Day 1 of the Annapurna Circuit: Trekking through a waterfall wonderland

 

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The trail is full of vibrant greens and thousands of feet of rice terraces

65BF7933-8AE7-4F3D-B08C-F3496E07467DDay 1 Stats:

Miles: 11.5

Starting elevation: 2,790 at Ngadi

Ending elevation: 4,480 at Jagat

Net gain: 1,690

Total hiking ascent: 2,675

Total hiking descent: 985

Leech bites: 1 (Lacy)

Bee sting: 1 (Rob)

Dal Bhat meals: 2 each

Cost for teahouse (board, dinner breakfast & tea x 2): 1,000 Nrs ~$9.10

Namaste’s and free smiles both given & received: countless

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After 6 hours of bus rides and a fresh plate of momo we had our poles in hand for a short walk to our first teahouse before day 1 of our trek

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First trail Dal Baht

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My grandma Rose passed last year but when our dudh chiya (milk tea) was served in a rose mug on our first night, I knew she is with us on our hike.  Grandma loved nature and was no stranger to travel.

Rob: What we have later decided to call Day Zero was two bus rides totaling 6 hours in the bumpiest, squeakiest busses ever. It was cozy and what other time in my life do I have the chance to have a small Nepalese family snuggled all around me. Our second bus must have had the lowest gearing ever because we crawled up muddy mountain roads at about 5 miles an hour where only Jeeps should have been allowed to go. Our hike was a short one. Basically just enough to get our gear situated, shoes tied the way we want and posture acclimated to a 20lb pack again. The real Day 1 was next.

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Rob loves the exterior decoration of these buses…

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And the inside as well!

Dal Bhat has been and will be our staple meal along the trek. As of this writing, we are 4 for 4. Rice (Bhat), lots of it, a bowl of thin Lentil soup (Dal) accompanied by one or two kinds of stewed vegetables (Tarkari) which may mostly be greens and a yellow curry of mostly potatoes. So far, it has all been nice and satisfying with just a little saltiness to the greens, spice to the curry and white fluffy rice. Yummy, but can I do this for 20+ more days? In one of the bigger villages, a chicken may need to be roasted for us. That will likely cost us far more than $9 total we are paying for the room, dal bhat for dinner and breakfast the last 2 days.

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First few steps on the Annapurna! We had to do a small amount on the road before reaching the trail

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Happy again in my skirt.  At first Rob thought I was a little nuts to buy and carry a yoga mat with me, but now that he sees me using it all the time and thinks I’m a genius

Our accommodations are minimal but perfect for the environment. Our room has 2 walls of windows (front and rear) with unbelievable views of the river valley. It has a full time sound system piping in the sound of a small waterfall behind us and the churning and swollen river below. The 2 small twin beds actually have nice mattresses. 2 heavy blankets will help snuggle us into a good sleep while we are inside of our fleece sleep sacks. There is power to charge our phones and we might get WiFi if we are lucky. Most places you stay overnight here in the mountains are called Tea Houses. That could mean a small simple cabin with a tin roof to a little hotel like ours that clings to the side of the hill. Almost all of them let you stay for free (or $1) as long as you eat dinner and breakfast in their small family restaurant.

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That’s Rob up there as we cross another waterfall!

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That tiny village nestled in the mountains above the river is Jagat where we spent the night after 11.5 mile of great hiking

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A closer look at Jagat

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We cross a lot of suspension bridges

Rain. Last night I woke at 3 am to the sound of a pounding rain outside. After all, it is the Monsoon Season here. We chose to come outside of the peak trekking season so we would have to trails mostly to ourselves. We have only come across a few other hikers so far. I bet we will criss-cross with them quite a bit more. Much of the upper part of the Annapurna Circuit Trail falls in a “rain shadow” once we are above the tree line. Since we also chose to start at a low elevation and enjoy the foothills and river valleys, we will certainly get a little wet. Maybe a lot wet. Today was a good example of hiking in and out of clouds and showers for most of the day. We made it to our target village and Tea House by 3 pm just as the much stronger rains came in for the afternoon. The rain today soaked us through but it was also refreshing and just part of hiking on this part of the trail at this time of year. The pluses are that all through the valley, everything is at its greenest point of the year, uncountable waterfalls cascade down each side of the foothills into the river which is also full to the brim and raging.

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Our first landslide crossing

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Laxmi was so nice to meet and talk with and prepared a delicious Dal Baht lunch for us

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Lacy:  It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling to be hiking again in my skirt, pack on my back and Daddie Gizmo by my side. Ascending through the valley that begins the circuit we are hiking upstream of the Marsyangdi river as we pass through villages and continue to be more amazed at each bend in the trail by the stunning scenery surrounding us. Tall mountains bursting with bright green grasses, ferns, moss, trees with bright green leaves and flowers. Everything is so green because of the monsoon season. We can’t raise our eyes to take in the view without seeing at least 2 waterfalls. In the first day we have already seen a hundred cascading from the mountainside. The sound of the falls, the thunderous river and rain are enveloping us as is the scenery.  I don’t think either of us thought we would be in an environment like this to begin the trek. So full of life.  It makes it very easy to continue putting one foot in front of the other.

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We spent 2 days in Pokhara before taking the bus to start the trek…

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And celebrated Rob’s birthday

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. At your age you are still celebrating birthdays?…humph…you are younger than I thought…

    On Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 2:38 AM Modern Gypsy Tales wrote:

    > Gizmo posted: ” Day 1 Stats: Miles: 11.5 Starting elevation: 2,790 > Ending elevation: 4,480 Net gain: 1,690 Total hiking ascent: 2,675 Total > hiking descent: 985 Leech bites: 1 (Lacy) Bee sting: 1 (Rob) Dal Bhat > meals: 2 each Cost for teahouse (board, d” >

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