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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek : Days 6 and 7 'Breathtaking Mountains'


Machhapuchhare Base Camp 8
nearing the Annapurna Base Camp


Day 6 Nov 22 : Deurali (3140m) – Machhapuchhare Base Camp (3800 m) 

Had the best sleep so far after five days from 8:30pm to around 3:00am. Our room was really nice. Maybe because I’ve had seven hours of sleep already, I had a hard time going back to sleep after that. But it was still good, no symptoms of AMS yet. Caroline and Mandy from the German group woke up early and had a bit of headache and were not able to have a good sleep. They’re staying in Deurali for one more day to rest and acclimatize. I hope they’re feeling a lot better now.

The trail to MBC, a 660m ascent, wasn’t that strenuous. It was a gradual climb with a lot of flat trails and a change in landscape. But today I took it a bit slow and had a lot of rest stops and water breaks to adjust properly to the altitude since AMS starts to manifest at 3500m. We were not in a rush. 

Gate to the Annapurna Sanctuary
'gate' to the Annapurnas :)

In fact, we even stayed at a flat area an hour into the trek to enjoy the sun and just because the ‘gate’ to the Annapurna Sanctuary was slowly presenting itself and it was breathtaking!

  Machapuchare Base Camp 2

Machapuchare Base Camp 3

We stayed there for almost half an hour just taking photos and soaking up the sunlight and the view. The trail was a bit slippery after that because the snow was slowly melting into thin ice. There was snow on the sides of the trail. 

Along the way, there was this lady who said “Hey!” and was so happy to see me. And then I realized that they were the couple from Hong Kong who were also waiting at the airport for a flight to Lukla. We hugged and she got our email addresses. We were all glad to have gotten good weather and amazing views of the Himalayas. 

Machhapuchhare Base Camp
what we passed by going up to MBC

Arrived in MBC just before lunch. Most of the people are going straight to ABC. We wanted to stay put in MBC to adjust to the altitude. So we had the whole afternoon just chillin’ around and sun bathing.

Machhapuchhare Base Camp 2

Machhapuchhare Base Camp 3 
the Fish Tail right behind me

The view is gorgeous from our teahouse (Ganga Purna). The Fish Tail seems so close to us now. But I loved more the mountain ridge covered in snow just right beneath it. From here you can also see the Annapurna I, Gangapurna, Annapurna South, Annapurna II, and Fish Tail. It was again breathtaking. And we also did some photo shoots to kill time. 

Machapuchare Base Camp 4

But at around 2:30 pm, the temperature started to drop fast because the sun was setting/hiding behind the mountain range on our right side. Then we saw Katie again who just came from ABC (she’s a very fast trekker!). And she said that the view from up there is even more breathtaking. It’s a panoramic view of almost all the peaks. I’m so looking forward to it.

Machapuchare Base Camp, Nepal
Fish Tail during sunset

Machhapuchhare Base Camp 4
like there's fire up there. amazing!

Had two garlic soups today and more than 3L of water just to prevent AMS. Hope the weather and our conditions are still good and even better tomorrow. And I hope my camera functions tomorrow. 



Day 7 Nov 23 : MBC (3800m) – Annapurna Base Camp (4200m) – MBC (3800m) – Deurali (3140m) – Himalaya (2800m) 

Had a horrible night last night. Slept early and good at 8:00pm. But suddenly woke up at 11:30pm and had to sit down because my heart was beating so fast and I had a hard time breathing. I took Diamox immediately, it took hours to take effect. I couldn’t lie down still so I was just sitting down for almost thirty minutes. When I lied down I felt nauseous like I was on a hammock and being swayed. The Diamox was also diuretic so I had to go to the toilet almost every hour which meant I had to drink water right after. I was already crying and I thought of my family. It may be an overreaction for some, but it was really scary for me. Good thing I saw Katie outside as we were both going to the toilet. She told me to calm down because my worrying and panicking was just increasing my heart beat more. I was just praying and talking to myself after that ‘Calm your nerves, Angge.’ I was ready to not see ABC then and just descend. It was torture having to check my watch every few moments only to realize that 6am was still hours away. I didn’t get to sleep until 3:00am. 

When I woke up just before 6:00am, my heartbeat was normal again but I felt like my arm and legs were so heavy, and my face bloated. I wasn’t dizzy and can walk properly but I felt slightly lightheaded. Katie even had to point out that it looked like I lost my appetite during breakfast. And I think I did, I just had no energy to eat or do anything. I told Paul I was going to try to walk to ABC but descend afterwards. I told him I can just meet him in Himalaya or Chomrong because I knew that he really wanted to see the sunrise in ABC (just like I do) which meant an overnight stay in ABC. It was so nice of him to tell me that ‘No. You waited for me many times during the trek.’ Plus he was starting to feel a bit dizzy too. So he decided to descend after lunch as well. We also discovered that almost all the trekkers at the teahouse also had a hard time sleeping that night. 

We really took our time going to ABC. The first thirty minutes was pretty hard and I almost backed out because the cold was just worsening my condition. But people who were also on their way up or those going down were just cheering everyone up. One Korean woman even said “Fight!” to me. 

Machhapuchhare Base Camp 5

But as soon as the sun came up, I was slowly feeling better but still light-headed. But the scenery was just amazing. It was just mountain ridges covered in snow on our left. The Fish Tail on our back, and the other peaks slowly presenting themselves fully. And the sky was so blue and cloudless. We were so lucky. 

Machhapuchhare Base Camp 6
trail going up to ABC

As we were nearing ABC, the peaks started to present themselves fully. It was breathtaking. We were surrounded by these beautiful mountains. 

Annapurna Base Camp 2
my favorite view in ABC :D

Annapurna Base Camp 2

Annapurna Base Camp 3

Annapurna Base Camp 4


Stayed for an hour, took photos and soaked it all up. But quickly descended afterwards, we were almost running on the way down. We also saw Lena and Ricardo in ABC. And our German friends while going down to MBC. They were going to ABC and stay there for a bit, but spending the night in MBC. They were cheering me up and wishing me well. I really hope we still get to see them before finishing the trek. 

Annapurna Base Camp 6

Descended 1000m after. Pushed myself despite the lack of sleep, light breakfast, no lunch, and bad headache. When we arrived in Himalaya, I was just so exhausted. But it was all worth it. :)