On the other hand, we were sick of the overcrowding in October and November in Nepal (and many associated negatives) and hoped that the rainshadow effect would shelter us from monsoon rains in the upper Marsyandi/Kali Gandaki (i. e,., upper Annapurna Circuit or "AC" and the Nar-Phu valleys.
During our first few days of the trek, our worst fears about trekking during the monsoon were realized: we started out in torrential rain, got soaked and stayed soaked for a couple days. We used our umbrellas but sweated so much in the heat we were still soaked. We really wondered if we had made a significant error. In Ghermu (after night two of rain), we waited until 1:30 in the afternoon until the rain abated to start off for Chamje.
This was our first time to these valleys. Officially a "restricted area", Nar-Phu requires a special permit and, importantly, must be organized through a recognized trekking agency. That means a guide. As it turns out, camping was required for 3 of the 6 nights so a guide and porters were needed. We were happy to hire our friend Dorjee (Letsgonepalnow trekking agency), who we've known since meeting him on the AC in 2002 and who has done two other treks with us (Jiri-to-Tumlingtar in 2008; Jiri-to-Pheriiche in 2011).
|Arriving at Kang La Phedi camp|
|Annapurna II, from Kang La (yes, that is a steep down!)|
|Above High Camp on way to Thorung La (an empty trail!)|
|The obligatory "Thorung La" photo (our 4th time... Perhaps our last?)|
Next day, we started a long, scary and exceptionally tiring bus and jeep ride to Beni (10 hours, 1 bus and 3 jeeps) then taxi Beni to Pokhara. Jomsom to Beni had so many places where the jeep easily could have gone off the washed out crumbling road and tumbled hundreds of metres to the raging Kali Kandaki river below. No carnival ride could ever match those gut-wrenching scary moments. And it was all very uncomfortable. Next time - - if there is a next time - - we fly from Jomsom (and we do NOT like flying within Nepal)!
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HIRING A TREKKING GUIDE:
Ngima Dorjee Lama @ "Lets Go Nepal Himalaya Adventure": http://www.letsgonepalnow.com/new/
Dorjee's email is: email@example.com