Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Two words can sum this day up – ‘no joke’.

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.

Ascending Thalong La - Himalayas
Ascending Thalong La – Himalayas

Path was clear enough to follow. There’d been enough travellers earlier on in the day. That wasn’t a problem.

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Day 31: Manang to Thalong La Phedi

Day 31: Manang to Thalong La Phedi

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.

Felt nothing.

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.

Happy yaks
Yaks

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.

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Day 30: Pisang to Manang

Day 30: Pisang to Manang

Another day of unspoilt views and un-interupted walking, as far as the walking took me, which yesterday was to Manang. The end of the road.

From here it’s up to the Tharong La pass.

Manang

Is a shopping meca in Himalayan terms. They seem to have used many years of trading with the passing traveller to build up a repertoire based on the hiking type.

Shame they couldn’t include the internet.

To say Manang had internet would be generous. If you came here thinking you’d be getting on the internet, you’d get a surprise.

It’s like the internet used to be in 1998. Shit speeds and always dropping out.

Still… The hotel was surprisingly warm. And I managed to fire a couple of postcards off from the High Himalayan style PO.

Woke after a sound nights sleep. Fiddled with the internet for 2 hours plus trying to get maps and other things to work.

Not going to bother with the images today. Suffice to say; I am alive and moving.

Now will be getting on my way.

Day 29: Timang -> Pisang

Day 29: Timang -> Pisang

Through the fruitfarms and glaciers…

Ascended 11,000ft yesterday and 15,000ft the day before.

It’s decidedly more nippy up here.

Had to sleep fully clothed last night.

Electricity and internet are both patchy here in Pisang. For that reason, Google Photos has only decided to upload a select few photos from my phone.

Not only that, but the electricity is patchy and the internet is dial-up speeds.

For that reason, onwards from here, I’m only going to do 2 photo’s one from the morning and one from the evening or afternoon.

Walk from Timang to Pisang

Along the ‘highway’. Very little traffic. A breeze in hiking terms.

Didn’t seem like I’d ascended 10,000ft, but it’s all there on Strava.

Visit the next page to see the best photos from the day.

I’m going to have to stop early on the next day for what they call acclimatization. This time, it actually will be acclimatization.

Thorong La pass is at 5,000m plus. Some people can’t handle that.

At the moment, I’m feeling fine.

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Day 28: Annapurna Circuit – Chemje -> Timang

Day 28: Annapurna Circuit – Chemje -> Timang

Felt good about stopping at Chemje. This is the point the trail departs from the dusty Himalyan highway, and takes it’s own route down the opposite side of the river. Stopping any earlier would have meant walking along the ‘highway’.

Spent most of the morning walking alongside the roaring Marsylangdi. Perty wild, to be sure.

Here on the other side of the mountains, the terrain and environment is much more alpine.

The walking is fairly easy compared to the ups and downs surrounding Chhomrong, Landruk and all the other places on the ABC trek.

So much so, I managed to achieve 15 miles!

Would have liked to have done more but found a nice spot here in Timang.

It’s very pretty here.

Kind of like a Swiss village.

Another pretty village is Tal. It’s a shame Lonely Planet tells you nothing about the best places to stay. I thought that’s what I was paying them for.

They recommend starting at Dharapani. I passed through there today.

Standard kind of affair. Tal is much better. I think I will be doing my own KML of the Annapurna Circuit and uploading it to Google Earth for people to download free, what’s there at the moment is useless.

Actually, thinking about Google and the way it just promotes spam nowadays, I’m not going to bother….

Map.me is a much better app for navigation.

 

Here’s some photo’s from the day.

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Day 26/27: Pokhara and Besi Sahar

Day 26/27: Pokhara and Besi Sahar

Pokhara you will be familiar with, if you’ve been reading the blog.

Besi Sahara less so. Besi Sahar is the gateway to the Annupurna Circuit Trek.

Having failed on my Annapurna Base Camp mission, I decided to return to base, get a couple more bits of kit, and attempt the similarly difficult, Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Map of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Map of Annapurna Circuit Trek

It’s a much longer trek. If you look closely at the map, you may be able to recognise some of my previous destinations in the centre bit.

I’ve got 16 days before I go back home.

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Day 25: Ghorepani -> Ullari

Day 25: Ghorepani -> Ullari

Guy in the hotel tells me ‘all down-hill’.

What relieving words to hear!

True as well. Apart from a few river valleys, it was all downhill.

Poon Hill

Very cloudy in the morning.

Didn’t bother with it. Some people come specifically for this, but I’ve seen enough.

I can’t believe the views of Annapurna and ‘Fish Tail’ mountain can be beaten by the ones I got from my hotel in Chhomrong.

As for the panorama, it was covered in cloud.

Had some breakfast at around 7, and hit the trail.

Easy mode.

Mountain Yaks - Annapurna
Mountain Yaks – Annapurna

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