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Friday, December 2, 2011

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek : Day 3 'Early Gift'


Chomrong Sunset Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Day 3, Nov 19 (day before  my 26th birthday) :  Landruk (1620m) - Himal Qu (1410 m) - Jhinu Danda (1750m) - Taglung (2190m) - Chomrong (2210m)

Still didn't sleep well last night. But I was dreaming of the Annapurna Peaks. Wishing that I get to see them soon. Woke up at around 6:30am. The view from our hotel was two mountain ranges of rice terraces with a river at the middle. There was fog still but only down by the river. But the mountain range and the river were beautiful, mystical.

Landruk Early Morning Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

There were less clouds up in the sky. The sun seemed like it was about to show up just right behind the mountain we were in. And on the right side of the hotel I can see a little bit of a snow-capped mountain. It looked like it was going to be a better day. 

Landruk Sunrise Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
sky's clearing up :)

Landruk Sunrise Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 2
there's a peak! :)

While I was having my masala tea and as time passed by, the sky got clearer and clearer. It was the first time I saw a blue sky in almost nine days. Slowly people in the guesthouse started to wake-up. 

After a few more hours and as we were about to leave at 9:30 am, the sky was clear. I knew it was going to be a great day. Another trekker, Ricardo, also joined us on the trek.

Himal Qu Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 

Descended 210m down to the river. Along the way we passed by a waterfall which was really good and a break from the forests we've passed by for the past two days. The trek down wasn't that tough. It got even more exciting the moment I saw a long suspension bridge with prayer flags on it to cross the river to go the next mountain. It was a bit scary crossing the bridge just because it was a bit tilted by 25 degrees to the left. But it was fun with people from the other side shaking it and just laughing with them. But the exciting part was over after that.

Bridge Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
the trek going up to New Bridge


It was another steep climb up to Jhinu Danda where we first saw our German friends, and the sun made the trek a bit harder. And I made the mistake of wearing a long-sleeved thermal top because I didn’t think it was going to be clear skies all thru out the day. The climb was really tough. What made it tougher was that we had to go down again to cross another river to go to the foot of another mountain where Jhinu Danda (our lunch stop) and Chomrong (our stop for the night) are. It came to the point when my legs were about to give up. But the cow/pony dung along the stairs pushed me forward. I thought that if they can do it, I can. Funny and ridiculous I know, but I was desperate for a thought to push me forward that time. lol

Jhinu Danda, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Nepal

Himal Qu Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 2 
that's where we just came from

After more than three hours of trekking, and going down and up two mountains, we arrived in Jhinu Danda. Changed my thermal top to dri-fit. And then we saw another snow-capped mountain. Now it wasn’t just a short-time moment. I was just so happy and grateful. I knew that the trek we did was worth it. Took a lot of photos of it, of course. Then a Tibetan old man, who thought I was Tibetan, showed us where Chomrong, our next stop, is. It’s right on top of the mountain! But he assured us that we could see more of the Himalayas up there – Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail). It’s another two-hour trek and all steep uphill or up-mountain as I’d like to call it to Chomrong. But I held on to that assurance.

Jhinu Danda Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

By this time, my muscles were already sore. But I knew I had to pay gratitude for the clear skies He gave us. Left at around 2:30 pm. Five minutes into it, my legs were already complaining. I decided to bring out my i-pod since Justin and Ricardo were almost five minutes ahead of me, and Paul wasn’t planning on leaving Jhinu Danda until 3:00 pm. It was more of a distraction actually so I won’t think much of my sore legs and back pain. It helped a lot, but I still had to climb slowly. The thought of the spectacular view waiting for me and of the sunset, as the peaks turn orange, pushed me forward.

We stopped midway at a small teahouse. There was a young boy just sitting there, I had two Snickers mini-bar left. Just because I was so happy of the view that was slowly presenting itself, I gave him one. Of course Justin and Ricardo were hoping I’d give them too. hehe

After a five minute break, we’re on our way up again. Countless Namaste! and encouragements were extended to me. “About thirty minutes more. You can do it!”. Which is also one of the things I love about trekking.


Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Chommrong
who wouldn't want to take a break right here? :)

Passed by another house. A woman was talking to me in Nepali. I told her I couldn’t understand Nepali.

“Where are you from?”
“Philippines.”
“Philippines! I like Filipinos! Very nice. Same face.” She was so happy, and pointed out that Nepalese and Filipinos have the same facial features.
“Yes, very similar. We love Nepalese too!”
And just as I was about to leave she said “You have beautiful face.” I took it as a compliment just because she wasn’t trying to sell me anything and she was super nice. haha

At 4:00pm, I made it to Chomrong at 2120m elevation. As I was about to go into Himalayan View Hotel, I saw the most amazing view I’ve ever seen in my life. A panoramic view of each of the Peaks the old Tibetan man told me in Jhinu Danda. The peak of Fish Tail was still partly covered by cloud, but it was really amazing. I knew, personally, that this was His personal advanced birthday gift to me.


Chomrong Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

After resting for a bit, I took a quick hot shower and went down again to wait for the sunset. Slowly the clouds descended. And the peaks turned a bit orange especially the Fish Tail. I was so happy. The toughest day, physically, has been worth it.


Chomrong Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 2

Had pizza for dinner and two San Miguel Beers (!) in can with Justin and Paul. Met fellow trekkers and cracked up again the whole night. Ricardo’s ‘Goldfish Moments/Syndrome’, Justin’s ‘Getting lost because he has a hard time pronouncing Nepali villages’, Paul’s ‘Pinky Toe Cramps’, and Lena from the US who we had a good time sharing stories with.

While waiting for the sunset, the hotel owner told me how lucky we were to have seen the peaks and to have clear skies. He said that the sky hasn’t cleared up for nine days. He was right, we were indeed very lucky. I am super lucky and blessed, and really grateful.

Lena asked me earlier ‘What’s your most memorable trip so far?’

‘This. I thought India was going to be the most memorable. But this is.’

Chomrong Sunset

I thought to myself it’s not just because of the spectacular view. It’s also because of the turn of events the last nine days we’ve been in Nepal - from not being able to fly to Lukla and getting disappointed, and two days in the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek with foggy and rainy weather. I’d like to personally thank the wonderful woman from Pothana for offering prayers for my birthday and the checkpost man in Dhampus who wished me well for the trek.

It has been a tough and rewarding day. Tomorrow is my 26th, I'm hoping for clear skies again :)