Each day brought new adventures….and always fabulous food. The 400mg Ibuprofen I was given seemed to fix the pain from my falls. During our trekking we crossed rope bridges, ridges, icy areas and all sorts of other topography…The clouds stayed with us most of the journey except early in the morning during breakfast and really late at night when I made my very frequent jaunts to the toilet tent…I would go to the bathroom around 2am and as I got out of my tent, I would look up in the sky and it would be filled with millions of stars…and if I just spent a few seconds looking in any direction, I would see a shooting star…Truly amazing…It makes my small bladder worth it
Waking up to a Buddhist Monk chanting coupled with a Kitchen hut fire was a first for me. But it got me up at 5am and that allowed me to see a spectacular Sunrise over Annapurna South…the Moon and Stars still in the sky.
Todays trek was uneventful…and by that I mean o injuries or leeches…did I mention the leeches…well we got up close and personal…a little too personal for my taste. We spent most of today hiking through a Rhododendron forest…Incredible…We are close to finishing the forest portion…then we get to the ridges and what they call above the Alpine…I love it all but I will say I am looking forward to the scenery above the Alpine. We had less stairs today and more trails. One little note is that it is mainly the mothers in all of the villages who build the stone stair trails. Today we ran into a herd of mules, herded by 2 small boys, carrying supplies for the villages. There are no cars or roads…the only way in and out of these villages is to walk or by mule…Although, I have yet to see a person ON a mule….Oh and Sherpas…They also seem to transport a lot of goods as well.
During lunch, Mahesh was telling us that in the 70’s these villages would give food to the trekkers for free…the trekkers in return would leave medicine…then the trekkers started to offer money…At first the villagers didn’t know what to do with money…everything they needed, they grew or made…then, slowly, they learned about consumerism. Now every village in the Annapurna region has craftspeople selling their trinkets and little stands selling water, Coke and Snickers..Mahesh says there are still places in the Himalayas where the Villages are so remote that there is no consumerism.
As we have been hiking, I have been surprised by the tropical types of flora that are here…I did not expect that. Yesterday, Mahesh told us about the Angel Trumpet flower which grows her…and my backyard! He said it is a spiritual flower based on a God who removes the bad…Since Angel Trumpet is used as a drug, she, the God, takes the bad and creates the beauty. I really like that.
While in a village today, Michael, one of the Swedes, began speaking in Nepali and a local family began to give us language lessons. Another observation is that Kids run free here…There is little supervision…I saw a 3 year old hanging on the edge of a wall right on the mountain cliff. These kids are so astute…they know, even at that young age, their limits…the Children all seem to work too, herding mules or selling wares.
Tonight we are in Tadipani at the base of the Alpine region and suddenly it feels much colder. Well tomorrow the scenery will change…