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Posts Tagged ‘Himalayas’

Thorong La Pass, at 5416m, is the highest point in the Annapurna Circuit, and offers 360° views of the Himalayas.

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The last week of the trek was hiking down 4000m, and the back up to Poon Hill for a spectacular view of the whole Annapurna Range.

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The second week of the Annapurna Circuit brings ice cold nights, steep climbs, and the infamous Himalayas.
We spent a few days in a city called Manang: resting, doing some side hikes, and spoiling ourselves at the only real restaurant/bakery on the trek.

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The paths in and around Manang were lined with with Mary Jane. The goats seemed to like it as much as the locals.

Ice Lake – named as such because of the reflections of the Annapurna mountains on the water – is a 1000m, tough climb from Manang but worth it since barely anyone makes the trek.DSC05082

DSC05065 The next few days were spent making our way to ‘High Base Camp’ to make the final 500m ascent to Thorong La Pass.

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High Camp

After one night at high camp, we headed out early the next morning for the pass.

(The Khalerias have been serious beach bums over the last two weeks – enjoying the sun, surf, and snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan and Gili Trawangan, Indonesia… I’ll hopefully be back to reality and online soon!)

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The Annapurna Circuit is a 230km loop through the Annapurna Range in the Nepalese Himalayas. The hike, taking anywhere from 12-21 days, commences with a 5416m pass and 360° views of the Himalayas. Spanning through rice paddies, deserts, tiny villages, and glaciers, the trek challenges the mind as much as the knees.

On October 7th, 2010, The Khalerias, along with friends Alex Parsons and Josh Phillips, took a 9 hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Besishahar, the starting point for the trek.

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A bridge on the way in. It took us over an hour to cross, as the bridge wasn’t able to handle the weight of more than one car at a time.

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Josh rode rooftop (among 10-12 locals, and all our luggage) for about half the trip – a much more comfortable option compared to the cramped seating.

(Thanks to Parsons for these first few photos)

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The start of the hike was surprising – I was expecting cold, ice, snow, mountains – but instead it was humid, green, lush rice paddies. After about a thousand feet of elevation and two days of hiking, the lushness started to mix with dramatic mountains and cliffs. IMG_0411

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Local kids wait for tourists to get to the river crossing, and quickly set up stones to lead you across. Then they ask for money.

**The only English words we heard a Nepalese child speak through our entire trek were ‘sweets’, ‘candy’, and ‘money’. At some point years ago, trekkers started bringing bags of sweets to hand out to the local kids. While this seems like a good idea at first, in reality it teaches the children to be beggars at a young age. If you head to Nepal, or anywhere in the Himalayas to trek, please respect the idea that children gain nothing from a piece of candy besides the expectation that anyone with a backpack owes them something. If you want to help, the tourism commissions in Nepal ask you to bring school supplies (pencils, notebooks) to hand out instead.**

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Herds

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A porter carrying at least 50kg on his back.

Since you hike from village to village, it is easy enough to carry your own supplies and a porter isn’t necessary. But every Coke that you buy, or Oreo that you eat, has to be carried in since there are no roads connecting the whole circuit. A guide we met told us that some porters carry up to 80kg, more than 125% of their own weight, up to 5000m elevation. They are undoubtedly some of the most amazing people I have ever come across.

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Next up: Part two. About a week into the trek, the weather started to shift from hot/humid to freezing, and the mountains went from dramatic and stark to snow covered…

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The Khalerias are back in Bangkok, and finally out of the internet-black-hole more commonly known as Laos.  Thanks for sticking with me.

More posts on our 3 week trek through the Himalayas coming soon… here’s a peek:

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Many, many more pictures and a few more posts coming before the new year. The Khalerias are spending a few days relaxing in Bangkok with a friend we met in Albania, before heading to Indonesia on Christmas day to meet up with The Parsonian.

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