Archive for the Ghyaru Category

The day of the serpentine climb — onwards to Manang (AC Day 5)

Posted in Annapurna Circuit, from Upper Pisang to Manang, Ghyaru, Ngawal, professional tourist in the making, through the lens on May 18, 2014 by twotwoeight

Day 5 — Destination : Manang, 3500m

Bbrrrr…the night was reeeeeally cold even though we were snuggled up inside our sleeping bags AND with the blanket on top.  Didn’t manage to sleep well – woke up at 12.40am and thereafter only slept periodically.  Finally dawn came, and after suiting ourselves up to beat the cold, we walked up to the monastery at 6am to catch the sun’s rays on the mountain peaks.

sunrise in manang

When we reached the monastery, there were already a couple of other trekkers there (some who had come up from Lower Pisang) and the caretaker of the monastery was just getting ready for the day.  The sun had risen and its reflection off the snow-capped mountain peaks gradually intensified.

Pisang monastery

We were still freezing cold despite the sun being up and even the caretaker’s dog was curled up into a furry ball to keep himself warm!  We took some snapshots with our freezing fingers and were beaming with happiness when the caretaker came and offered us a cup of hot lemon!

Sunrise at monastery

We wanted to take a selfie with the gorgeous backdrop and while we were laughing and struggling to keep our fingers still, a nice tourist came to our rescue and snapped a picture for us.  We sat around for a little while more, and then we made our way back to the guesthouse to freshen up and pack up.  Teeth-brushing and face-washing left our hands numb and painful at the same time from the freezing cold water!  Breakfast was vegetable noodle soup and boiled egg…and hot coffee of course.  And then we set off at 8am.

Mani wall

After leaving the village of Upper Pisang, we passed the big prayer wheel wall and headed towards Ghyaru.

wise mountain goat

The small mountain path coursed through plantations of local crops on the steep mountain face where the locals and their jobkes were hard at work.  We stopped for awhile when we came across a herd of mountain goats…from wise old goat…

mountain kid

to cheeky young kid! 😉

etched prayer

We reached a long mani wall after about half an hour, and what came up next was described in the NATT as “…the trail climbs up in many serpentines near the electric poles which are going up in the direct line.  And yes, you have to climb till the last of the poles! 😦 “.  And boy, was the description accurate!!! The serpentine climb looked endless and we stopped so many times to take a breather!  At one point I was feeling light headed and got a little worried if it was worsening altitude sickness.  But luckily after resting and an energy bar, I felt better and managed to reach the top.

on the way to Ghyaru

Gah…..can’t believe we were all the way down there earlier!!

Ghyaru

We stopped for a break at Ghyaru — a small village with only a few lodges surrounded by fields and offering gorgeous views of the Annapurna range.  We had a hot drink and some biscuits and also walked to the look-out point in front of the Gompa.  After a good rest and feeling refreshed, we were on our way to the next stop where lunch beckons!

Ghyaru for lunch

Reached Ngawal for lunch at about 12.45pm and by then, it was starting to drizzle and the temperature was dipping!  We were famished by the time the dahl baht came…and hungrily gobbled it up.  The three local trekkers from Kathmandu whom we met earlier also reached Ngawal shortly after we arrived so we all had lunch together, while listening to Bon Jovi songs!  Dev asked if we wanted to stop here for the day or continue on to Manang as we were due to have an acclimatization day at Manang the following day anyway, but PW and I decided we could still walk (despite looking like we were ready to hibernate) and so we decided to continue on.

we have bread

Thankfully, the walk after lunch was much easier than the earlier serpentine climb – a lot of descents though.  But nothing a little Jacky Cheung music couldn’t pull me through. 😉

Manang gate

After about 3 hours, we finally saw the entrance gate to Manang! Whee….legs were screaming by now.

sunset

Got our room at the guesthouse and then had a quick walk around the village, which was by far the biggest and most well-equipped village on the trek with temptations of Lavazza coffee and cinnamon rolls beckoning.  None of that for tonight — we retreated to the dining hall where there was a fireplace fueled by yak dung, and had soup and a yak steak for dinner.  It was too dark for pictures of the yak steak – the taste was good but the meat was quite tough (very good jaw exercise!).

After dinner, had a chit chat with Dev and Mr.Limbu about Nepal history…the assassination of the royal family…trekking accidents…and plans for the next day.  And then, it was time to call it a day.  Snuggled into our sleeping bags and layers and layers of clothing…and it was time for lights out.

Shuvarathri. 🙂

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