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Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Day Seven: I Made a Lovers Prayer

Twice through the night I had to rise and rush to the bathroom, but not before putting on a couple of layers of clothing. It was awfully cold up there at Annapurna Base Camp.

Despite my headache I stopped outside in the dark, switched off my head torch and looked up to the twinkling sky. Thousands of stars waited up there, staring down like so many unblinking eyes, watching me grinning like a fool. There was enough light to see the silhouettes of the mountains all around me. There was no noise. It was beautiful.

A restless few hours of sleep followed, before I was up again with the coming light at around 5.30am. The morning slowly warmed us (there were perhaps fifteen or twenty trekkers up there), and we watched the mountains wake up as the bright sunlight edged its way further down their faces. The clouds of yesterday were gone, and the views were epic around all 360 degrees.

By 7am though, my headache, which was still a constant throb, had been joined by feelings of nausea. There was no way I could stomach breakfast up there. It felt like one of those hangovers where you want to throw up but just can’t, and so Abs and I rounded up Babu and Salik and the four of us descended down to Machhapuchhre Base Camp, some 400 metres lower. Even a small drop in altitude made a huge difference, and when we arrived there an hour or so later I felt great.

Soon, after some lemon tea and pancakes, we were heading further back down the valley, following the path we had taken up yesterday alongside the Mhodi Khola (river). Its gurgling scream was constantly in our ear, like an angry sports coach yelling endlessly from the sidelines. We descended further, past the avalanche routes, and back down into the forest.

Babu and Abs set a cracking pace, and I struggled to keep up. As I slowly fell behind, my mind began to wander: I remembered reading in a guidebook that on one of the stretches of this trek stragglers had been subjected to violent robbery. Was it this stretch of trail? Damn, I’d better start running!

It was fine of course. By about 12.30pm we came to a small village.
“We can stop here for lunch,” Babu offerd, “or if you like we can push on to the next village, which is about another forty minutes.”
“I’m easy,” replied Abs, looking back to me to see what I wanted to do.
“Yeah, I’m happy to push on.”
“NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It was my stomach.

Did they hear that? Did they all just look at my stomach at the same time? Damn I could go a potato rosti!

We pushed on for lunch, and my stomach rumbled its disagreement the whole way. Ten minutes before we reached out lunch stop, the village of Bamboo, the rain came. It was like tropical rain; big fat drops falling straight down. The forest floor began to squelch under foot, and we ran the last few hundred metres to shelter. It poured rain for an hour and a half, and when it finally eased we headed off to cover the last two hours trekking to the village of Sinuwa. It made it a long day, we arrived there around 3.30pm, after leaving Annapurna Base Camp at 7am, and we had descended from 4130m at base camp all the way down to 2340m.

Not long after, the afternoon clouds came racing up the valley from below us. They seemed to pause before they reached us, and then the mist went racing up over our heads from behind and then fell back down in front of our faces. It fell like slow motion rain; a huge thick sheet dropping down, as though we were in the tube of a wave. And then, you could see nothing.

Songs of the day: Gillian Welch – Wrecking Ball, and I Made a Lovers Prayer. Can anyone tell me if she’s ever going to bring out a new album?

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One Response to “Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Day Seven: I Made a Lovers Prayer”

  1. admin Says:

    Just a note for you folks that I’ve whacked up some photos from my rafting trip on my flickr site….

    And if that link doesn’t work, there’ll be a link somwhere along the right-hand side of this page.

    Photos from the trek itself will be along in the next week or two, so keep checking!

  2. Posted from Nepal Nepal

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