Day 4. Chomrong (2 210 m) – Bamboo (2 310 m)
After super-ascending yesterday everything is so hard! We are getting up at 7, participating in all the morning mess of trekkers. Someone order the breakfast in the evening for a particular time (the mat organized guys!), someone leaves it for the last moment after packing, and we are eating instant noodle in the room. It is not something the lodge owners were hoping for, but it is something keeping our budget safe: in Chomrong the prices for simple omelet or same noodles are equal to a good dinner in Kathmandu! It is clear the price includes service of a porter delivering this food to Chomrong, but we are our own porters! 🙂
The noodles gives us the power for a good move: we are full enough to ignore the German Bakery with thick croissants, to ignore the last fix price shop on the trek…
Honestly, my foot is still too big and feels pain, and I would prefer an ascending rather than the endless descending from Chomrong to Chomrong river!
The horrific 2000-meter-heigh suspension bridge, here we are! At the first moment I feel panic. Come on, I can’t do that! My body just won’t listen: I am too afraid. Moreover, people go back and forth by this bridge, which makes him shaking. The wind makes him shaking. No. No.
I stay in front of it for 10 minutes. My heart is jumping. But… No one falls down so far! Maybe I would try… Immediately after my start some people join me from my side – the bridge is jumping not only from my steps. They go forward, I struggle with panic attack – no method I know doesn’t work, I can’t distract from this, and by the end of the bridge I can hardly breathe. But still, I got to another side! And, although I feel no happiness I will need to pass it again in return, I am ready for this 🙂
The fast ascend after the bridge helps to forget all the fears – we are now definitely on the road “for braves”: Chomrong is a junction for the trekkers going to Poon Hill and other locations, and to ABC. After the bridge I start to feel that – I am going to Annapurna! It’s not just a walk anymore!
The impatience leads us further – thought the forest looking like any sacred forest: green stones, old trees, feeling of hidden life everywhere… The only problem was lack of water: there was no place to refill the bottle, and today’s waterfalls, unfortunately, weren’t clear! The only village on our way, Shivalaya, was mistakenly ignored for the watering, and in an hour it becomes really hard: you go up and down through wet forest, so many springs and waterfalls around – and no water to drink!
The descend to Bamboo was made by “autopilots”: three Russian trekkers we met advised us to finish this day in Deurali, but we were too tired to choose even a lodge in Bamboo! Besides, they all looked quite cozy – and all have a hot solar shower! To my turn it wasn’t hot at all, but it was a shower! The last shower!
Rhododendron: porters and some trekkers pick them from the trees to wear them, and sometimes lose… For nothing
Day 5. Bamboo (2 310 m) – Deurali (3 140 m)
It seems as something has changed in the air: the trek is no more amusement, from today it will be a real challenge! First of all, because today we need to meet the schedule of Lonely Planet. Usually it takes us at least twice longer to make any distance than it is stated in LP: if LP says the way from Shinuwa to Bamboo takes 1,5 hours, we walk for 3! But today – no kidding.
The reason is, that Deurali is a bottle neck of this trek. There are 4 lodges, which are really not so big as they need to be for the quantity of trekkers. Yes, there are many trekkers, even after Chomrong! We are walking fm through one of the most difficult areas to live, but each 15 minutes someone is passing by, going to or from ABC. And all these trekkers, guides and porters are welcome at 4-5 big lodges on each MBC and ABC, but for many of them Deurali is one of the stops, and Deurali can’t meet everyone.
This is the reason. LP proposes to take a night at Himalaya, but even our late start (8 am), slow speed and all the stops for photo and cookies brought us to Himalaya by the noon. Come on, we can do more!
At Himalaya we are preparing the noodles – that’s out breakfast – and see all the Trekkers going along with us. The only trekkers we left behind – a couple of Germans with such a big bags I would never carry an hour! Two German girls with a guide and two porters, carrying more than me when changing apartments, a group of Korean trekkers – mostly old ladies and young boys, and guess who is faster all the way! Everyone with porters, except first couple. I still wonder what they were caring to Annapurna.
After Himalaya all of us are very fast! And the way becomes harder: it is not a comfortable stair anymore, it is a road, sometimes almost vertical, of the stones and ground, which is sometimes not safe for the legs. I felt so grateful to the sticks! They helped to carry on, dividing the weight between legs and arm, the saved the steps from unsafe stones, finally I learned to lean on them, then I felt the short breath. By Hinku Cave (which is actually a small space under a big stone, not the cave), it becomes strange: every 4-5 steps the short breath comes, as if I run for 200 meters.
Luckily no other signs of mountain sickness! At Hinku, we noticed another strange thing – a fog from the valley downstairs. We never saw a fog here! In a moment we realized, that it is not a fog – that’s clouds!
It would be good to stay above them! By 2 pm the clouds were everywhere: under and above us. The rain started. Deurali was still in couple of kilometers, and the chances to get a room and escape sleeping in a common hall were melting. We almost run forward! The first three lodges in Deurali were full by our arrival. Panic, short-breathed, cold panic! On the first lodge’s yard I noticed a black dog – it ran forward, looking back on me. Through all the lodges to a host stone stair – there was a fourth lodge. We were running with this dog, and Mr. Cat was running behind, as a small tired turtle. Yes! A room is free! I ran to a kitchen, asking all people there about a free room, and got a key almost faster than I finish a question. Yuppie!
Later in the evening, all rooms are not only full – if a room has more beds than a group taking it (usually 3-4 beds in a room), it is required to share with other trekkers. The rooms are also not very nice: dark, cold, with thin walls between each other and the beds ruining away under the body. The dinner started at 6, giving us (hungry and deadly tired) another 2 hours in the hall. But the company of other trekkers, feeling one step from ABC, was really a pleasure!
Day 6. Deurali (3 140 m) – MBC (3 700 m) – ABC (4 130 m)
This day is something special! The sleep is not quite hard with the thin walls, but in the morning the first awaken wakes everyone, and all the trekkers are packing together, smiling to the challenges as no sink for brushing the teeth (I did that in the yard by the water pipe for washing the bedding), and we go out almost simultaneously, near 7.30-8.00. It’s better, tells one of trekkers, to escape all possible avalanches in the early morning.
The way along Modi Khola is quite minimalistic: greyish snow, starting to melt, mixed with the ground; a cold stainless-blue river… The stone pyramids – marks of trekkers – are all around the bridges. How small and fragile they are, and still – how many! The marks of human determination and courage!
After a while, we see the first avalanche: it is far from us, on another side of the river, but still I can’t escape the feeling of danger! The sound of a small avalanche fills up all the valley, and at first you can’t recognize there is the source of this sound. And even a small avalanche is a sign of nature’s power. It is not someone’s decision, not someone’s destiny, it is a pure fate from the nature. The Machhapuchhare, a mountain guiding us all the trek, is smoking above: there is a local legend Shiva is lying and smoking there, so the mountain is sacred. At this moment you feel all the nature is sacred, and, hopefully, Shiva will be kind to you!
Our plan is simple: we don’t go to ABC with all the bags. We go to MBC, choose a lodge while everything is free, and leave all out tuff there, to go to ABC with only one camera and sticks. It should be easy!
To reach MBC wasn’t hard at all: sun is shining, mountains are incredible! And it’s still 10.30, plenty of time to have a quick lunch and go upstairs! And first it looks like an easy walk up – just as Lonely Planet promises! It’s warm, so you can wear only t-shirt and trousers, the trekkers are sliding down on their jackets, a butterfly (?!) is landing on Mr. Cat’s jacket and got a lift! Just the sun is too bright for my sunglasses…
In the next 2 hours it becomes a torture: it’s too bright not only for my glasses – but for my eyes too. Even closing them I feel sun too bright. And no sunscreen (I used 50 spf) would work with that! I am sorry not to cover my face and head with a scarf, as all Korean group did! I am sorry not to take water, because on this hottest plate ever I am terribly thirsty. I start eat snow, which is clean far from the way, but I got into snow drifts more than my knees.
When we start to see ABC – it’s almost a mirage, oasis in the beautiful, but lifeless landscape of the mountains. Tea, shadow, everything we need now, is there and not getting closer. I am on my edge, and not only me: people in front and behind are going silently, someone start to cry. And all people free their emotions at the ABC billboard: a Russian group is laughing almost hysterically, we are crying, the Korean group is crying and laughing at one time…
And, finally, tea and shadow at the welcoming ABC! Fortunately it’s not a camping: the buildings look massive and comfortable, halls are warmed and we meet our mates from Deurali. When we go back, the clouds covers us from the sun, making only 20 meters down visible – but that’s enough, we are sliding on feet, and it’s, surprisingly, still warm! Our shoes are full of water in MBC, but the host of our lodge wants 1000 rupees for each pair to dry, so we prefer to let them dry naturally 🙂 of course, they are frozen (not dry) next morning! 🙂