Our seven-day trek in the Himalayas was almost upon us!
We had both wanted to trek in the Himalayas for some twenty years and Alf first got interested in the idea when he visited Kathmandu in his twenties. We had chosen the Annapurna Panorama Trek (otherwise known as Annapurna Ghonapani Poon Hill Trek – open this link for some amazing photos to set the scene). We had been very fussy in our choice of trek, wanting to avoid high altitude above 3,500 meters and choosing tea houses or guest houses for overnight accommodation, rather than camping. Our group was restricted to just ourselves, plus guide and Sherpa (porter). We had carefully researched the Annapurna Panorama Trek – it was described as the most beautiful and unlike the other ten or fourteen day Annapurna treks which reached higher altitudes. We had particularly focused on timing, when the Rhododendron trees were in full bloom. The Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal and the mountains of Annapurna region are only in flower for two weeks each year.
Anyway, we left Kathmandu early to travel by car to Pokhara (910m). Our itinerary gave us an estimated six hours for the trip. Our guide and driver picked us up at our comfortable hotel in Kathmandu. We had two large plastic duffle bags, one for our clothes and the second contained sleeping bags for additional warmth, down jackets plus hiking poles. We also had our own rucksacks that were essentially for day use. Ten minutes after our departure, we stopped and picked up our sherpa – Eventually, we left crowded Kathmandu and started the long, however picturesque drive, climbing steeply into the hills. The deeply terraced hillsides were spectacular. It was interesting to watch the rural people & various cultures along the road. Not to far out of Kathmandu, we stopped behind a long queue of traffic. We all got out to investigate. It was road works and after the heavy rain the previous days, it was chaos. Suffice to say that we were parked up for three hours plus, so we eventually arrived at Pokhara, the gateway to hiking, at 6 PM, after a nine-hour journey. We checked into a comfortable hotel, then rushed out to buy some essential gear for our trek. This was followed with an excellent pizza and a glass of wine!
We shall release news of our trek when we have internet access so watch this space!