I have to admit that some good incidents happen in life without planning. A friend of mine called me and asked if I would be interested to join a group of friends for a trek to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) when I had least expected it though it was definitely a high priority on my bucket list.
The next day, seven of us made it to Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna region.
ABC trek is one of the most popular trekking destinations not only in Nepal, but also in the entire world. Mount Annapurna is tenth highest peak of world and stands toweringly at an altitude of 4130 m.
As we didn’t have enough time, we decided to start our trek from Syauli Bazaar which is one of the routes to reach Annapurna. We can also reach the ABC from Nayapul or Dhampusphedi.
As we set off and walked through well-trodden trails, we moved passed villages of different ethnic groups, precisely Gurungs and Magar. On the way, we crossed our path with foreign trekkers, who greeted us with a series of Namastes.
After around five hours of walk, we reached Jhinu Danda, the first station of our jaunt. We were welcomed with amazing food which tantalized our tongue.
The next day, we started our walk early in the morning and stopped at Chomrong for breakfast. The hike became even more fascinating after reaching Chomrong as we got an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking vista of the sunrise, with beautiful mountain views.
Once we crossed Sinwa, the forest became dense. For the time being, the forest was immediate sunburn relief for us.
Before reaching Bamboo for lunch, we moved past a forest full of bamboo, fern plants and rhododendron trees, beautiful waterfalls and suspension bridges clad with prayer flags. The exotic sounds of birds chirping and flowing of Modi River in the background made us forget our fatigue and recharged us.
We reached at Dovan and decided to stop for the day.
On the way to Dovan from Bamboo, we were rewarded by the majestic and up-close views of lofty Mt. Machhapuchhre, Annapurna South and Huinchuli. Machhapuchhre is believed to be one of the homes of Lord Shiva and it has never been officially summitted.
On the third day we began our walk at the dawn and decided to hike till the dusk.
As we trudged higher up towards Deurali, the dense forests gradually gave us way to patches of tall grass mostly blue joint reed grass.
After fews hours of walk, we finally reached MBC also known as the Machhapuchhre Base Camp where the terrain turns alpine. We were struck by cold wind and ice started to unfold above us but we kept watching the dramatic and scenic views of snowcapped Mt Machhapuchhre.
Though we were excited on the one hand, we were also concerned whether we can make it to the ABC.
When we finally reached the base camp after 2 hours of walk, it was a dreamlike moment. It is quite hard to put into words how we felt at that moment.
Actually, we were supposed to stay at the MBC, but we could not stop ourselves and headed towards the base camp.
From the base camp, we got the chance to enjoy the glorious sunset views from the casement of Mt Annapurna.
The very night some of our friends showed symptoms of altitude sickness like shortness of breath and headache. We offered them medicines and they felt good in a short while.
We were eagerly waiting for the next morning to experience the sun rise from the lap of Mt Annapurna.
As the sun gently rose, the snow-capped Annapurna range gradually started to turn into the celestial gold while on the opposite site, we saw the smiling face of snow-glittering Mt Machhapuchhre. The moment was surreal.
During our descent to the valley from the base camp, we went to a natural hot spring, which was 25 minutes walk from Jhinu Danda, situated on the lap of mountains, where we cleansed ourselves and reflect on the journey.
The best season to trek to Annapurna Base Camp is October, November, December and March, April, May.
Last but not the least, the ABC trek, one of the idyllic stupendous trekking, is the best way to reach the paradise on earth. It is the hike which will attract a normal mind easily. ABC trek is the best place to dip-dive into the nature.
Photos: Kishor Sunuwar, Achitra Thieng