. The rest of the trail is also mesmerizing. Though MBC itself does not look grand, the road after that is again captivating. Nestled right below MBC is a beautiful valley and the view of the valley is another sight to die for.
We were very lucky to have an enormous amount of powdery snow. The snow and the way it transformed the surrounding justified every penny we spent for the trip. The trail to ABC at that time was covered with snow, not very deep but enough to make you slip. You can see the majestic Machapuchhre to your right and another mountain shinning with snow to the left. And right ahead is majestic Annapurna, towering over the entire valley.