Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek - Day 1

God knows why and how did I agree to go trekking with Feeder. I mean, seriously what was I thinking? Trekking, of all activities, is something I would never, in a million years, do. When I think back on the hardship, it still gives me the shivers. Everyday we walked 5 to 7 hours, depending on the schedule and our speed. Every night we slept in heater-less rooms with temperature as cold as -13°C on the outside of the concrete walls. It required courage to perform simple tasks like showering, brushing our teeth or going to the toilet. The mere thought of having to touch the icy cold water or taking off our clothes scared us. So I didn't shower for 7 days, wore the same clothes and only changed my socks once.

Day 1: Kyume - Chommrong

We started the trek at about 11am from Kyume, as far as the 4-wheel-drive could take us - basically to the end of the road. It was pretty easy at the beginning with mostly flat treks, through some greenery, wooden and steel bridges. But after few hours of non-stop walking, I felt exhausted already. The guide, who looked at me worriedly, said that this part was the easiest of the trek and the real hard work had yet to start.

Passing by residential area on the way.

Crossing a river.

Towards the end I was breathless from the uphill climb and the long hours of walk. I only allowed myself to look at the ground 30 cm in front of my feet. I was afraid that if I looked further, I would lose all will to go on. Feeder and the guide walked behind me, KC and the porter were already 15 or 30 minutes in front of us.

"If she can't continue, she can wait for us in Dovan or Deurali. We can go to ABC and come down and go back together," I heard the guide telling Feeder.

I am not going to make it, I thought.

We reached Chommrong at 6:30pm, half-dead.

The view of Annapurna and Fish Tail from Chommrong. The snowy mountains still seemed far from our reach.

On the mountains we needed to pay to get hot shower, hot water and to be able to sit by the heater. There was no heater in the room. Hence the only source of warmth was from dinner, and my own body heat. I wrapped myself with a Uniqlo heat tech, a long sleeve cotton shirt, a fleece jacket, a Uniqlo ultra light sleeveless down jacket, Nike winter jacket, and a red brand-less down jacket I bought from Kathmandu. Not mentioning a pair of fleece pants and trekking pants from Uniqlo, a knitted cap and a pair of wind / water proof gloves. (I can't believe I need a whole paragraph to list down my clothing.) Well, the result was my transformation into a ball.

A big red ball.

The first night was quite depressing for me. I woke up in the middle of my sleep from the cold. Feeder had just gone back from star-gazing. I cried and told him I was cold despite being in the sleeping bag and the blanket. My feet felt as if they were stored in the refrigerator. But there was nothing we could do and I dozed off.

Feeder's star-gazing.

The next day, we continued to walk...


David Batista said...

Sounds like a disaster in the making! But I have to say it sounds like just the type of thing I would love to do. And wow -- all those stars!

Great writing, by the way. I can't wait to read your next entry, even though I sympathize with your pain.

thE gEOgrAphicAlly blind said...

It's a disaster for me. But when I look at the pictures again, the scenery was awesome! And I'm kind of glad that I did it. I'm glad it's over too.

David Batista said...

I would be proud of the accomplishment, too, now that it's all over. You did it -- and you're still alive! :)

And you're right, the scenery is very beautiful.