Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 7

Day 7 – When I first decided to follow my friends on this trip, I didn’t know where and what is Tilicho Lake. Our original trek did not include Tilicho Lake and when someone suggested to go there, everyone including me just agreed without knowing what exactly we were getting into. In fact, for me I just followed the crowd and didn’t even bother to find out anything about the trek at all. So on the morning of Day 7 of our Annapurna Circuit, I found myself together with the rest setting out to view the highest lake in the world.

This was the view that we saw when we set off from Tilicho Base Camp. Isn’t it awesome!

It started off easy enough through a wide open valley and several mountain pass.

And then we had to go through another rock fall landslide area.

And as we continued to climb, it became more and more difficult for us to walk. First was the altitude which makes it very tough for us to walk fast. And then there was the wind. Strong gushes of wind that blind us with the sand that it wipe up into our face threatening to send the lighter one down the side. But we had to press on. Step by step, we grind our way up slowly until we came to this.

3 small little lake. Was this Tilicho Lake? Did we got conned and came all the way for this? It can’t be and indeed it was not. After struggling up some more 

We finally came to THE LAKE! No words and no photo can describe the incredible scene of this large beautiful lake sitting so peacefully in the middle of the mountain.

The Tilicho Lake at 4km long and 2.5km wide is the biggest lake in the world at the altitude of 4920 m. Unfortunately with the strong cold wind howling at us, we had no time to enjoy the beautiful scene before us and had to head back down after a hot tea and the customary group photo.

Going down was of course much easier and now we can see how beautiful the mountain is as we go back downward to Tilicho Base Camp.

So after 6 hours and 12 km hike, we made it back to the base camp to await another day of new adventure – the Thorung La Pass……

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 6

Day 6 is the first main highlight of the trip. This is the day where we will go to Tilicho Base Camp, the first stage to Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world.

The trek today see us climbing and climbing. This is the first real challenge for us as we make our ascend to the Tilicho Base Camp which was 4,150 m above sea level. While there was awesome scenery as usual along the way like this rock face  

and this

the main portion of this trail was the walk along what they called the “landslide area”, a ridge walk on a very exposed cliff face where rocks could just come raining down any time.

This is the cliff face looking upward

And this is looking downward

And looking behind

And looking in front.

I seriously don’t want to go sliding down these rock face and thank goodness nobody did. 

The entire journey from Khangsar to Tilicho Base Camp was only about 6 km but we took almost 6 hours! Of course that include the lunch and tea breaks which was like 2 – 3 hours long but still it was a tough day. And we had more to come the next day…..

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 5

Day 5 is supposed to be our acclimatisation day in Manang.  

After breakfast we took a short stroll to the Gangapurna Glacier Lake just a stone throw away from our teahouse. 

It a beautiful place and the trip was really like a nice casual outing instead of the usual full day hike. 

This is the lake formed by the glacier

And this is the glacier

But after a relaxing morning, our guide decided that it was better for us to move to our next higher destination to continue the acclimatisation at Khangsar. So after lunch, we move on from Manang arriving at Khangsar some 2 plus hours later. The route took us downhill for a while and wind along the never ending Marsyangdi river.

Eventually after a long walk through open grounds and crossing a long suspension bridge, we reached Khangsar which was 3,745m above sea level to rest for the next day challenge.

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 4

Day 4 and we are supposed to travel to Manang from Upper Pisang. There are 2 ways to reach – one via the upper trail and another via the lower trail. Obviously the upper trail is more challenging where we have to climb even higher before descending. But it is suppose to be more scenic.  Our guide gave us a choice – upper or lower trail. In the end half choose the upper trail and the rest the lower. Me, of course choose the easier option.

We descended from Upper Pisang down to Lower Pisang before continuing our journey on an wide open track. 

It was the same route throughout. One of the easiest in my opinion.  Not much elevation gain. The scenery along the way was great though. with mountains along the side and occasionally river flowing down through the mountain.

For the first time in this trip, there was no crossing of any river via any suspension bridge. There was only this little crossing over what I think to the local is probably a stream.

And after 7 hours of walking over 18 km and a 200 metre ascend, we finally reached Manang.

Manang is one of the biggest town along the route with many shops selling hiking and climbing gear and best of all, many bakeries selling the bestest freshly baked bread!

 

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 3

Day 3 see us moving from Chame to Upper Pisang and from 2,670 metre to 3,310 m.

The day trek turns out to be a very awe inspiring trek as we passed through some old villages, some farms including many apple farms.

Our guide bought us apples plucked from one of the farms during our tea break. They were crunchy and delicious.

But the most impressive part of the day was passing through what I called the Great Canyon. Miles and miles of rock faces that jut out high into the sky.

The local called this rock face Swarga Dwar, meaning Gateway to Heaven and we could certainly see why they called it so.

Somewhere later we had to cross the Marsyangdi river which we seem to have been crossing left and right since day 1 of the hike!

We ended the day going up to Upper Pisang. The original program actually called for us to stay overnight at Lower Pisang but our guide felt it was better for us to acclimatise at a higher altitude and so we had to $^&((&^#@ climb up and up the last part of the day. 

But our reward was a magnificent view of the Annapurna mountain range and Lower Pisang.

After a shower, we went to take a look at the Monastery at the top of Upper Pisang. Beautiful place. So serene and quiet until our ladies decided to use the wide open courtyard for some kung fu jump shots!

So end Day 3 after 7.5 hours of walking over 15 km and ascend of about 7000 metres. 

Never Stop Exploring – Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 2

Day 2 and its another beautiful day. Today our target is to reach the town of Chame, 2,670 m above sea level. That means a minimum climb of 800 metres with us climbing and climbing up many mountain trails that are either jeep road or trails between beautiful forest.Again this is another easy day with wide open trails and river crossing over suspension and wooden bridges. 

Along the way, as we climb higher, we can see the peaks of some of the mountains shrouded in clouds.

There were some short steep climb but nothing too tough. Ironically one of the climb was to avoid this beautiful water fall so that our shoes don’t get wet.

After walking 16 km in 7 hours, we finally reached Chame. The first thing that greeted us was this Mani wall with many prayer wheels. A sight that will become all too familiar as almost every town and village we passed by seems to have one.

Chame itself is a charming little town and apparently one of the bigger and better town with its own temple, police post and tourist post and many shops well stocked with hiking supplies.