As expected, I sorted out the travel insurance issues and found a Sherpa guide in time to leave for the much-awaited trek. The insurance company ultimately agreed to waive the age limit requirement for an extra premium. And I found a well-recommended sherpa to guide me through the ranges for a spectacular view of Annapurna range(ABC), Machhapuchhre (MBC), Hiunchuli, and the Dhaulagiri mountains on the Nepalese side of the Himalayas. I was on my way to Annapurna early in the morning on 16 November.
After a short flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and a 45-minute drive, I started trekking from Kande the very next day. A steep slope cut into steps through the forests. The equally steep climb thereafter was tiring. An unexpected 3-kilometer lift in a passing jeep helped us to get to our night halt at Lankdruk.
The trek to Chomrung, the next day took me through thick pine and bamboo forests. The 9-hour strenuous trek became all the more difficult because of the steps that were 12-to-18 inches high each. Of course, all strain in the Himalayas is worth the pain. This time my fruit was a magnificent glimpse of the Annapurna-Hiunchuli-Fishtail mountain range.
And of course, the Himalayan weather is allowed to change its mood as it very much did the next day. Half way through the day it began to rain. We were told that the path ahead had even heavier rains and that it was snowing Deurali onwards. In fact, a heavy snow fall 3-4 ago was followed by a major avalanche and had made the route to ABC inaccessible. Hoping that the weather would improve and the path would open up, I decided to continue. Just a day away from MBC and ABC, the weather conditions deteriorated further. Heavy snow fall and another dangerous avalanche had blocked the trekking ridges. Those who were stuck on the other side had somehow managed to come back, a few of them limping with ankle and knee injuries. It was anticipated that it would take a few days for the weather to improve.
I had to return. I had a view of the mountains which would have been clearer if the weather cooperated. I could have had an even closer and clearer panoramic view. Anyway, it was a tough trek and in the end I am grateful that my ankles, knees, heart and energy supported me commendably.
Come 16th November, I will be out for for my next expedition. This time it will be a a trek to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) in Himalayas in Nepal which will last till 26 Nov 2018. The Annapurna region is regarded as one of the best trekking destinations on the planet.
Three years back, in end April 2015, I planned for this expedition. But just a week before I was to leave, there was a severe earthquake in Nepal, killing almost 10,000 people. All tourist activities were closed. Next 3 years kept me busy in other expeditions like Drive from Road to London, solo drives to Iceland, Yellowstones in USA and Candian Rockies. I am now attempting to trek ABC again. Like the trek to Mt Everest BC, again I will be trekking all alone, of course with a Sherpa as a guide.
I wish the various authorities consider the energy level as a criteria to assess the abilities of a person rather than the age. Some of the initial challenges I am facing are due to my age factor of 73+. I expect to resolve these issues in the next 2-3 days and be ready to commence my journey on time.
I hope to share my excitements and anxious moments with you as I keep moving.
In the meanwhile I certainly need your good wishes and blessings for smooth completion of my dream.