This was supposed to be our easy day, or at least easier, where we could cover more ground. Although it turned out to be one of the prettier stretches of the trek it was also one of the hardest due to the length. That said, with this cough hanging on my judgment is most likely compromised.
After a hearty breakfast of banana pancakes and fried eggs (my appetite completely restored) we head down to the river just as the sun starts to light the terraced fields across the valley.
The first river crossing of the day is the most dramatic with an amazing show of power just under our feet as the water plunges through the worn boulders directly under the bridge.
One across, the trail climbs back up to the terraced fields before leveling off a bit and continuing to follow the river down through the jungle. Behind us Annapurna South looms above at the head of the valley.
The second river crossing is over a long suspension bridge from which we have more spectacular views up the valley.
This is the lowest point of the day’s trek. On the other side, the shady side of the valley, the jungle is more lush with springs running across the trail. The trail starts to climb and becomes quite steep as we approach Landruk. The steep stairs are rough on my weakened lungs; we stop here for a well needed break.
After Landruk the trail continues to climb steeply with great views of Annapurna South and the terraced fields against a jungle backdrop. This section of the valley is prettier with fewer trekkers than the trail we took in via Ghorepani .
Up more stairs to Tolka for a lunch break at Namaste Hotel and Restaurant. Loved the tuna momos which are stuffed with tuna and cheese and look like Chinese dumplings.
Laxmi tells us we still have 2.5 hours to Pothana – “a little up” for an hour and then down for another 45 minutes. A long steep slog through lush jungle. What few trekkers we encounter are all independent travelers looking first-day fresh. One Japanese couple has a map out and is very grateful when Don reassures them that they are on the right trail to Tolka.
Finally we reach the top of the ridge at Deurali with views of the Annapurna range from a different direction and views down to Pokhara. In the late afternoon the hazy sky doesn’t afford the best views or photos.
Past Deurali the trail disappointedly climbs a bit before descending down through the jungle along a stone path to Pothana.
The See You Lodge is run by a former employee of 3 Sisters Trekking Adventures, as such 3 Sisters’ tours often pass through here. Rooms are the standard cell with the added touch of a tarp stapled to the ceiling. The food is pretty good- nicely cooked fresh veggies and a well-seasoned chicken curry with big chunks of chicken breast meat.
Tonight they’re hosting a large group of older German women. With them is a pack of Nepali assistant guides huddled by the wood stove, lightly beating a drum as they chat. Don is the only male at the lodge, quite a change from the male dominated lodges where nearly all the staff and the least half of the trekkers are men.
November 6, 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.