When I saw an old friend, she asked me if I remembered that time when she went to Everest Base Camp with her dancing crew. “I married our guide” she said. “If you ever go to Nepal and you need a guide, let me know”.
I asked my girlfriend at the time about what she thought about going to Nepal. I did not expect that she would say yes immediately (later it turned out that she had no idea where Nepal was or what a hiking trip involves, hence the easy ‘yes’) and I booked the flights to Kathmandu, with a short stop over in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu, we were greeted by crowds of people trying their very best to carry our bags, sell us hotel stays, tours and taxi rides. I already booked a hotel in advance so all we needed was a ride. But as overwhelming as the crowds were, it was another instant reality check to remind us that a lot of expectations that we have for our own lives are in fact privileges.
Even though the drive to the hotel was about half an hour, there was so much to soak in that it seemed a lot longer. We left in the early next morning to catch the bus to Pokhara, the city closest to the Annapurna circuit. It was a long, bumpy and scary bus ride where one bus passed us even closer than the other. The 200km ride took about 7 hours.
The hotel in Pokhara recommended Supil, a porter to help us with carrying our stuff and to take us around the circuit for $15 a day. We agreed, waited for our permits and commenced on the journey that is the Annapurna Circuit the next day.
We were warned about the dangers of altitude sickness. We heard that it is actually likely to affect younger, fit hikers more than older hikers due to the velocity at which they ascend the mountains.
We had arrived at our last stop, Machhapuchhre Base Camp at a 4130 m, before we would ascend to Annapurna Base Camp. At night in bed, my head started hurting like crazy – one of the signs of altitude sickness. We were advised that when signs of altitude sickness appear, either stay put or go down but.. do not go further up.
The alarm would ring at 3am to ascend the last couple of km’s to ABC. I thought, if the headache is still there by then, I’ll have to go down instead of further up.
During the night, all my body wanted to do was drink water and pee. Even though the toilet was outside, the bright moon over the snowy Himalayan peaks was a sight to behold.
When the alarm finally rang, the head ache had luckily subsided and I was able to join the crew to our final stop on our ascend: Annapurna Base Camp.
All in all, the trail took us 11 days, including one sick day. Our porterguide, Supil, was an absolute gem and we couldn’t recommend him more. Find his facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/tourist.supil.