Covid-19 restrictions brought loads of frustration. I obviously feel for all of those impacted by the virus but as the world starts turning again, my feet got way to itchy not to seize that window of opportunity to return to Nepal.
It was a quick and easy decision. My 5th time in the Himalayan Kingdom, 18 years since I first set foot in Kathmandu.
On my second day in Kathmandu, as I wonder the streets of thamel I meet with very friendly and welcoming Shishir from TREKKING VENUE NEPAL and with whom I feel very comfortable.
30 minutes later I was all set for the next 12 days around the Anapurna. My aim this time is the Thorong La pass and Shyam, Trekking professional guide of the company whom Shishir appointed to take me through this trek, seems to be the perfect walking companion.
After a slow but comfortable bus ride we reach our starting point, Bhulbule. As we are crossing forests and slowly climbing I feel a bit frustrated not being able to see landscape: our first few walking days are covered by a foggy weather, due to bush fire around the country, polluting the sky.
When rain eventually started pouring every night, it cleared up the sky and every morning got sunnier than the other.
We are crossing those typical Nepali villages along the days. The one I particularly enjoyed was the walk from Upper Pisang, a simply peaceful, beautiful and quiet mountain village where I feel I could have stayed for few days. The night before after a nice long sunny walk, snow stared falling heavily when we arrived. Magical. Our host lighting the fire in the evening clearly worth all luxury.
The following morning, despite the frozen water in my bottle, the view from the wooden window is simply amazing. The highest Annapurna peak are here, strongly and humbly standing in front of me.
They will follow us until the end of the trek. Every day under a new angle. Everyday standing proudly.
I've always had this unexplainable attraction for High Mountain. It scares me, as I feel swallowed by this immensity, but at the same time, I have this aching need to return to it, each time climbing a bit higher.
The night before passing Thorong La, I feel stressed. My body starts feeling the effect of the altitude and my head aching.
Crossing the pass was actually easier than expected. A tough early morning climb, and despite the 5416 m, lack of oxygen wasn't a problem.
Whatever goes up needs to go down? That part I don't like. The aim is Muktinath, and it's been 13 years since I last came in the Holly village. I'm quite disappointed seeing it became a small city. The road which didn't exist a decade ago, now brings pilgrims from Pokara in few hours. It surely is great for people living here. I personally preferred the traditional smaller village.
A new path has been opened to Jomsom through Kagbeni, and I must admit that though it was a long and exhausting day it will remain one of my favorite day. Next time I’d like to stay longer in Kagbeni. Hopefully when I will head towards upper Mustang
As I am writing these lines I feel extremely fortunate and incredibly lucky to be healthy and as the situation in South Asia is getting out of control I am wishing all of those impacted by the virus to get well soon.