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Hiking from Naypul to Kimche via chane, Ghandruk, Sinuwa, Deurali, Macchapucchre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp
Hiking from Naypul to Kimche via chane, Ghandruk, Sinuwa, Deurali, Macchapucchre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp

Billa, Paul and myself (Baz) took some time off to explore the Annapurna region at the end of last year (2009). I was surely not expecting to go all the way to ABC given that we only had three days available to us. As always, I wanted to get away from all the nonsense that can build up in Kathmandu and enjoy some off the grid time around the sanctuary. All credit to Paul, Billa and our porter guide Mr. Sitaram for encouraging me at Sinuwa (at the end of Day 2 the point at which I was absolutely exhausted) to not quit (and descend to Jhinu) but to march ahead to Bamboo (our pit stop for the day). Fate also had some hand as I had almost given up had it not been for the huge Korean delegation that occupied the hotel where we were temporarily resting. I took those three steps to check into another hotel but then a change came over me in a split second and I decided to continue with the journey. We would walk through forty five minutes in pitch darkness to Bamboo and the rest as they say is history. Few recollections.
"The very first day was a Christmas Friday, so we decided to celebrate it in the beautiful Lakeside Pokhara. We walked along the grassy shore of the Fewa lake, monitored the activities of different visitors, analyzed them with our own logic and predicted their purpose; we were just passing our time. Paul and I had not forgotten the torrid time we’d had when we carried the heavy rucksacks on our own during the trek to Gosaikunda. On that tour, we envied the cheerful foreign trekkers enjoying the natural beauty and the local sights and sounds without any luggage on their back. So this time we wanted to carry a porter for dual purpose, to share the load and as a guide as well. We decided to hire one porter and shed all unnecessary burdens. We would still carry our rucksacks, but with lesser load. After inquiring few travel agencies around Lakeside, we were able to get hold of Mr. Sitaram as our porter. He looked rather skinny, in his mid-forties, and with thin framed glasses did not look like a typical porter. Further he had just been back in Pokhara a day before from a week long trek to ABC. We inquired if he felt okay to take another tour without couple of day’s rest to which he opined “no sweat at all, I’m ready as ever to go again.” I remember Baz still confiding to us that he was not sure how Mr. Sitaram would fare. So while I slipped out into a quaint café catching up with a female friend who was working in Pokhara, Mr. Sitaram, Baz and Paul went about trying to find a 75L rucksack to hire for the porter to carry. Mr. Sitaram was to meet us at the hotel the next day at half past five in the morning. Lakeside lit up bright and colorful as the day rested. The city was full of tourists eager to celebrate the holidays on a coveted travel destination." - Billa
"The intensity with which the local band played numbers by Deep Purple, CCR, The Doors electrified the environment at the Amsterdam Bar on lake side. The energy level peaked when they played "Shooting Star" by Bad Company. I (Baz) conceived the idea of this shot since I wanted to capture the heat and the energy that the band was emitting and the ambience it had created in the surrounding. The bar was filled with a very young crowd eager to enjoy Christmas night with no frills attached. We ended up staying at the joint for good part of the late evening before heading back to the Candle Inn hotel. It was all quiet at the hotel until about 1 AM when we were constantly awaken by loud noises of party goers returning back to the hotel. A distressing knock at our door about five in the morning from a young lady trying to find her room jolted us out of sleep. She kept on knocking at all the doors on the floor. Twenty odd minutes later we could hear an animated conversation outside the lobby. A male voice was saying "Hijo rati matlab chaina mero, aba ahile kina in?" She was pleading to let her in to his room, he just did not budge. First light of the day broke out soon enough, and the lobby had returned to its usual quiet normalcy when we proceeded to check out." -Paul, Baz
Baz was last to arrive at a tea-house at Kimche where we took some respite after the continuous walking of the morning. Prior to reaching Kimche, I was walking alone myself ahead of the pack. Fortunately for me I had a chance to walk together with a group of trekkers who were from Laxmi Bank (our current neighbors). This is the other facet of trekking that I like. I love to interact with fellow trekkers sharing ideas, views and get to know them a little. The monotony of continuous steps was irritating however fortunately for me the company of the aforementioned team did not allow me to dwell on it too much. I tried several times to incite some communication with two female members of the team but luck was not with me this day. Earlier in the morning we were laughing when we had heard her screaming to someone over the cell saying “you know it was almost fifty kilometers to Nayapul, you guys had said only twenty odd minutes.” Soon after we commenced our walk from Kimche, we hit upon a desolate area full of landslide, rock and mud. Apparently this was a place where the village of Chane had stood upon. The village had been severely affected by a disastrous landslide few season ago, and the remnants of that catastrophe was right in front of our eyes. -Billa
"Even though it is called ABC trek, it is all about Machhapuchhre and Modi Khola, who steal the show for the most part. The real fun part of the trek starts after one leaves Sinuwa and walks towards Bamboo. This is when villages end and the woods and the mountains start. Mt. Fishtail starts to weave magic on your right side soon as you start to reach Himalaya. From thereon, its a solo performance all the way until you reach MBC. Once you start walking from MBC to ABC, you're in an almost flat cup surrounded by Hiunchuli, and Annapurna South (to the south), Machhapuchhre and Gandharwa Chuli (to the east), Annapurna I (to the west) and Tharpu Chuli, Singu Chuli (to the north). At the base camp, there are total of four hotels. When in season, most all full and even tourists have to sleep in the kitchen and on lobby floors. There had been a snowfall a few days before we reached there. You can really see the effect of global warming by observing the barren moraine of the South Annapurna Glacier. The morning after at ABC was clear and perfect to watch the most beautiful sunrise as one can hope to at such a place. And last but not the least, wonderful guide in Mr. Sitaram who was kind enough to put up with our stupid 'walking all the time' mode of trekking." -Baz
"I had a bowl of garlic soul and about five red chillies to ward of any chance of altitude sickness prior to dinner. We were all feeling pretty good and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner with a bunch of Korean college students who were staying in the same hotel. After dinner, we moved into a single room with three separate beds, closed the window and the door to retire for the night. I lay down to sleep and cover my face with blanket. After about 15-20 minutes, I start to have weird thoughts and seem to see people with very large heads (the size of the window in front of us) come in through the window. I know something is not right but am not able to pin point what yet. Then about at the same time, Paul tells me that he cannot feel his heart beating. Then I know something is really funky ... but since I'm tired I'm hoping that sleep will overcome and don't say anything ... however the weird hallucinations continue in my head. Then suddenly Billa jumps up and says he cannot breathe at all, rushes from his bed and opens the window. After which cold fresh breeze comes in making me feel all fine. When the window is kept open, all feel ok ... All of us agree that if any one of us has a slight altitude sickness, we will all rush down to MBC no matter what time of the night. None of us are able to lie down (we feel suffocated due to lack of oxygen) completely nor cover the face completely and so spend the entire night sitting against the wall, half dozing, half breathing and trying to sleep ... it must have been close to -10C that night outside with winds howling and snow drifting ... and we could not even close the windows ... it is amazing how one welcomes even the coldest air when you're lacking it ... it was a night that I will never forget. Then the morning after, Nepali style toilet, deep frozen water in the big and small bucket, ... well that is a whole different story. Some other time. " -Baz
I was tired (not physically after the second day, but mentally) of walking on this trek! Walking, walking and walking is all that we seemed to do. Not enough time to enjoy the flora and fauna, not enough time to take pictures, and not enough time to even check and contemplate the settings in the camera. You have to spend at least eight days on this trek and enjoy it real slow, it is that kind of terrain. I hope to be back to ABC very soon. All photos (click for larger version) taken by Baz except where indicated in brackets. The trek details are at the end of the blog after the gallery of images.

Below are the trek details. Time taken includes stoppages for breakfast, lunch, tea, short rest as applicable. Approximate Latitude Range for the trek: N28°17'59" (Nayapul) to N28°32'00" Approximate Longitude Range for the trek: E083°46'14" (Nayapul) to E083°55'00" Day 1, 12/26/2009: Nayapul to Ghandruk
Origin Destination Time Taken
Nayapul (1070m) Kimche (1640m) 3 hours 30 minutes
Kimche Chane 1 hour
Chane Ghandruk (1940m) 1 hour
Maximum Altitude: 1640m, Total Altitude Gain: 570m 5 hours 30 minutes
Day 2, 12/27/2009: Ghandruk to Bamboo
Origin Destination Time Taken
Ghandruk (1940m) Komrongdanda (2654m) 1 hour 15 minutes
Komrongdanda Chhomrong (2170m) 3 hours
Chhomrong Sinuwa (2360m) 2 hours
Sinuwa Bamboo (2310m) 1 hour 30 minutes
Maximum Altitude: 2654m, Total Altitude Gain: 370m 7 hours 50 minutes
Day 3, 12/28/2009: Bamboo to Annapurna Base Camp
Origin Destination Time Taken
Bamboo (2310m) Dovan (2600m) 55 minutes
Dovan Himalaya (2920m) 1 hour
Himalaya Deurali (3200m) 1 hour
Deurali Macchapucchre Base Camp (MBC) (3700m) 2 hours 15 minutes
MBC Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) (4130m) 2 hours 40 minutes
Maximum Altitude: 4130m, Total Altitude Gain: 1820m 7 hours 50 minutes
Day 4, 12/29/2009: Annapurna Base Camp to Chomrong
Origin Destination Time Taken
ABC (4130m) MBC 1 hour 10 minutes
MBC Deurali 1 hour 15 minutes
Deurali Himalaya 45 minutes
Himalaya Dovan 55 minutes
Dovan Bamboo 40 minutes
Bamboo Sinuwa 1 hour 35 minutes
Sinuwa Chomrong (2170m) 2 hours
Maximum Altitude: 4130m, Total Altitude Loss: 1960m 8 hours 20 minutes
Day 5, 12/30/2009: Chomrong to Nayapul
Origin Destination Time Taken
Chomrong (2170m) New Bridge (1340m) 2 hours 30 minutes
New Bridge Syauli Bazaar (1220m) 3 hours
Syauli Bazaar Nayapul (1070m) 1 hour 30 minutes
Maximum Altitude: 2170m, Total Altitude Loss: 1100m 7 hours

Hiking from Budhanilkantha to Sundarijal
2009-12-13 /
Hiking from Nayapul to Ghandruk
2010-01-02 /