11/21/09: Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
It’s only been two days since leaving the Annapurna region, and already the number one thought on my mind has turned to who won the Big Game. (For those of you living under a rock, the Big Game refers to when Ohio State thumps Michigan in American college football each year before Thanksgiving.) I suppose that means this is a good time to reflect on the days that were. Besides, all we have to show for our trek now are a couple thousand pictures, dirty pants and a 16-day beard. And you can hardly see the beard.
So what did we learn while trekking?
It’s not a walk in the park. Zhou and I are very lucky to have completed the circuit without any real injury. She got a pretty bad blister on one toe and I wound up with a sore wrist after a fall, but that’s about it. We covered so much tricky terrain and icy trails that it would have been incredibly easy to sprain an ankle or much worse.
Shortness isn’t a disadvantage. We measured once and Zhou takes about six steps for every five of mine. Over 140 miles, the extra steps would definitely add up, and based on how tired I was, Zhou would have been dead. But since even the flat parts of the trail are often quite rocky, I wasn’t able to put my height to good use by taking big steps. That’s the only reason why Zhou was faster than me at times.
I’ll eat anything when I’m hungry. The new food count didn’t increase by as much as it could have, but it seemed like every day I ate something I hadn’t had before the trek. It even got to the point where I was eating tomato slices whole and ordering the previously-dreaded curry over the previously-delicious fried rice. To top it all off, I learned that you don’t actually have to eat meat every day, let alone every meal. I smashed my “I’ll be a vegetarian for one day” record by going over eight days without swallowing any animals. Mom and Dad, I know I’ve changed, but I hope you still love me.
Smartwool is better than Thorlo. I put on my good Thorlo socks for one day of hiking and they smelled worse than Jerry’s car in the B.O. episode. But the two pairs of Smartwools were the gifts that kept on giving. It’s not often that one needs to wear the same socks for ten days in a row, but if you do, “don’t be a fool, get the ‘Wool.”
You can do anything if you set your mind to it. Except fly. Or grow to ten feet tall. Or outrun Usain Bolt. Actually there’s a lot of things you can’t do, and many things you shouldn’t try. I’m reminded of the famous Homer Simpson quote: “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” But when it comes to trekking a popular circuit in Nepal, there will probably be days where you feel like you aren’t going to make it, but if you try hard enough and the weather conditions allow, you can do it. Zhou and I did.
Picture of the Day: There’s nothing quite like sunset over a small river surrounding Chitwan National Park in Nepal.