In Nepal, we took a 9-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Annapurna Base Camp sits on a glacial basin that offers amazing views of over 7 Himalayan peaks including Annapurna I - the 10th highest mountain in the world! This difficult yet beautiful trek is one of our favorite things we’ve done on this trip so far. Below is an extremely long (sorry!) recap of our trek in pictures.
Day 1 - Phedi to Pittim Duerali
We began our trek in Phedi. An army of steps confronted us, and we vowed to conquer them…one at a time.
The steep incline was grueling, but we were rewarded with nice views of the valley below.
The steep path mellowed out some, and we followed the settlements of Dhampus along a ridge.
At the end of our first day we settled down in the village of Pittam Deurali (Small Peak), which was enshrouded in fog.
Disappearing into the fog
Here we enjoyed a hot shower, a heaping plate of Dal Bhat at our guesthouse, and a spirited session of cards (rummy) with some hikers hailing from the Czech Republic. Everyone really enjoyed the Raksi (local home brew made from fermented millet). It is the most economical way to get your head swimming in the mountains. Good for aches and pains too!
Day 2 - Pittim Duerali to New Bridge
Our second day started out with a fresh shower. From the sky, that is. We scrambled to waterproof our bags as best as we could. However, we soon yielded to the weather and ducked into a guesthouse for some weak coffee, and more rummy. Nothing is worse than hiking in soggy shoes!
Rain, coffee, rummy
Soggy farming terraces
Taking a lunch break in Landruk
Volleyball is popular in Nepal, even high up in the hills!
Our goal for the day was to reach the tiny village of New Bridge, which you encounter shortly after crossing…the New Bridge.
Day 3 - New Bridge to Sinuwa
Sunshine! A good sign. We were about to order breakfast when a mega-tour of twenty or so trekkers, with porters and guides, rolled into the village and sat down at our guesthouse. We opted for a quick power breakfast instead, and got moving.
Porters and their packs - one porter for every two people’s stuff.
Breakfast of Champions
Often you have to descend to ascend
We stopped for the night in the village of Sinuwa at the cute and tidy Himal Guesthouse, one of our favorites. Our timing was perfect as the clouds let loose as soon as we arrived.
Nice views and hot showers here!
Colorful dining room (notice the drums, common in most guesthouses)
Cozying up with a book at Himal Guesthouse
Day 4 - Sinuwa to Deurali
Today was a long day of hiking. We reached our intended destination of Himalaya only to find that all rooms were full. We had to hike 2 hours longer than expected to reach the next village, gaining 1,000 meters of altitude in one day (the recommended altitude gain is 300-500 meters per day). We were pretty exhausted by the time we reached Deurali.
Crossing one of the many footbridges
Mountains are getting closer!
Unwinding in the dining room of the Duerali guesthouse. When the rooms are full, trekkers sleep in the dining room!
Day 5 - Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)
Today was the hardest, yet most rewarding, day of the trek. The uphill wasn’t that steep but the altitude made each step forward a challenge. The views of the Himalayas made it all worth it!
Trekkers making the final push to ABC
We made it!
Annapurna Base Camp
Even though we arrived early (11am), the guest houses were filling up fast and we got one of the last rooms — a small nook behind the kitchen.
Our room for the night…
It also doubled as the kitchen washroom…
Fog rolled in shortly after we arrived which made everything mysterious and magical!
Cairns at Annapurna Base Camp
The day ended with a beautiful golden sunset over Machapuchare.
Day 6 - ABC to Bamboo
We woke up at early 5:45am to watch the sun rise on the Annapurna mountains. Even though it was FREEZING, the weather was perfect — not a cloud in the sky. There really are no words to describe how humbling it is to be surrounded by these giant Himalayan peaks.
Sun creeping in over the mountains
As soon as the sun rose, it instantly became warmer and we spent the rest of the morning frolicking around ABC enjoying the sunshine.
Eventually, it became time to head back down the mountain…::sniff::
It’s a long way down…!
On the way down, we stopped for breakfast at Machapuchare Base Camp. The combination of excitement & altitude was making me a little loopy.
The downhill return journey was a lot easier than the climb up. We covered in a half day what took two days to do going up.
Heading down into the valley…
Enjoying some hot ginger tea in Bamboo, our final stop for the day
Day 7 - Bamboo to Chhomgrong
In Bamboo, we met a couple from New Zealand who suggested we stay the night in the town of Chhomgrong at a place called Chhomgrong Cottages. They told us there would be delicious thin crust pizza and chocolate cake so tasty it has been written up in Time magazine.
Cheerful Chhomgrong Cottages
Definitely the best pizza in Nepal! The chocolate cake was delicious as well.
Day 8 - Chhomgrong to Ghandruk
From Chhomgrong we made our way to the cute village of Ghandruk. We shared the trail with many porter donkeys today!
Crossing the river
Stairway to heaven
Mountains still in view from Ghandruk!
We arrived to Ghandruk by 2pm and got a room at Hotel Trekker’s Inn. We spent the rest of the day drawing, drinking beer, and playing cards.
Simon making ink drawings on Nepalese paper while enjoying a cool Everest beer
Our last Dal Bhat meal
Day 9 - Ghandruk to Nayapul
Our last day of the trek :(
We made our final descent today through small farming towns, terraced fields, and a lush valley. We saw unreal insects, including the “magical flying grasshopper”, an inconspicuous brown grasshopper that turns into a majestic technicolor blue butterfly when it jumps. It felt like we were hiking in Avatar’s Pandora!
Rottweilers are the official dogs of the ABC trek!
Nope, that’s not a leaf attached to our chili sauce. It’s a camouflaged butterfly with leaf wings!
Within seconds of exiting the trail in Nayapul, a local Nepalese bus pulled up with an open door, ready to whisk us away back to the real world. It felt a little like The Knight Bus pulling up for Harry Potter. We got on the bus and the radio was blasting “Hey Mr. DJ” (Benny Dayal – Hey Mr DJ).
On the disco bus headed back to Pokhara
So long Annapurna, and thanks for all the dal bhat!