One of my most memorable trips was trekking the Annapurna Mountains, in Nepal, back in 2010.
“The Sherpa people are an ethnic group from Nepal who have lived in the high altitudes of the Himalayas for generations. They have long served as guides and porters, whose local expertise has been invaluable for foreigners attempting climbs in the area.” – CNN
You may be able to trek alone, but by hiring a Sherpa and a porter, you are not only making your trip easier, you are also helping the Nepalese people.
My team was the number one attraction, thanks to Ang CeCi. It is very rare to see a woman Sherpa in a world dominated by men.
Itinerary: Pokhara – Gandrung – Tadapani – Ghorepani – Poon Hill (3,210 m) – Ulleri – Tirkedhunga – Birethanti.
The Annapurna trekking trail consists mostly from thousands of steps made from stones – passing through rice fields and small villages. October is one of the best month for trekking. Clear skies and warm weather. The trail can be busy at times with tourists, porters, farmers and children playing in the mountain villages.
The mountains are different from what we know in America or Europe. Over 2,000 m and you can spot white monkeys with black face (lemurs). The vegetation is more tropical than what would you expect at high altitudes. And there are no conifers!
The porters are amazing. They are so many and they can carry over 100 kg: the trekkers backpacks, tents and sleeping bags, the food for the tea-houses, big metal pots and in Kathmandu even washing machines! The system is the same. One large stripe over the front-head connected with the backpack, the bin, the box or the cage (depending of the content they carry). Some wear mountain boots, some running shoes, others flip-flops and a couple are bare-foot. The other “porters” are the ponies or donkeys.
The highest point reached during the six days Annapurna trekking tour was Poon Hill (3,210 m), from where we watched the sunrise at 5:30 am.
The weather was excellent: sunny and clear skies every day. Hot during the day, but cold during the night. The snow covered Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Annapurna and Fish Tail peaks were all clearly visible.
The Tea-Houses were quite comfortable and all are using solar power for hot water. The food was good, but almost the same everywhere. The Nepali liquor “roxi” or “raksi”, made from millet, was quite good.
The people are very friendly, very welcoming. The Nepali children love to have their photos taken and to see themselves on the camera’s LCD screen. A highlight of this trip was the visit to a school in a very small mountain village, Ulleri, where I made a donation and took photos. Later on I sent the printed photos by mail to the Ulleri school.
People are inventive. There is a replacement for billiard: the “carrom-board”. The table is the same like a pool table. Instead of balls, there are white and black disks for each player. You give a push to the carrom striker (a heavier disk) with two fingers and try to slide your disks into the board’s pockets. The pool table is peppered with flour as a lubricant!
Hearing Nepalese music around my tea-house, I found a Nepali party – traditional dancing, with the dancer’s body and the hands waving harmoniously. A good ending to an amazing trip!