Having previously undertaken several expeditions and treks in the Himalayas, we headed west to explore the Annapurna Dhaulagiri region, away from the maddening crowds.
Most days, we were rewarded with stunning views of the Annapurna mountain range. Along with Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) plus ‘in your face’ views of Dhaulagiri – the 7th highest mountain in the world at 8167m/26,794ft.
We were accompanied by a group of wonderful guides, porters and fellow trekkers (one of which was a Scot – just don’t mention the rugby!).
I also had the pleasure of having ‘happy birthday’ sung to me in French (a first I must say), accompanied by a delicious birthday cake which was made from scratch in the kitchen of our lodge at 3,600m. Merveilleux!
One of the experiences of trekking in the Himalayas, aside from some of the best mountain views in the world, is that you never know what to expect – from snow and ice one day, to sunshine the next, rhododendrons (by the thousands) plus a very cute dog which accompanied us for six days straight.
Another great highlight of this trek was forging our own way around villages and up and across ridges using old yak herder trails. That way, we avoided the main Annapurna Circuit Trail, which from what we saw was very busy, especially those sections which are now dirt roads carrying traffic. I guess that’s what happens with infrastructure and so called progress arrives in these places – along with hydro power to provide electricity. But I don’t hear the locals complaining, and I guess why should they.
Capping off our adventure, was being able to soak up sunrise at a private camp with views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain range – views that rival those from Poon Hill, without the crowds and a 4.30am start.
As one of our guides reminded me – the mountains are there, but they will always be there in your heart too. So true.
Onwards and upwards!
- Nepali Flats – don’t be fooled by this expression! Be prepared to often ascend 400m, then descend 1,000m.
- Most treks to this region start with a morning flight to Pokhara – around an hours flight from Kathmandu.
- Compared to the Everest region, the Annapurna region is greener, humid and not as dry or cold especially at lower altitude.
- If you are planning to visit Nepal, plan to go during the main climbing seasons of April/May – you never know what famous mountain climbers you’ll bump into wandering around Thamel.