The walk today was distinct from previous days in a couple of ways.  In the first place, the vegetation was much richer.  It is apparent that the rainfall is greater here than in other areas around Annapurna.  We walked through a lush forest of large hardwoods and conifers, rhododendrons and bamboo.  At lower elevations (we were between 2200 and 3200 metres) it seemed like a cool temperature jungle.  At one point we saw a troop of black faced langur monkeys.  They are a fairly large monkey, but they flew through the canopy with abandon.

The other notable feature was the presence of so many other trekkers.  I had no idea this is such a popular area.  I was told by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project officer in Ghasa (on the Annapurna Circuit) that about 60 trekkers a day passed by the checkpoint.  Today you could have seen that many in half an hour.  Most are on treks of a few days duration, travelling in organized groups with guides and porters.  There were also several groups of young Nepalis, segregated by gender.  They were making so much noise as they walked, and reputedly at night as well, that Matthew and I walked a little beyond Tatopani to a lodge outside Chiule.  Most of the trekkers turn onto a different trail at Tadapani, so tomorrow should be quieter on the trail.
Part of the appeal of this area is that we are beyond the roads.  Everything around us that is not naturally occurring has been brought in on the back of a donkey, horse or human.  It is sobering to think of as you guzzle a Coke, because a man, at considerable effort, could only carry about 60 of them at a time.  That Coke is of course more expensive, as it should be.  At one point we saw two young men, each struggling down the trail with a single 10 foot 8×8 wooden post. They said each weighed 30 to 40 kilograms.  It puts a completely different perspective on building construction.

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