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Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Day Two: Blame it on the Tetons

The second day’s trekking would be one of our easiest. A simple three hour climb up to Ghorapani. Technically, we weren’t actually on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek yet. Ghorapani lies on a path known as the Jomson trek. But just a 45 minute walk from Ghorapani is the famous lookout of Poon Hill, and taking in tomorrow’s sunrise from there was the reason we’d come this way.

After an early start, we arrived at Ghorapani by 11.30am. The views from the village itself were said to be spectacular, but for us, all we saw was cloud. And so we rested in the guest house by the fire, reading, drinking tea, and eating delicious pasta with vegies and cheese. It seemed strange to be eating so much better out here in the mountains than I had been in Kathmandu (dhal baat twice a day does get a little monotonous).

As the afternoon wore on, huge snow covered peaks began to reveal themselves through the cloud. They appeared like huge ships floating out of the fog on a cold winter’s morning, only to disappear back into the nothingness as gently and silently as they’d appeared.

Abs’ face would light up each time the mountains showed themselves, “Man! Check that out!”

Then, the rains came, followed by hail. Lots and lots of hail. I will now fully appreciate it when people say “the weather closed in”. It almost brought on waves of claustrophobia, the way the sky darkened. The stone path we’d walked up a few hours earlier and that lead through the village turned into a gushing river, and marble-sized hail bounced off the corrugated iron roofs. For almost forty-five minutes the icy balls fell, and afterwards, it continued to rain on and off all evening.

I was surprised at how good I was feeling. My legs weren’t sore at all. Although, I did have a nineteen year old weighing just fifty-three kilos carrying all my gear.

Abs and I had hired a porter and a guide through an agency in Kathmandu. Salik was our porter, a wirey young guy who spoke almost no English and, we found out later, was on his first ever trek. Our guide was Babu, a thirty-five year old, pot-bellied, wine-drinking, cigarette-smoking, balding super-guide. Put simply, he was an awesome guy.

Having been teased by the mountains that afternoon, the following morning would provide us with our first real look at the Himalayan peaks we were heading for. And damn, that look was something.

(Song of the day: Modest Mouse – Blame it on the Tetons. Now that’s more like it!)

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