11/09/09: Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Day 6: Chame to Ghyeru (7 hours)
Thanks to a chance encounter at lunch, today was the closest I’ll ever get to meeting Santa Claus. And that wasn’t even the best part of the day.
Zhou and I were ready to call it quits for the day in a small town called Pisang, when another young couple came in to eat lunch as we were finishing up. After a bit of conversation they convinced us to take the high road (literally, as Zhou and I always take the high road figuratively) to the next main stop in Manang. To the surprise of you readers who don’t think very much of us, this high road actually involved a 400-meter climb in the afternoon, whereas the low road involved no climb whatsoever on the following day. Why would we do such a thing and forfeit our planned afternoon off? As always, for the views.
On our short journey to the main climb, we approached a rotund old Nepalese man in red clothing riding a horse. After a friendly greeting, we casually asked him how much further to Ghyeru. He thought for a second before responding “two hours.” Apparently his horse took offense to this comment, and jolted to a sprint to prove that he had done it in less than two hours. The next part is where the man reminded me of Santa, and therefore led to the sweet first sentence hook that has you reading with anticipation (only to soon be let down).
His “sleigh” pulled away
‘Twas dancing and dashing
His mind raced when he thunk
The last answer rehashing
With a shout of despair
He rode out of sight
Saying “one and a half hour!”
“One and a half hour!” hike
Let down yet? You had to be there.
Anyway, the best part of the day was the amazing scenery from Ghyeru (3,780 meters above sea level). We were surrounded by Annapurna II, III and IV, three snow-covered peaks each over 7,500 meters tall. I just wish the pictures could do them justice.
Picture of the Day: It’s nice being a guy – I can take off my long underwear whenever I feel like it even in a country where it’s a bit taboo to hold hands in public.