Probably my last full day of walking, and a long day it was.
Should have halved the day by stopping in Ghansa, but didn’t. Didn’t really want to walk backwards and uphill.
I think this was a mistake.
Walking from Kalopani to Tadopani in one day is definitely too far. Even though it was downhill, it was nearly 20 miles, and there were no villages to stop for lunch, so it was a straight through job.
By the time it got to 5 o’clock, I’d stopped enjoying the countryside, and was more concerned about my feet.
Kalopani to Tadopani
The views walking from Kalopani to Tadopani were spectacular, and although the trail had been destroyed by landslides in places it was pretty, if a slightly dangerous walk through small villages, mountain valleys, through forests and ravines.
When I got to outside Tadopani, some heavy plant and engineers were in the process in of improving the road.
All the passengers had got out of their 4×4 and buses, and were congregated around the work-site, socialising at the road-side or waiting patiently, or impatiently inside their vehicles.
I passed these folk and carried on into the town. When I arrived, it was 5pm, and the only place I managed to get accommodation was called Dhaulagiri Lodge, which actually turned out to be quite good. …
After Muktinath, pretty much the whole of the Annapurna Circuit Trek follows the road.
This is a dusty and busy road.
Where the trail does continue away from the road is not clearly marked.
This and the fact that the landscape was fairly sparse and boring made me decide to take a bus.
Firstly, this was to Jomsom, where I thought I might hole-up for the night.
On checking the accommodation, much of it seemed to be overpriced, without amenities and Jomsom itself noisy and dusty.
I got a hotel for 400rps. When I sat in the room for 1/2 hour, I started getting asthma from all the dust floating around.
I paid the hotelier for 1/2 stay and got on the next bus out.
To recommend it, there are plenty of banks in Jomsom to get that extra bit of cash to help you along the way.
Jomson -> Kalopani
There isn’t really much between these points of any interest.
Initially, I was going to stop 10km further up at somewhere called Kobang which was marked on the map.
When we went through it, it just seemed to be some loggers huts.
I didn’t see any signs of any trail anywhere, separate to the road, and as I’ve said previously, this side of Thalong La, the Circuit Trek seems mainly to consist of walking down the road through boring and dusty landscape.
Kalopani was the first place where the accommodation seemed nice, and the environment looked like somewhere I wanted to walk in.
I had some difficulty alerting the driver to the fact I wished to stop, eventually managed to do so and agree a price for the additional travel from where I had told him to drop me off, about 10km up the road.
Stayed at the ‘See you’ lodge. Prices are higher for accommodation this side, you’re paying 500rps. The other, you’re paying no more than 200rps.
Alternatively, the food is cheaper, the rooms have chargers and there is a free shower and drinking water, in this place. Although, in Jomsom, this was not the case. The prices were just higher.
Today, I’m going to walk down to Tatopani, where there are some hot springs.
There are other two word phrases that fit also, perfectly adequately, but after the full day. I’d say crossing Thalong la Phedi to Muktinath is no joke.
10 hours of high altitude snow, sun, wet and cold.
The effects of UV were definitely under emphasised by every traveller, hiker, guide or source I’d come across.
You’ve got 360° reflective or direct sunlight coverage at 5,000m above sea level. At that level the UV is more than you’re going to experience anywhere on the planet.
Not something mentioned with any emphasis in Lonely Planet, my faithful guidebook. Just weak ramblings about how poorly you may be if you get AMS, how to check if you’ve got AMS. How to stop and sleep just in case may get AMS. AMS is not the only danger up there you know.
It took me 6 hours just to reach the pass.
I thank the gods for the weather, without it things would have been a lot more serious.
Ascending to the pass
All up hill.
2-4ft Snow coverage 80% of the way.
Path was clear enough to follow. There’d been enough travellers earlier on in the day. That wasn’t a problem. …
Lonely Planet recommend a stop at one of the villages in between, to ‘acclimatise’.
I felt I’d done plenty of this already. What with taking a half day at Manang. I didn’t feel physiologically that my body was under any pressure, so I ignored this handy advice and carried on through to Thalong la Phedi or ‘the foot of the hill’ in Nepalese.
I walked until 10am, which took me beyond both ‘acclimatisation’ villages, Lakdar and Yak Khagar, had my usual break and carried on.
To be fair, the road was more challenging than I’d encountered anywhere before.
There was snow with steep drops, muddy paths, just general on the side of mountain kind of stuff. But all-in-all, pleasant enough.
There were some yaks along the way.
Altitude sickness and the body
Altitude does add an additional dimension: Every time you exert yourself, the main stress is on your lungs and respiratory system.
Your muscular strength may be greater, but you’re continuously being held in check by your bodies ability to take in and process new air.
This means fewer steps and more stops to take breath.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time just standing around breathing, even at the slightest incline, that’s fine, just expect to be being flown out in a helicopter.
Above 4,000m, reading physical exertion and the bodies ability to recover is everything.
Thalong la Phedi
By the time I’d reached Phedi, I’d clocked 10miles and 5 hours, about normal for a day.
To be truthful, I felt nothing by the time I got there, just a little tired.
Had a little look around the accommodation and chose ‘Base Camp Lodge’, which had a bakery, nice ambience and a better room for 1/2 the price. …