Tag Archives: Trekking

Poon Hill (13 May)

One of my favourite parts of the Annapurna Base Camp trek was the day we trekked to Poon Hill (3210m) to catch the sunrise rising from behind part of the Annapurna mountain range – Dhaulagiri (8167m) , Hiunchuli (6441m), Machapuchare (6993m) etc. We were apparently quite fortunate to get clear skies that day and a panoramic view of the Annapurna range. Here’s how the day went:

I stumbled out of bed at an ungodly hour of 5:15am. On a regular day in my life, I’d never be awake at that time, or if I were, it would probably be because I’d hadn’t even gone to bed yet.

It was a cold morning and I was already well-prepared for the expected chill, having gone to bed wearing my thermals under my trekking pants and teeshirt. I put on another thin fleece and my goretex jacket, slipped my neck scarf over my head, donned my red wool beanie, grabbed my gloves just in case and got ready to step out of our lodge into the cold.

The sun was already making its journey past the horizon the time we were all ready and started our trek. I personally felt that we should have left approximately half an hour before to actually catch the sunrise. This would be the first of about 6 missed sunrise opportunities I would experience over the next 2 months – mostly because of bad weather, though twice would be because I was too lazy to get up to watch.

The trek up to Poon Hill wasn’t particularly difficult, but given how most of us wished we were still in the comforts of our beds instead of climbing the 300m of elevation worth of stone steps from our lodge at Gorephani (2874m) up to the top of the hill, it was still quite a challenge. But by the time we finally made it to the top, we realised that the trek up was well worth the 5:15am wake up call, 45 minutes trek, and cold morning breeze.

My words will never be able to do justice to the beauty of the place, so why not just let the photos do the talking why don’t we?

So it turns out, the whole world was already there by the time we got to the top of the hill. We didn't meet anyone else whilst going up. Photo Credit: Lek

Some of my friends admiring the Dhaulagiri Himal Subrange

Some of us at the top of the viewing tower

Big Pasang (left) and Tenzeeng (right)

One, two, three.. FIGHT!

JUMP!

Laying eggs?

HX practising her Muay Thai kicks on Lek

The Team

Special thanks to ‘Small’ Pasang for the ‘tour’ of the range in the following video. Too bad Pasang’s voice for the second half of the video isn’t that clear as the camera captured the voices of these two Korean girls we keep meeting along the way instead. I wonder what they are saying though:

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As easy as ABC

ABC trek

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Annapurna Base Camp Trek: Schedule

Day 00, (10 May): Kathmandu-drive to Pokhara (7 hours) and overnight in hotel
Day 01, (11 May): Pokhara-drive to Nayapul (1 hours) and trek to Tikedhunga (4 hrs) and overnight in teahouse.
Day 02, (12 May): Tikedhunga trek to Ghorepani (7 hours) and overnight in teahouse.
Day 03, (13 May): Ghorepani hike early morning to poon hill (View point) (1 hrs), trek down to ghorepani and trek to Tadapani (6 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 04, (14 May): Tadapani trek to Chhomorung (7 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 05, (15 May): Chhomorung trek to Himalaya (6 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 06, (16 May): Himalaya trek to Machhapuchere Base camp (5 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 07, (17 May): Machhapuchere Base camp trek to Annapurna base camp (2 hrs) and overnight in teahouse.
Day 08, (18 May): Annapurna Base camp trek to Bamboo (7 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 09, (19 May): Bamboo trek to Jhinuwa Danda (Hot spring) (5 hrs) and overnight in teahouse
Day 10, (20 May): Jhinuwa Danda trek to Ghandruk (5 hrs) and trek to Kimche(2hrs) overnite
Day 11, (21 May): Kimche trek to Nayapul (2 hrs) and drive to Pokhara (1 hrs), End of the trek

For the past 1.5 months or so, I’ve been training real hard in preparation for the first leg of my trip – the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek. By that I mean – weekly runs (a 5km run a week), Muay Thai lessons once a week, and weight-training/’stair’-climbing training at Bukit Timah Hill 3 times so far. Yep, that’s it.

Please tell me I’m not screwed. Hello loads of body aches and pains.

Truth be told, I’m feeling utterly unprepared (fitness-wise) for the ABC trek. To make things worse, I’ll be trekking with 10 other people, all of whom are either experienced mountaineers or NIE PE teachers to-be (read: exercise freaks enthusiasts). In other words, I’m the weakest link. Oh boy.

On a brighter note, we will only be walking an average of 6 hours a day, we’re staying in tea houses (ahh comfort), there are porters to carry our things if we so choose to not carry our own things, and we don’t need to cook our own meals.

Compared to all the other previous trekking trips I’ve done (at least 12 hour-days, 1-3 hour sleep in tents that we pitch ourselves, no porters, cook our own food over gas canister stoves), this sure sounds like a luxury. Hey, perhaps trekking to ABC will really be as easy as ABC after all. Then again, the last time I did such a trip was when I was 18, and trained four times a week.

Unfitness aside, I’m really looking forward to the 11 days in the Himalayas. Imagine waking up to this sight every morning:


ABC a sight to behold

Photo credit

Sigh.. What a beauty! I sure hope this sight will make all aches and pains go away. Yes it will!

(And you know you’re jealous. Or envious. And you want to hop on a plane to Nepal too.)

6 days to departure

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The packing list

12 days to departure and I’m still far from gathering the items in my packing list.

Here’s how it’s “supposed” to look like:

and this is only for the trekking/Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) leg of my entire trip. (I’m travelling for close to another month and a half after this leg)

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about trekking prior to my trip, it would be that the activity involves a hell lot of preparation. Besides the physical training (which I admittedly have not been most diligent in doing), there’s a lot of coordination with the guide to do (thankfully a friend is taking charge of that) and there’s also of course, the putting together of the items in the packing list.

This packing list is not something that I’m most familiar with. I’ve climbed several mountains and a volcano in Malaysia and Indonesia before, but given the tropical climate of these countries, the packing list for those trips looked very different. Back then, I didn’t have to worry much about keeping warm, so thermals, items made of fleece, waterproof jackets etc were not even something I thought about. In fact, I remember trudging through the equatorial forests in just shorts and tee-shirts, often braving the heavy downpours. Getting wet really wasn’t much of an issue. In fact, I sometimes relished it, and embraced the escape from the sweltering heat.

But this time, taking into consideration that ABC reaches the height of almost 4200m and that the conditions would be harsher, there is so much more I need to pack in in order to keep warm and comfortable. I can’t imagine having any more space for anything else after putting all these items from my packing list into my back pack.

And to make things worse, having not done any trekking trip of this scale before, I don’t own any of these things. So, what to do? Beg, borrow, and steal, erm, buy.

So today I finally got down to buying some of the items in my list, namely my trekking boots and a pair of sandals. Two items down, many to go. And to save money, I’m probably going to have to, in some way or another , borrow most of the other items.


Today's buys: Hi-Tec Trekking shoes and Teva sandals
Today’s buys: Hi-Tec mid cut trekking shoes and Teva sandals.

Hi-Tec isn’t exactly the most favoured brand for most seasoned travellers because the quality’s not fantastic, but at SGD95 (after discount), who can complain really? And SGD49 (after discount) for Teva sandals? What a steal. I think my feet are protected.

And after all, who knows when will be the next time I’ll be putting together the items in my packing list for some trekking trip. Hopefully by then, I’ll actually be more prepared and have the money to invest in better-quality items and not have to beg and borrow everything else.

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