HoneyTrekking the Annapurnas: Part 2

Trekking in Nepal beneath MachapuchareWith well over 20,000 thousand stairs behind us, and 65 kilometers of full-pack hiking on our Nepal resumé, we snaked our way along the Modi Khola river with Annapurna South looming on our left and Fish Tail mountain slashing through the sky on our right.
Alert: Before you continue reading, make sure you read Anne’s account of the first four grueling days from Pokhara to Machapuchare Base Camp.

 

Day 5 morning:

Glacier from Annapurna 2, NepalAs we climbed above 10,000 FASL (feet above sea level) the trees began to thin out, the mountain walls turned jagged and ominous, and the glaciers came out to play. This particular glacier had perfectly carved tunnels to be explored, thanks to the rivers that cascade down from Annapurna II all “summer.”

 

Day 5 evening:

Hiking the ridge at Annapurna Base CampIn our final miles before reaching Annapurna Base Camp, the clouds started to come on thick, completely concealing the mountains we had been climbing to see. Having faith the Annapurnas would show their face by morning, we toasted with a Tuborg beer and set out to explore life at 13,546 feet. (Our friend and professional photographer Emily shot this great photo of us hiking the ridge between camp and Ganga Purna.)
Sheep at Annapurna Base Camp, NepalHundreds of sheep grazed on the rough grasses of the cold, craggy mountainside. Good thing they are wearing wool!

 

Anatoli Boukreev memorial stupa at ABCAnnapurna is the deadliest mountain on Earth, with a 38% fatality-to-summit ratio. A stupa, layered with prayer flags, was originally built to remember the great climber Anatoli Boukreev, and since has become a place for all to remember the lives that Annapurna has claimed.

 

Day 6 morning:

Morning coffee with our MSR stove over Fish Tail, NepalAfter a chilly high-altitude slumber, we awoke to bluest sky and a full panorama of Annapurna I, South, 12 Peaks, Tent Peak, Singuchuli, Gandravachuli, and Fishtail mountains in all their glory. We cooked up some coffee and oatmeal with trailmix on Emily’s MSR stove and did a bit of modeling against a backdrop that would make Backpacker magazine proud.

 

Kangsar Kang mountain with snowAs if formed by a carpenter’s chisel these beautiful powder chutes were calling to the crazy skier inside me. Then I realized that stupa didn’t need any more prayer flags.

 

Annapurna Glacier at Base CampBefore beginning the four-day trek back to Pokhara, via Poon Hill, I had one more mission to accomplish…to reach HoneyTrek’s seventh proper glacier. Though this was a fairly unapproved move (by Anne and our guide, until a bit of cajoling), Dalip and I skidded our way down the 300-foot deep moraine to reach the South Annapurna Glacier…a little dicey, but worth it!

 

Machapuchare Fish Tail Mountain NepalMachapuchare, aka Fishtail, is one of the few virgin mountains left in the Annapurna range, due to a combination of the insane summit routes and the fact that it is a sacred mountain to the Nepalese people. It’s already the prettiest peak in the range, and knowing that it’s untouchable only adds to its magnificence.

 

Day 7:

Mike Howard on a Trek in NepalIn order to complete our trek in 10 days, instead of the standard 12 for the ABC & Poon Hill combo, we had to tack on extra distance each day. But with views like the one I found rounding this corner, it made each extra kilometer go down a little easier.

 

Day 8:

Sunrise over Annapurna Mountain Range from Poon HillWe arrived at Ghorepani slightly worse for wear thanks to the roller-coaster of punishing hills (we wondered numerous times why the sherpas didn’t install some zip lines between those ridges!)…but with a good night sleep and dreams of the ultimate Himalaya sunrise, our muscles were “fired up and ready to go” for the 4:30am hike to Poon Hill.

 

Day 9:

With the Annapurna Range and the Dhaulagiri Massif in the background, we did a quick video recap of just a few magical things we experienced in Nepal.

 

Mike Seb Anne Emily on Poon Hill for sunriseAfter seeing nearly everyone watching sunrise from Poon Hill commemorate their achievement with either a Peace sign or the ever-popular jump pose…we had to join the fun and execute a group Jumping Peace Sign photo.

 

Dip in a mountain stream off AnnapurnaAs we crossed the bridge to our final tea house, we noticed these lovely pools collecting between waterfalls. With a few Everest beers and four friends, we turned this icy mountain stream into a natural “Watering Hole Watering Hole” for the last toast of the hike.

 

If you enjoy trekking and fantastical mountains, you must visit Nepal–no ifs, ands, or buts! With eight out of the ten tallest peaks in the world, Nepal is the ultimate high.

 

38 comments on “HoneyTrekking the Annapurnas: Part 2

  • January 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm
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    This is my favorite post so far! What incredible photos!!! Every single one of them! I know I say that every time, but WOW! The one of you sipping coffee should be IN Backpacker magazine! I’m showing this post to my boyfriend and telling him we need an adventure too! Can’t wait to keep reading your posts, I’m glad I subscribed!

    Reply
  • January 20, 2013 at 2:16 am
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    “Dalip and I skidded our way down the 300-foot deep moraine to reach the South Annapurna Glacier…a little dicey, but worth it!” Yeah, worth it because you lived to tell the tale! Don’t scare us any more, Mike! And you’re looking thin- when this is over, EAT MORE!

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    • January 20, 2013 at 5:55 am
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      oh Franky….thanks for worrying about us (both from landslides and my health). we are healthy as can be, eating great…just not eating any processed food or fast food. everything is healthy, cheap and available everywhere. yuuummmmmm……

      Reply
  • January 20, 2013 at 4:49 am
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    The Legendary Adventures of Anna – thanks so much, it was one of our favorites to write and edit. it was so hard to just pick 10 photos for the post and 200 for the slideshow (out of 2,600 from the 10-day trek). as a fellow travel blogger, you know how hard that can be 🙂

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  • January 20, 2013 at 5:12 am
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    You guys must be getting ripped at least in your legs! What an amazing life you are living. This time will affect the rest of your lives. Thanks for sharing tremendous pics!

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    • January 20, 2013 at 5:53 am
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      I don’t know how ripped we are but we felt really good knowing we could hack it on a ten day hike. You never know unless you try! As for the rest of our lives, I think you are right : )

      Reply
  • January 20, 2013 at 8:53 am
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    Amazing photos! You’ve inspired me to add another hike to the list.

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    • January 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm
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      thats what i’m talkin’ about! treks are SO much fun. its such a good time to reflect on things, and in the face of such beautiful nature to boot!

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    • January 22, 2013 at 8:09 am
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      oh it was awesome….it is so hard to explain the elation when you round a corner on the trail and look up at a mountain that is towering over 16,000 feet higher than you…amazing.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 1:37 am
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    I was wondering how your trip so far has changed the way you want to live your life after the honeymoon is over.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm
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    Once again what awesome photos and spectacular views. Man you will need to have a book of photos..you know the coffee table kind. You should become a photographer when you get back!!!

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  • January 23, 2013 at 10:43 am
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    You are stars you will have lots of story to tell at old age

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  • January 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm
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    Hi Mike and Ann,

    Finally the stories and pictures from our great adventure in the himalaya’s. Seeing these pictures brings back so many good memories.
    I’m now back in the Netherlands, started working again but i’m already planning a new trip to Nepal.. just can’t get Island Peak out of my head :), so if you guys are up for another Himalayan adventure somewhere in Oktober let me know!

    Reply
  • January 29, 2013 at 9:38 pm
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    Hi! Love the blog. Found it through Almost Fearless. My husband and i are doing this in May. Any tips? Did you have any problems adjusting to the altitude? Any tips on how to prepare physically for the trek?

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  • February 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm
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    Once again amazing! Your photos are National Geo. worthy. I smell jobs coming for both of you!

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  • April 16, 2013 at 9:09 am
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    your jumping peace sign photo has come a long way since the 8 lakes region!!! giddyup cow girl!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 1:31 am
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    Hi there, I came across your blog and I was wondering if you could give me a break down of your itinerary – what villages did you stay in each night and if you recall, how many hours of hiking each day was?
    Many thanks, Kathleen

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    • April 6, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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      HI Kate, did you see our first Annapurna blog http://www.honeytrek.com/honeytrekking-the-annapurnas/ or our video from Poon Hill http://www.honeytrek.com/sunrise-from-poon-hill-over-annapurna-range-video/ ? Those explain a bit more of the breakdown. We hiked for about 6-8 hours each day and stopped in villages whenever were tired or where our guide had connections. It’s a pretty free flowing process. Though one great town was Jhinu with its very soothing hot springs. Are you going with a local guide or on your own?

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      • April 7, 2015 at 5:17 am
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        Thanks for your reply. I’ll be heading out on my own as a solo female. I’ve got a good deal of hiking experience. I’m thinking of heading the poon hill direction to start and coming back down to Jhinu. I’m hoping to do this in 8-9 days. How was the altitude? Did you get any sickness or did you need to take medications. I’m also wondering if I should get the prescription.
        Thanks again for your info. I’m mostly just trying to figure out my breakdown and what tea houses people stayed in, but I suppose I’ll figure that out once I get moving.
        Cheers,

        Kat

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        • April 7, 2015 at 10:00 am
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          Good for you! There were plenty of solo travelers out there. Though I must say having a guide was really awesome for the cultural context (as well as of course the directions lol) and way more affordable than we would have thought—our guide was $200 for 10 days (which we split with a few people but that’s still pretty darn affordable). Either way it will be awesome! We didn’t have a problem with the altitude until we got to the actual Annapura Base Camp, which was just a slight headache. Poon Hill will be fine, I don’t think the medicine is necessary either way.Go with the flow and have fun!

          Reply

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