It was a pleasant climb through a mature hardwood and bamboo forest today. We are in a narrow valley leading into the Annapurna sanctuary, so despite the clear conditions we did not have direct sun until 10:30 am. There are monkeys in the forests we passed through, but unfortunately we did not see them.
All morning there were helicopters thumping past us in both directions. It is only 15 minutes by helicopter from Pokhara to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), but the cost is US$1500 per person return. I was told that tourists fly up to ABC, wander around and take pictures for an hour while the chopper does a cargo run, and then fly back to Pokhara. Some people simply have too much money for the good of themselves and the planet.
We passed a couple of signs that advised that for religious reasons beef, buffalo, and chicken should not be brought into the Annapurna sanctuary (you are welcome to bring all the mutton and goat you can carry.) At guesthouses since then I have indeed noticed that only vegetarian food is on offer. While I wish to be respectful of local religious beliefs, I still have two unopened packages of beef jerky that I am loath to throw away. I commit to not opening or eating them while we are in the sanctuary, but if I am injured in the next few days, blame it on the jerky.