Annapurna circuit – day 3 – Dhampus

Thursday 10 April 2015

I ache today. Every muscle in my legs.

I wasn’t planning on waking for sunrise, but I could hear others up, so popped outside at 6am to have a look. The view wasn’t as good as yesterday – just one white snowy mountain today. Then went back to bed.

It was a struggle to get up at 7.30am, but I needed to pack and get ready for another day of trekking.

We had breakfast at 8am, banana pancake, really good. And as usual, putting in our lunch order whilst eating breakfast. No idea what I wanted so went for a standard dal bhat!

Then headed off for a wander around the village that we are staying in, Landrung. We passed several local houses and people going about their daily lives – herding their goat and going off to farm their land. Here the local crops are rice, wheat, millet, buckwheat, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, nettle and corn.

Corn is hung from windows to dry and wheat is laid out on large bamboo mats to dry. We visited one family just as they were heading to their land next to their house, with the buffalo to begin farming.

We went inside their house, it was small and dark. The kitchen to one side, one bedroom on the other and a grain store upstairs. Basic living.

It was around 10am when we headed off for the day. Initially I kept up with the fast group, but they just power on with no time for photos or enjoying the view. So as soon as I’ve stopped to take a picture and I still have a bad cold, so need lots of tissues, they’ve all gone. So I gave up and just trailed at the back again.

The first section was a wide dirt track, winding along the mountain side, past large cascading rice terraces and great views across the whole valley. Rice only grows below 2,000m so there was none above us, only below.

The next 2 hours were much the same, large valley and terraces, broken up occasionally with small clusters of houses. We only stopped a couple of times, just for a 2 minute water break before carrying on. And it was another 28 degree hot day!

After one more tea break it was time for the ‘1 hour steep up’. Oh dear. Just endless steps. Up and up.

We stopped a couple of times. It took 90 minutes. I was dying. It’s so hard to explain how difficult it felt. My legs just felt like lead, dragging them up, taking each step at a time.

But we finally made it to the top of the mountain, to the village of Deurali (2,100m) sadly the view of where we had come from was obstructed by trees. But from here, you could see all across to the other valley out towards Pokhara. And now, just down.

It was a gradual slope, through a forest. The trees were loosing their leaves, so leaves were covering the group. Typically, I twisted my ankle on the uneven rocks and fell over. It wasn’t too bad though, I managed to get up and carry on. And thank goodness the ‘1 hour down’ took just 20 minutes.

I was surprised when we saw prayer flags and were coming into a small village. Dhampus. Finally the end. We arrived at 2.30pm. Today, 4 hours 30 minutes. And 2,100 calories burned!

Of course, everyone else had finished eating lunch!! But ours arrived as soon as we sat down – the best dal bhat I’ve had so far!! Really delicious curry vegetables, a lentil soup, cooked greens, dried gourd and a kimchi pickle. So delicious!! It’s funny that I eat a massive meal, yet still feel hungry. And also pretty good that you get free refills of anything and it only costs £3.

The rest of the afternoon just disappeared. I had a shower (literally the best thing after hours of walking), washed my horrible dirty hiking clothes and sat doing nothing. The thunder had been rolling around all the hills. And around 4.30pm, suddenly right overhead, with a hail storm. Luckily I was basically in bed. But women fully loaded up with plants on their backs were running through the town getting soaked.

My whole day revolves around meal times. And soon 7pm rolled around – dinner time! I had done nothing for the rest of the afternoon, hardly able to move. For dinner, I had dal bhat again, it was so good at lunchtime and I’m not sick of it yet!! It was someone’s birthday so we all had some cake too (so no need to be ordering fried bananas again…!). I made it to bed about 9pm. Loving these early nights!!

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