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Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Day Three: Company in my Back

The huge Annapurna range was visible from my bedroom window. All I had to do was turn my head whilst lying in bed and there they were; giant seven and eight thousand metre high peaks. I didn’t wake up to this view though. I woke at the ridiculous time of 4.40am, in order to walk the forty-five minutes up a series of stone steps to the nearby lookout of Poon Hill in time for sunrise.

Now, I’ll be honest (as opposed to the rest of the time, when I mostly just make shit up), I’m not normally much of a morning person. But when I reached that lookout at 5.45am, and saw the first rays of a new day’s sun strike the majestic peaks of the Dhaulagiri range across the valley, peaks that had previously been resting, oblivious to the oncoming day (that’s the thing I’ve grown to love about the mountains; they’re so quiet and peaceful, yet dramtic, and dynamic in the changing light), the smile that grew across my face lit up the sky.

We hovered up there for an hour or so, mesmereised by the mountains, marvelling at the view that changed ever so as the sun leapt from behind the Annapurna range and rose higher in the sky. I could’ve stayed there all day, but we still had six hours walking to do to get us to that night’s accomodation, which was back on the Annapurna Sanctuary trail.

That day took us deep through leech infested forest (right now, as I write this in my diary, blood continues to seep from a tiny hole in my foot, two hours after I removed my shoes and socks and found the leech in there). We followed creeks that cascaded down the rocks, and ducked under moss covered branches that hung low over the path. We reached Ghandruk in five hours, after straining to beat the coming rain.

Our accomodation was perched on the side of a tree covered mountain, and had a small levelled off lawn from which you could look across to the Himalayan peaks we’d come to see. But the afternoon clouds were moving in. Huge, dark clouds, piled higher and higher, like angry grey fairy floss.

The mountains would briefly appear, as if magicians stepping through a cloud of smoke, only to disappear again in another explosion of mist. I was absolutely exhausted. But sitting there with my feet up, sipping a cup of tea, looking at the dramatically changing sky and the blood trickling from my foot, I could hardly be more relaxed.

Song of the day: well, it began with Joy to the World (you know the one, about a bullfrog named Jeremiah). It came in to my head courtesy of Hunter S. Thompson, who had mentioned it to me whilst I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas the day before. But I soon threw that out, and replaced it with some tunes by Wilco, first Theologians, and then Company in my Back. Sweet.

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