Started the day with a bad night requiring multiple crossings of the lodge courtyard to the shared squat toilets. Just what you dread when you have 10 days of hiking in front of you.
After breakfast, of which I ate next to nothing, we start the long climb to Ulleri. I thought I was going to pass out or throw up. Even under normal circumstances it’s a challenging ascent up a steep stone staircase. Views of the terraced rice fields we love ease the pain.
Near the top we stop to play on one of the bamboo swings they have set up for Dashain (the Nepalese version of the Dussehra festival we witnessed in Varanasi). I don’t think the little kids were too happy that the bigger kids were taking over their swing but it was fun even with an upset stomach.
We have another hour of steep climbs and stone staircases before we reach the lunch break in Banthanti, but past Ulleri the uphill sections are intermixed with level and downhill stretches.
Banthanti is packed with trekkers crowded into the sunny spots of the terrace. The queue for food is backed up and unfortunately we’re behind a group of 15 young Germans, meaning an hour wait to get our food. The Germans and their guides keep the terrace entertained with demonstrations of their physical strength, challenging each other to various absurd exercises. Boys will be boys not matter what the culture.
For an upset stomach Laxmi recommends garlic soup and mint tea. I’m not sure how well they calmed my stomach but they were both tasty. The soup, a simple broth with plenty of sautéed garlic; and the tea brewed from fresh mint leaves. I put enough sugar in the tea and rice in the soup to gain a bit of strength for the afternoon hike.
Banthanti is the halfway point to Ghorepani. Past here the trail ducks into the forest and flattens out a bit with fewer uphill sections. Laxmi calls this “Nepali flat”. It’s a pleasant walk through the trees with fewer developed areas, much cooler that before, passing the occasional water fall or pool of water.
Arriving at upper Ghorepani after hours in the forest we are totally blown away by the view. The town is built up on a ridge that takes advantage of the views of the Annapurna range. Many lodges here have this view, including some bedrooms and the dining room at the Sunny Hotel, one of the larger guest houses.
The Sunny Hotel has a more extensive menu of well-prepared plates. Don’s tandoori chicken with nan was well done and cooked to order.
Shared bathroom facilities actually have flush toilets. The communal sinks are in the open and have only cold water. The room is cell-like but with an amazing peak views.
October 29, 2012
For links to all the posts related to the trek see the Annapurna Base Camp page.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Nepal page.