Annapurna Circuit Day 5
Now that I am in higher altitude, I need to start paying closer attention to my body in order to avoid getting altitude sickness. Lower Pisang, where I stayed last night sits at 3200m above sea level. This is already pretty high but I have been making my way up slowly and have allowed my body plenty of time to adjust to this point. However, from this point on I will be following a few guidelines as things will be ramping up. A fun fact is that my parents have actually tried trekking the Annapurna Circuit back in 1993 but they were unable to complete it because one of them got altitude sickness. I also met a friend in Pokhara who tried recently and was unable to complete it for the same reason. Altitude sickness is no joke so I have been trying to be very careful.
From Lower Pisang there are two route options available to get my Manang, my next destination. There is a relatively flat route that goes along the dusty road or I could hike up to pass through some mountain villages. A good practice when trekking is to hike high and sleep low so that is what I decided to do. I was going to gain some altitude and go visit Ghyaru and Ngawal and by some altitude, I mean 800m in elevation. I am definitely not in for an easy day but this is great to help my body adjust. I finally met a friend. This older French man named George was also staying at the guest house last night and this morning we decide to start the day off together. If you have been following along my trek you would know that everyday the mountain transitions into something completely new. I started out walking through farm land then into the valley of waterfalls, a money jungle and now I am walking through pine forests. It’s magnificent. I have so much mystery to look forward to everyday.
It didn’t take long to reach Ghyaru and I was pleasantly surprised to find freshly baked apple pies being sold right at the entrance to the village!! They are nice and small, looking more like an apple fritter so I bought half a dozen, to eat a couple and stuff the rest in my pocket to save for a snack and breakfast the next day. The ladies face lit up when I bought half of her batch which added so much to my experience. My heart was torn after missing out on the famous apple pies yesterday so I was not about to pass up this opportunity. I am not great at multitasking but I didn’t have any issues snacking while exploring the cute little village. The houses here are so cute. They are built out of stone with hand carved dug out ladders made from the trucks of trees to take you to the second floor. There was a beautiful stupa with a great view that I enjoyed sitting at to soak up sun and people watch. I caught myself subconsciously eating another apple pie. It was so warm and gooey, I couldn't even be disappointed in myself. I hadn't had many sweets since I started the trek so I thing my body was craving the sugar.
Ngawal was also very quaint. Sitting at a casual 4000m above sea level. Although this was pretty high for me, I was feeling good & grateful to not be feeling any symptoms of AMS. There was a small little stupa that was either built into the tree or the tree grew out of the stupa. I couldn’t figure it out but either way it was so intriguing. I had reached my hand in my pocket for my phone to take a photo and I could feel that the apple pies were still a bit warm. Before I knew it I was eating another one. George and I ended up finding each other while wandering around the village and decided to grab lunch. As we were eating I saw another guy, Peter who I had met briefly on the trail the day or two before. He joined us as well and enjoyed sharing our experiences on the trail. To no surprise, for dessert I had another apple pie. After that I had one more left and it didn't last long. I ate it on my way back down to the main trail. That means that I ate 6 apple pies in less than 6 hours #noregrets. Well... actually some regret because I was really looking forward to having one the next morning.
By the end of the day I had thought that I would reach Manang but when I was walking through this village called Munji I decided to stop there instead. There was a sign that pointed up to a trail to Ice Lake which was somewhere I was contemplating visiting. It would be the perfect side trek for my acclimatization day which I was meant to be doing the following day. I found a nice little guest house and settled in for the night. It was so nice, we had a fire and everyone ate dinner together. The place was giving off big family vibes and there was nowhere else I would have preferred to stay the night.