Annapurna Circuit - DAY 5
Although it’s been available all along the route thus far, i enjoy my first (and last) hot shower for the trip in Pisang this morning. The blister is dressed with a team mate’s Moleskin (prime quality product, if you ask me.) Also, it’s finally time to pack away my shorts and whip out the long pants. The weather has taken an icy turn since yesterday, and after all, it’s autumn and we’re 3,250m above sea level. It’s bound to cool down sometime.
After a stop at the drinking water station, we set off towards Manang in some pretty icy weather. Once again we ascend steadily. By the time we reach Humde, the proprietoress of the Airport Hotel is ready for us. (Yes, there is an airport at Humde, which is used for charter flights.) Her baked goods are fresh from the oven and she cunningly set them out on a covered tray on her garden wall. As soon as she sees some bone-weary hikers approach, she lifts the cover and the smells of the warm sweet rolls does the trick. Without any protest, we take a tea break. We order seconds and then load the blue bags on our backs to hit the trail again.
The road to Braga is pleasant enough, but as we get closer to Manang, the trail gets very crowded with trekkers, as many arrive from the Ngawal route and the Ice Lake to joins us on the main road. Here for the first time we are offered thorn juice. We are curious, but not curious enough, and Manang is still 2km away. As soon as you leave Braga, you can see Manang on its hillside perch and it seems so close, but that’s only an illusion. As we approached Braga, the interesting rock formations that had have caught our attention since Humde creep closer to the road. That-Man prods as much as he’s able to: “Why don’t you take a picture?” But by now i'm tired to the bone, cold and working on a serious bout of post-nasal sinus drip, which causes me to withdraw from the chatter around me and focus on finishing as soon as my body can carry me to a bed. There’s no energy left for taking photos. This attitude is of course the reason why i'll eventually return home without the photo.
The fact that Manang sits on a hill means that we have to climb that hill before we’re able to find a place to sleep for the night. They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. That may be true eventually. Tomorrow i’ll probably be stronger, but today i'm merely weary.
The Hotel Yeti will be our home for the next two nights. Our room is spacious and the beds are comfortable. Hot showers are still available. In theory. At a price, as always. The food is good, as has been the case all along the route. The menu is varied and altogether our stay here is very comfortable. The hotel also has a coffee shop and bakery, with cappuccinos and espressos and freshly baked cakes and biscuits galore. Once again, at a price. Luxuries are getting more expensive at an increasing rate, but this is what we’d expected, isn’t it?
As we’ll be staying here for two days, we all do some laundry here. The hotel offers a laundry service, but we opted to do it ourselves and save a few bucks.
The view towards Gangapurna (7,454m altitude) from the hotel’s deck is captivating. i resolve to bring my camera here tomorrow morning early for a long exposure shot.
DAY 5 PLANNED: Manang (Acclimatisation)
DAY 5 IN REALITY: Lower Pisang to Manang
DAY 5 DISTANCE: 16km
DAY 5 WALKING TIME: 6 hours
DAY 5 ALTITUDE GAIN: 290m
DAYS BEHIND: 1
DAY 1 BUDGET PP: $25
DAY 1 COST PP:$28
ACCUMULATED SAVINGS PP: $28
Other articles in this series include: