Friday, 18 November 2016

Back home in Whistler, BC: Snow on the mountains!

We are now back home in Whistler.

While away in Nepal, a warming trend melted much of the snow on the mountains. However, it has been (and is currently) snowing, and we fully expect to be skiing next week!

We have updated our preceding blog post (with photos) concerning our Poon Hill/Annapurna Base Camp treks, and have posted all our Poon Hill/ABR trek photos on an album on our FLICKR account: 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Ghorepani-Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp treks finished

Annapurna Basecamp panorama (Annapurna far left; Macchupucare far right)

Poon Hill panorama (Mt. Dhaulagiri far left)

We are now relaxing in Pokhara after completing our 13-day/12-night trek to Poon Hill,  followed by the trek up to Annapurna Base Camp ("ABC").

We have published our photos on an album on our FLICKR page:

It is high season for trekking in Nepal (October &  November) and the trails are very busy.  We had no issues with finding space in lodges on the Poon Hill portion of the trek,  but the ABC portion above Chomrong posed problems for us (due to ACAP restrictions on the number and size of lodges).  We expected this; still,  it added tension to the trip.

Michelle with backpack:at the start at Nayapul
David with backpack: Up the stairs to Ulleri


We carried our own packs and needed no guide -- the trails are very clear and we've done much of this trek previously 1-3 times.  Our trek went well and we are pleased that, at over 60 years of age, we can still trek carrying our own packs.  Nevertheless, we found this trek to be a lot of work:  thousands of stairs up and down,  and on the ABC portion,  the trails were often very rough and rocky.

View from Chomrong: trail goes down to river then up to Sinuwa (far right)

Looking back to Chomrong from lower Sinuwa (so many stairs...)

The views at ABC,  especially of Annapurna (which is very difficult to see on other treks),  were stunning (see photos).  Views of the whole Annapurna Himal from view points near Ghorepani (Poon Hill, and especially "Gurung Hill" on trail between Ghorepani and Deuralii/Tadapani) were also beautiful.

At the memorials to climbers' killed on Mt. Annapurna (Annapurna in the background)

ABC panorama; Mt Annapurna centre-left

View from ABC down towards MBC (Mt. Macchupucare far right)
However,  compared to our many other treks,  the ABC trek just doesn't match up.  A ton of work for,  essentially,  a couple hours of a stunning view. Above Chomrong (i. e.,  the whole ABC portion),  there are no villages and no culture.  (In contrast,  the Annapurna Circuit has days and days of remarkable views, villages with diverse cultures and great trails - - with comparatively few stairs.)

We've now done the ABC.  Once is enough.

And we're now in great shape for skiing!

Some trek details (for those interested):

Trek route (with stops at night indicated)
Duration of trek: 12 nights/12.25 days

Start: Nayapul
Night 1: Tirkedunga (Chandra Lodge)
Night 2: Banthanti (Four Seasons Hotel; best lodge on trek)
Night 3: Ghorepani (Snow View Lodge; good lodge; all rooms with toilet/shower cost only 400 NR)
Night 4: Tadapani (Tadapani Guest House; good rooms but smoky dining room)
Night 5: Chomrong (International Guest House; not the best food)
Night 6: Bamboo (Buddha Guest House; good room; nice folks)
Night 7: Deurali (Shangrila Guest House; so-so rooms and very crowded; good food; helpful)
Nights 8 &9: Machapuchare Base Camp (Gurung Cooperative Guest house; reservation at first not honoured)
Night 10: Bamboo (Buddha Guest House; good room; nice folks)
Night 11: Chomrong (Chomrong Cottage; excellent food and nice folks)
Night 12: Beehive (Beehive View Lodge; good room; quiet and quaint)
End: Siwai

Trekking costs (for 2):
Total cost for 2 (excluding transport, ACAP & TIMS) in Nepal rupees: 35,805
(Note: We did not have drinks such as Coke/Sprite or beers on trek; these would add significantly to costs)
Daily cost average (12.25 days) for the 2 of us: 2923 N rupees/day or C$37.47/day or US$28.38/day

Transport costs:
Pokhara to Nayapul: 2000 rupees (private car)
Siwai to Pokhara: 4000 rupees (taxi)