Going Down. Down. Down. Muktinath to Pokhara via Poon Hill

Going Down. Down. Down. Muktinath to Pokhara via Poon Hill

So to get this online a little quicker we’ve condensed the downhill part of the trip, Muktinath to Pokhara via Poon Hill, into one post. We both worked on writing it so I hope it’s not to hard to follow…

Muktinath to Jomsom to Tatopani – October, 9 2014

Liz’s 3 things:
– Jeep to bus to jeep
– Worlds deepest gorge
– Best and worst of Nepali people

We took a jeep from Muktinath to Jomsom. Barely made it on the jeep – lets just say lines or who got there first isn’t really a thing. Rick may or may not have had to use his sticks. Probably one of the roughest roads I’ve been on. But we were so glad to be out of the cold desert!


Nice and cozy in the jeep!

The Worst Part of the Day:
In Jomsom we said goodbye to Brad and Song as they were going to fly to Pokhara then we barely got on a bus (Liz says,”Thanks for Rick’s aggressiveness we made it!”). And about 5 min later we got a flat tire. It was changed over the course of an hour (by a boy who couldn’t have been more than 11 years old… gotta start ’em early) or so while we watched subsequent busses pass us. Back on the road, we should’ve taken note that the mechanic got on with us. We proceeded to stop for every single broken down vehicle on the road – an entire bus of people. We got to experience lots of roadside culture… Dropping off a parts. More work on the tire. Different bus broke down and blocked a bridge. Yet another bus drove INTO river instead of bridge. A dozen jeeps backedup at a narrow point where the bus didn’t fit. Needless to say it was a looooong bus ride.

Even the cows were a little aggressive in Jomsom!
Even the cows were a little aggressive in Jomsom!

Bus in the river Nepal Bus broken down Nepal


Little Nepali Girl with Kitten
During one of our many “Stops” we saw this little girl with her kitten.

Narrow roads in Nepal

Once we made it to Ghasa though, we had another problem. No room on the bus that was leaving then for Tatopani. Also no room for non-Nepali on the one that was coming in a couple hours to go to Tatopani. Mind you this was all learned by running around a crowded dirt lot with 10 busses sitting there in half sign language, half nepali and a lot of “No!” But definitely some non-Nepali discrimation going on! Liz got to practice putting her American desire for efficiency and relaible timelines to rest. I say she did really well.

The road down to Tatopani, Nepal

The Best Part of the Day:
So we thought we were going to have to walk and just as we were about to set out this older nepali man flags us down and asks if we want to share his jeep. BEST decision of the day!!  We got in the back and got to enjoy wonderful conversation with these three native nepali men from Upper Mustang (that’s farther north than we were, it’s a desolate super high altitude desert plateau. It’s $250/day just to get in for US citizens).

Jeepin' on The Road to Totapani, Nepal Waterfall on The Road to Totapani, Nepal The Road to Totapani, Nepal The Road to Totapani, Nepal


Broken Jeep in Nepal
Our jeep broken down but only briefly as the driver was also a mechanic!


They were all brilliant well educated and knew nepal so well! The youngest was a genetic scientist about to go study genetics of snow leopards! They told us we were jeeping through the worlds deepest gorge! And no kidding the drop from 20,000+ ft mountains to 300 ft above sea level was crazy and made for incredible scenery.

The Road to Totapani, Nepal

We were a little sad we didn’t hike that piece of it… BUT the beauty of slow travel and having everything on your back is that you can fix that!

Out of the Jeep! Nepal

We’re Thankful for:
So while they offered to take us to Beni, we got out early at Tatopani to enjoy the hot springs and do some hiking in the area. At the recommendation of one of our Nepali jeep mates we stayed at Darmasali Hotel which his cousin owned. We stayed in a lovely guest house with an orange garden all around. Then it was a short walk through the garden and down some stairs to the hot springs. Great hot springs, highly recommended!!! It was more polished than the last (Chame) and a lot more popular, it was privatized so we payed 100NPR each to get in but totally worth it. Two giant knee deep hot tubs one was crazy hot, the other was larger and more of an enjoyably hot temperature. They had drinks and food for sale as well but all we wanted was a bottle of water.

We debated staying in Tatopani  for a couple of days just to keep using the hot springs but instead decided to hike to Poon Hill instead of continuing on the road to Pokhara as it’s kind of on the way; except for the 2000m climb. It adds a couple days but we think it will be great!

Chicks with Chicken
Just a bunch of Nepali chicks.


Tatopani to Sikha – October 10, 2014

3 things:
– Bonus time! We thought we were heading straight back to Pokhara but changed our minds and started the Poon Hill trek, so I consider this “bonus time” and somehow bonus time always seems to end up being the best time. I think today may be my favorite day of trekking.
– Lush green mountain sides
– Snow capped Nilgiri Mountain

The Road to Totapani, Nepal

The Best Part of the Day:
Hard to pick… We started off late and said “we’ll just go as far as we feel like” there’s something really cool about that open ended-ness. The other days I guess we could have done that, but we had a pass to get over and it was a cold, harsh environment. Now we’re in this tropical, but mountainous and cold at night, but warm in the day environment. We saw only a few trekkers today. And it really seemed like the locals were friendlier. The landscape is finally what I had dreamed Nepal would be like… Lush, but incredibly steep mountainsides with waterfalls flowing, shaded rocky paths, mixed with rice fields, and snow capped mountain vistas the whole time. And it seems like Rick and I have hit our communication groove finally…

Or maybe it’s just me and I’m finally starting to settle into this new life?


Rick scored the best room!! We have two sides with windows! A double bed! With a good mattress!  A gas hot water shower – in our room!!!

Our Room in Sikha, Nepal.

I’m thankful for:
Just about everything today!! I’d say freedom to do what we want and go where we want.


Sikha to Ghorepani – October 11, 2014

Sikha to Ghorepani was a nice relaxing hike once we figured out which way to go…

Sign to Ghorapani, Nepal

3 Things:
-Yak cheese – amazing!!
– Baby goat playing on baby water buffalo
– Stairs, stairs and more stairs!

A baby goat playing on a baby water Buffalo

The Best Part of the Day:
We found a guy selling yak cheese and it rocked!

Yak Cheese is Good!

The Worst part of the day:
We say a snake!

A snake in Nepal

I’m thankful for:
A short hiking day!

Nepali Horses


Gorepani to Poon Hill to Pokhara – October 12, 2014

3 things:
– Stairs. Stairs. Stairs.
– Home sweet home – Pokhara!

Our earliest start yet, 4:20am hiking. The goal is to beat the sun up to Poon Hill (3210m) for an amazing sunrise. We made is up to the top and witnessed a pretty remarkable sunrise across the mountains. Then it was down down down. Due to some budget miscalculations on my part (and pretty much zero ATMs on the trail, with the exception of Jomsom) we decided to try and make it all the way to Pokhara today.

The sunrise view from Poon Hill, Nepal.


The sunrise view from Poon Hill, Nepal.

The sunrise view from Poon Hill, Nepal.

The Best Part of the Day:
It’s a toss up between the beautiful sunrise from Poon Hill and making it back to our little home in Nepal, Pokhara.

The Worst part of the day:
Our day included some of the most rediculous “stone stairs” imaginable, Know as the Stairs of Ulleri 500 vertical meters of stairs… Soooo thankful we were going down, but still took it’s toll. So many stairs the number was actually noted on the map (3420 but there is no way that is accurate as some of the steps had steps of their own, like little baby steps). For a little perspective, imagine going to the very tip-top of the needle on the Empire State Building; then taking the stairs all the way down, then once you got to the ground floor you still had 70 more meters to go down… and they are all made out of rocks, of various sizes shapes and textures. Fun times!


This side of the mountains still seemed to have the better scenery, lots of beautiful waterfalls and jungle.

Jungle stream in Nepal.

Once we made it into Birethanti, and got our TAMs cards checked one last time we got a great offer on a taxi to Pokhara (2000NPR) so we took it! We would have continued to hike down the road to Natapul for another 45 minutes but judging from the view from the taxi, the taxi ride was definitely the better choice… lots of touts, a small garbage dump between towns and a dusty busy road.

The Bridge in Birethanti, Nepal.

We rolled into Pokhara and straight to find Bayan Tree right where we left it 2 weeks earlier with it’s awesome porch waiting for us to kick our feet up!

Bayan Tree, Pokhara, Nepal


Thorong La Pass!!! (5416m) – October 8, 2014

Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Today was THE DAY! We went over Thorong La Pass at 17,769 feet! And even climbed a little higher to go over 18,000 feet!

We stayed at High Camp the night before, the highest you possibly can stay overnight on the Circuit.

Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

It’s a 3 hours climb to the pass from High Camp. All 110 beds were filled at high camp, porters and guides were sleeping in tents and rumor was about 40 slept in the dinning hall. The next morning high camp was buzzing at 4 am. We started up with Song at 5:09 am. It was cool seeing all the little headlamps make their way up the path in the dark like little glowing ants.


The wind on both sides of the pass gets unbearable starting at 10am so you want to be over and a couple hours down the other side by then. It was crazy to see the line of hikers, going by the light of each of our headlamps only, slowly crawling up the mountain. And it was so cold!!

Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

We watched the sun come up as we made our way up. It was a steep incline up all of the way. We struggled to breathe at the high altitude and with the steep grade… so it was little baby steps the whole time. Little by little we inched our way up the pass. We were definitely ahead of most of the crowd though, so we were feeling good about our progress.

Sunrise Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

We summited the pass at about 8:15 AM. I think we had expected it to be this beautiful viewpoint, peaks all around, glorious mountain views…. It was not. I don’t know why I was thinking that, I mean it’s a pass, the low point to cross between mountains. It was gravely and steep. But what it lacked in beauty it made up in grandeur. I still couldn’t believe how high up we were.

Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Song had grand plans of hiking up the hill an extra 250 ft to clear 18,000 ft with his altimeter watch. We agreed that would be a cool accomplishment so we joined him and made it to 18,010 ft!  That extra 250 feet, I have to admit, were pretty hard just due to the altitude and lack of oxygen. But totally worth it! That means that we hiked higher than the 2nd highest peak in the United States – only Mt Mckinnley is higher than where we hiked in the U.S.

18010 Feet Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal
18,010 Feet Above Sea Level

Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

We spend about an hour on the pass, took a bunch of pictures, had some tea and then started down the other side.

Down was very steep and gravely. We made our way down and at the first tea house ran into Brad who had come up to meet Song. He had gotten altitude sickness and decided it was better to just get over the pass and down than go back down to Manang.

Mules going up Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal

We checked out the “Russian Sauna” we had seen lots of stickers ads for which turned out to be a large (and presently cold western sauna (cedar boards and all) and they wanted 5,000npr ($50usd) to turn it on for us, just a touch out of our price range 😉

Small avalanche Thorong La Pass Annapurna Circuit Nepal
Another small avalanche

We ended up staying at Hotel Bob Marley which had a great shower and bathroom (!!!!! YEA !!!!) and good food. We enjoyed a hot shower, apple pie and a beer to celebrate our big accomplishment. It still got really cold at night in Muktinath and was super windy… in a moment of weakness, Liz couldn’t help herself and bought a warm wrap/shawl make of baby yak wool from a local craftswoman. It was incredibly warm… I have a feeling you’ll be seeing that wrap in a few pictures over the next week! She won’t take the thing off!

Made it to Muktanath Annapurna  Circuit Nepal



Churi Letdar – Thorong La High Camp (4925m) – October 7, 2014

Throng La High Camp, Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Mountain Goats

It was a very cold and overcast start to the morning at 7:00am. We saw a large heard of big horn sheep on the way to Throng Phedi. Later we found out from Brad that there was a wolf stalking them as well, but we never saw it. We survived the “danger zone,” a 20 minute section that cuts across an extremely loss gravelly rockslide area the warning signs say “Step lightly.” It was about two hours all in to Throng Phedi. We saw a hand written note from Brad to Song on the gate entering the village that said thatBrad was going to cross the pass today and would meet him in Muktinath tomorrow (crazy as he started in Yak Kharka and apparently passed us somewhere on the trail, probably along the section where there were 2 routes, one on either side of the river). After a quick break we were off for another 1 hour and 15 minutes of step climbing on lose rock up to high camp.

the Danger Zone Annapurna Circuit Nepal P1040310

A lot of other people were talking about going over the pass as it was only 10:15am when we reached high camp and the clouds were moving out. We decided to stick with our plan to enjoy the altitude and the views and have an easier start to crossing the pass in the morning.

Thorong La High Camp Annapurna Circuit Nepal Thorong La High Camp Annapurna Circuit Nepal

After getting a room we took the short 20 minute hike to the view point to take pictures. Then we settled into the dinning hall and talked with an isreali couple planning a road trip in the US for their honeymoon… Made me a bit jealous for good food!! Shortly there after, Song came into high camp and we spent the afternoon chatting with him and playing 3 man spades before more of the Isrealis showed up and we learned to play Yanni, and made up a few new catch phrases; “You gotta risk it, to get the biscuit.” We think it’s the made-up equivalent of “go big or go home.”

P1040363 P1040361 P1040375 Thorong La High Camp Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Liz’s 2 Things:
– 16,158 ft highest we’ve ever been! Thorong La High Camp is the last place you can stay before crossing the pass
– Blue Mountain Sheep – we saw a whole herd close up!
– Cold, cold cold! Boy it was cold and windy. We arrived in Thorong La High Camp early and it was chilly then, only to get chillier. Even inside, they said it wasn’t winter so no fire inside… which means NO heat! bundle up and order some hot tea and hope for the best. The bathroom run was quite cold. It was not near any of the rooms mind you… it was out in the middle of the complex, a good 20 yard sprint from the dining hall where we hung out or our room. But a good sleeping bag and a down jacket and we made it.


Best Part of Liz’s day:
Crazy panorama views from up here of the Chulus, the Amnapurna range, even Annapurna 1 (which is the biggest and we haven’t gotten to see yet!!)

Thorong La High Camp Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Liz’s Worst part of today:
Thorong La High Camp is crowded and lacking in charm or amenities, and freakin cold!! We got in early, about 11am, which was good so we got a room (about 40 guides had to sleep in the kitchen and many porters had to sleep outside in tents). But getting in early kinda sucked because it was too windy and cold to be outside really so we had to sit around in the common room of the tea house – unheated. I swear I was cold for 20 hours straight! But we did make some new Israeli friends and learned a new card game “Yanniv”? Which I turned out to be pretty good at and it was a lot of fun!

I’m thankful for: still feeling good, no altitude sickness which can be deadly at these altitudes. God is blessing us with good health, a wise and careful husband who acclimatized us well and good meds to help too!

Thorong La High Camp Annapurna Circuit Nepal

Memory Verse:
Assurance of guidance (Proverb 3:5-6)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 

Lost in Translation – Episode 1

Lost in Translation

When Liz and I were brainstorming some blog ideas with some friends before we left one of the ideas was to document things “Lost in translation;” i.e. things that for whatever reason translate really funny, or don’t seem to make any sense at all.

With that back story, I present the very first episode of “Lost in Translation.”

Throughout the trek in the little villages there have been a number of posters, etc. with community messages on them. Many of them around hygiene or keeping Nepal clean; public service announcements.

Then we found this:

Lost in Translation

Unfortunately there wasn’t an english translation, but from the illustration it’s pretty obvious what the message is… maybe not.

Anyone wanna take a shot at translating this one for us? Don’t worry if you don’t know Nepali.

Manang to Churi Letdar (4200m) – October 6, 2014

Annapurna Circuit Manang, Nepal

Got a good early start this morning (6:45am) and made it to Yak Kharka (Yak Attack on many of the signs pointing the way) easily. Nice gentle up hill the whole way.

Yak Attack Kharka

We saw a small avalanche high in the mountains (off Annapurna 3 maybe?). Didn’t get the camera pointed at it quick enough but you can still see some of the snow in the air.

Avalanche - Annapurna Circuit, Cheri Letdar, Nepal Avalanche, Cheri Letdar, Nepal

Just before Yak Kharka we stop to look in a little tea house with a vicious Year-moo I’ll let Liz explain.

We also saw Brad in Yak Kharka and had a little tea with him before heading on for another hour up to Churi Letdar. Staying at the last hotel in Letdar “Hotel Churi Lattar.”

There are at current count at least 5 ways to spell this town:
All of which have appeared on “official” looking signs.


Liz’s 3 Things: 

-Yearr-moo attack
(year-moo is like a ferret type thing, and this one was stuffed) I asked the owner of the little shop if I could take a picture with it. He didn’t speak English, but through charades and pointing, and the kind owner obliged… then he wanted to be in the picture with me… and as I’m smiling for the camera, he makes what I can only guess is a yearr-moo sound and has it jump at me. I was surprised and jumped and so we have the picture. He seemed quite pleased with my reaction to his little joke.

– Fresh yak meat

Fresh Yak Meat, Cheri Letdar, Nepal
That’s some fresh yak meat in that basket.

– Gorgeous views

Cheri Letdar, Nepal

Best Part of Liz’s Day:
Getting in early to our tea house. At such a high altitude, our daily mileage was pretty short, we only hiked for 3-4 hours and were at the next village. There were a couple reasons for this. First, now that we were higher up into the mountains the villages were few and far between, no longer were there little stops all in between. We really went from one village until the next that was our stop for the night. So you either hiked 3-4 hours or you hiked for 8 hours. And because there were fewer villages, it was harder to get a room… we didn’t have our pick of a bunch of places, there would be just 2 tea houses in a village, and if you wanted a room with a bed, you had to get there early! So you didn’t want to try to make it to the next village and arrive late in the afternoon (it gets dark at 4:30-5pm) and not get a room. And the second, main reason for hiking only a few hours a day, is acclimatization. We are climbing in altitude very quickly! Basically constantly walking uphill at a pretty steep grade. And we are being very careful not to climb too quickly for fear of getting altitude sickness – a VERY real concern here. We’re at or above 14,000 feet now, and the precautions are to gain only 500 feet per day, a maximum of 750 feet in a day. We are taking Diamox now twice a day to help with breathing and more than anything to help with sleeping. Your body doest’ get used to the lack of oxegen.

Annapurna Circuit, Cheri Letdar, Nepal

Worst part of today: It was a great day!

Memory verse:
Assurance of forgiveness ( 1 John 1:9)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Annapurna Circuit, Cheri Letdar, Nepal

Manang Acclimatization Day (aka the day hike from hell) October 5, 2014

Manang, Nepal, Ice Lake Acclimatization day

Manang, Nepal, Ice Lake Acclimatization day3 Things:

– Hiked to over 15,000 feet elevation (higher than the summit of a 14teen-er)
– adorable dog guardian of the ice lake at 15k ft
– kinda wanted to die

Best part of the day:
Switched tea houses to “the good one” for our second night in Manang. And it had a warm shower and good food!! Of Dal Bhat – yum!! A good meal, nice shower and friends to hang out with was much needed after the day hike from hell (see worst part of day). We got to chat with some fun folks from Israel and Germany and the States.


Baby Yak with bow, Manang Nepal
Baby, yak. Sooooo cute with his little bow.

Worst part of the day:
Guidebook said “nice half day hike for acclimatization” … And “beautiful ice lake with 360 views of 3 mountain ranges”. It was 5 hours UP. We gained 1,100 m in 10-12k… That’s 3,609 feet in elevation gain ! To put us at 15,000+ ft in altitude. It was no half day hike. There was no ice in the lake, it was more of a puddle. And to ad insult to injury the clouds rolled in just as we were getting to the top, so no 360 degree views for us. On the positive, it was great prep for the next couple days. We don’t go that high again until the day before we cross the pass. And alwadty I feel better acclimated.

Hike to Ice Lake Manang, Nepal.

I’m thankful for:
God giving us bodies that are so adjustable. It’s pretty amazing how my lungs and heart and brain can all change to less oxygen this quickly. And how my muscles and legs are about to carry me up these mountains. It’s a pretty amazing creator that designed these bodies.

Hike to Ice Lake Manang, Nepal.

Memory verse:
1 John 5:5
“Who is it that overcomes the world except he who believes that Jesus us the son of God.”

Prayer flags Ice Lake, Manang, Nepal.

Rick’s Take on the day:
Found good coffee at Tilicho Bakery, 2 double espressos!

“Easy half day Manang Acclimatization Day” turned into death march from hell. Guide book said 4-5 hours, turns out that’s only the uphill part not coming back down.  Good views which would have been better had we started earlier but with switching rooms we got a late start. Clouds rolled in in the afternoon and spoiled most of the views. The lakes themselves weren’t that spectacular, small shallow and surrounded by dusty rocks. Highlight of the hike was the puppy dog that meet us about 14.5k ft and leaded us to the lakes. Sweet dog, all by himself at 15,000 ft!

The Dog at 15,000ft

The Dog at 15,000ft  Manang, Nepal.

New place to stay “Tilicho Hotel” was very nice! Food was great, we both had Dal baht, and seconds! Great common areas and a warmish electric shower.

Owner saw a snow leapard right by our room just 5 days before we arrived, and had lots of pictures to prove it! Soo cool.

Snow Leopard Manang, Nepal

Liz hiding in the Yak Herder Ruins, Manang, Nepal.
Liz hiding in the Yak Herder Ruins.

Ghyaru (3670m) – Ngawal – Manang (3540m) – October 4, 2014

Scenes from Ghyaru to Manang

Yak3 things:
– Yaks!
– Drugs from friends
– Desert

Hiking today was through high altitude desert, which really surprised me. It look a bit like Utah. But with great mountain views!! Saw Annapurna II, III, and IV

Mountain views between Ghyaru and Manang Mountain views between Ghyaru and Manang Mountain views between Ghyaru and Manang

Best thing about today: 
So I haven’t slept in 2 days. I’m exhausted. I mean the sitting up wondering what’s wrong with you that you are so tired but can’t sleep. Staring at Rick sleeping. But it’s supposedly part of the altitude effects that it’s hard to sleep. Today I was over it. Need. To. Sleep. It’s making me crrrrraaazzy! So we got into Manang and met up with some American friends, they were saying they had the same problems and helped us find some drugs to help me sleep.  It’s the next morning now and I feel like singing!!! Yea for kind new friends with medical backgrounds! Rick’s best part of the day was Manang had “everything” for sale so he went a little crazy and got some Pringles, chocolate, TP, comb, sunglasses and cookies!!!

A tale of two drinks:
We stopped at a Tea House in Ngawal for a tea mid-day and they had two surprising additions the the usual, black, mint, ginger, masala teas; Local Herbal Tea and Sea Buckthorn Juice. Now Sea Buckthorn Juice was something I had heard to try and Rick was curious to try “Local Herbal Tea.”



"herbal Tea" and Sea Buckthorn Juice


Well the results are in and Sea Buckthorn Juice is the clear winner… “Local Herbal Tea” tastes like something they sell to adventures trekkers that don’t know any better (Rick). It looks (and tastes)  like it is comprised of stuff they swept up off the porch and steeped  in hot water. Basically it’s like drinking Magnolia Soup (The pretend soup our neighbor girls made for us out of things they found in the yard). Shout out to the Jacobus Girls.

Worst thing about today:
Made a bad choice on the tea house to stay at. Room was ok, but there were no common areas, the staff was not very good or friendly, and the promised hot shower, was neither hot nor a shower. But worst of all was dinner. See when you stay at a tea house/guest house, you have to eat breakfast and dinner there – so the cooking is as important as the room. We got excited upon seeing all of the yaks around that we could get some meat finally! Everywhere advertised yak steak!! So we ordered for dinner. Mistake. It was a sort of meatloaf-esque chunk (maybe 20% meat) seared and covered in mystery gravy, some chunks and a few soggy fries. Like poutine’s evil cousin. Even the plain rice at this tea house was bad! (See: Rick and I debating if the little brown oval shaped things were mouse poop or a special spice. I’m still voting mouse poop)
Our California friends stayed at a different one and we had major tea house envy… Tomorrow we move. 2 nights in manang for acclimatization.

Yucky Yak "Steak"
This was supposed to be yak steak… it was more of a yak meatloaf patty. Even the “salad” was covered with some kind of “gravy.” Just no good.

I’m thankful for: 
Drugs to make me sleep.

Memory verse: 
We were slackers today 🙁

Tomorrow is supposed to be a “rest/acclimatization day” and we heard the “100 rupee monk” (as recommended by or “guide book”) is still alive but sick and in Kathmandu so no easy hike there.  New plan to tackle the Ice Lake tomorrow… our guide book says it’s an easy half day hike.


Annapurna Circuit, Nepal


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Chame (2670m) to Ghyaru (3670m) via Upper Pisang – October 3, 2014

Yeti Hat

3 Things:
– Holy Annapurna 2 views! (that’s a mountain)
– Nepali sheep hats
– Altitude – really starting to feel it! Over 10k feet… Maybe 11k now

P1030816 P1030895

Best part of the day:
Making it to Ghyaru. It was a crazy steep long climb up, about 600 meters up in a mile and a half at the end of our day. I was feeling the altitude. But the little tiny village was so endearing and had incredible views!

Yeti Hat

Worst part of the day:
Breaking my sunglasses! Ugh!! I’m SO mad at myself, I just wasn’t being careful and bent them and pop out the lense. Rick got them semi back together, in a fragile state… And swears he can get them back to new once we are back to town and he has a screwdriver and lighter. Yea for skilled husband!

I’m thankful for: 
Good Nepali home cooking. The guest house in Ghyaru served the best food we’ve had so far! I had Dal Bhat which is the official dish of nepal. It’s varied as to exactly what the flavors are, but it consists of rice, a lentil soup and some kind of other stewed/curry bowl of something (can be veggies, yak, chickeb) this one was rice, lentil soup (dal) and what they call a vegetable curry, but this one didn’t have the overwhelming curry flavor to me… Just good flavor. It was so yummy! And made from the garden outside our window.


Memory verse: 
Assurance of Answered Prayer – John 16:24
“Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.”

Rick’s take on the Day:
As we’ve been hiking we keep passing these walls of Mani Stones. Intricately carved rocks with Tibetan Buddhist prayers carved into them. Thousands of them are pilled into walls like the one below:

Prayer rocks (mori wall) Prayer rocks (mori wall)We almost stopped in Upper Pisang, but our team of 4 (with David and Molly) rallied for the big 2 hour push to Ghyaru at 12,000 Ft with is higher than Manang (the next town on our trek) which will help our acclimatization. Everyone seems to be dealing with the altitude well so far.

Liz, Molly and David
Liz, Molly and David

The last hour and a half from Pisang to Ghyaru was an absolutely crazy uphill 600 vertical meter climb. I was glad we bought walking sticks for 250 nrp north of Dhilur Pokhari to help with the climbing. Our reward was some of the most wonderful views of Annapurna 2 from Upper Pisang and the amazing views of Annapurna 4 from Ghyaru.

The accommodation in Ghyaru are much sparser, but very endearing none the less.


Liz and RickTrekking is feeling good!

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Danakyu (2300m) to Chame (2670m) – October 2, 2014

Scenes from Danakyu - Chame

Scenes from Danakyu - ChameToday we had a much easier walk. While the trail is marked pretty well, occasionally there are challenges…

Two signs pointing opposite directions to Chame?
Which way to Chame?

I also realized that trying to capture all of the details of every day in a blog is going to kill me! So we met some great folks from California today (the first Americans we’ve met in Nepal) who had a great idea; A daily journal with, where we started and ended, and 3 words/things/phrases that best highlight the day, and maybe a sentence or two… I’m changing it a bit to answer our “family dinner questions” (Jacobus family shout out!); Best part of the day, Worst Part of the Day, and What I’m Thankful For.

So that’s my new goal! And pictures of course! More detail when we can. So far on our hike we’ve been trying to memorize a bible verse a day, so I’ll add that too.

3 Things:
– California friends (Molly and David)
– First mountain views and Apple country
– Hot springs

Best part of the day:
Meeting fun new friends to hike and chat with, who have a much better guide book than us!

Worst part of the day:
Nothing bad really… Our new friends getting stomach sick

I’m thankful for:
A wonderful patient husband who takes my hangry-grumpiness, random freak-outs and poor trail singing in stride and still loves me

Memory verse
Assurance of Salvation – John 5:24

“I tell you the truth, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be condemned, but has already passed from death into life.”

Kids selling apples on the road side.
Kids selling apples on the roadside
The "Hot Spring" in Chame.
This was the “Hot Spring.” It was hot and fairly relaxing.

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Chamje (1430m) to Danakyu (2300m) – October 1, 2014

Chamje to Danakyu Photo Collage
 Chamje to Danakyu Photo Collage
We set off from Chamje (1430m) after breakfast with our new friends, but quickly, they outpaced us (helps that they had porters!)  and then we took “the scenic route” from the fancy guide book Rick got ([amazon text=Trekking the Annapurna Circuit&asin=B00F1X3LQ6]). In my estimation, it was just on the other side of the river and had massive ups and downs, while the road was a steady climb and faster. So we lost our friends. The waterfalls were crazy incredible though.
It was so much more lush than I dreamed!! And gorgeous flowers everywhere – like all of the ones you see at the florist just growing everywhere – zinnias, gladiolus and a bunch I can’t remember the names of! And the most beautiful butterflies ever!
We are hiking along side the river at least every day so far. Not because it’s pretty, but because it’s the only way you can get around the enormous mountains. The mountains are so different here. They are so straight up, so steep, so sharp. This days hike was incredible with the lush forest and waterfalls, but it was a LONG day and bit of a beating.
Suspension Bridge
We happily ran into our friends later that afternoon when we stopped for the day in Danakyu (2300m), and found the BEST guest house yet!!! I think we were the first people to stay in our room – they are amazing craftsmen here. All hand made out of wood and perfectly cut. The room smell of fresh pine and I could’ve sworn the mattresses were Tempurpedic!! At least compared to previous. If you’re ever in the neighborhood we highly suggest the New Manaslu Hotel!
Danakyu Tea House Accommodations
We got our first view of some BIG mountains not the ones we’re hiking, but the Manaslu Range and it was incredible! The mountains are so big they look like clouds!
I have to say I felt like I was staying in a 5 star hotel! HOT shower (which is rare, they all say they have hot solar showers, but that only if you are the first to take it and take a 45 sec shower). Comfy bed! Clean squat toilet! I felt like royalty!  (And they had this awesome Tibetian Dog!)
And my highlight of the day was being allowed to sit in the kitchen next to the fire while our hosts cooked dinner and chat with Leonie and Maryse! In Nepal the kitchen is a private place, you don’t let guests in there, you don’t hang out in there – the best comparison I can think of is like our master bathrooms, kinda. So anyway, we felt so privileged to get to sit and enjoy our Nepali hosts.
Danakyu Tea House Kitchen
Yes… That is fresh goat meat curing over the wood stove.
We ordered dinner and got to watch them make it… From scratch. And from scratch has a different meaning here! We ordered Vegetable Momo – these delicious little dumplings they have here. As soon as we ordered one of the girls goes out to their garden and harvests a bunch of spinach and onion and garlic. And then they start making the dough. It’s an hour and half process. Every step so intricate and so cared about! Folding the Momos is such an art. I couldn’t stop watching and they laughed at me. But they are truly individual pieces of art. And of course tasted delicious!
We so enjoyed getting to know Leonie and Maryse! They have created and fund a home for at risk girls in Pokhara –  they have about 25 girls in the program, from 5 years old to 16 years or so. And they pay for their school — all of the way through!! Which is rare here — and help find them good jobs. Leonie, please send me your school info, once you are done with your trek, so I can share!  They visit the girls every year, and as part of their trip do a trek so we got to learn from the experts! Perhaps we will get to visit them in Switzerland! 🙂
View from Danakyu Tea House
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