Today Matthew and I climbed a net 1600 metres to Ghorepani. This is the biggest climb on the Annapurna Circuit. We felt very strong at first, sucking in the viscous and oxygen rich air at 1200 metres. The last hour, with fatigue and thinner air, was more difficult. It took us almost seven hours to do this stage, including an unprecedented two stops for soft drinks. We generally don’t have lunch, but the sugar in the Coke was a welcome stimulus. We met a young trekker who was carrying a 25 kg pack. It would take more than sugar to push me and that behemoth up today’s slope.
The Annapurna Circuit ends with a day’s walk down to Naya Pul from Ghorepani. However, we will be linking with the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, so we part company with the Circuit tomorrow morning.
Ghorepani is a very popular trekking halt because of its proximity to Poon Hill, a short trekking goal that provides good views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Machhapuchhare (the fish tail mountain), and other peaks. The composition of the trekking crowd is different here, with more young party types, and a preponderance of trekkers on organized tours.
The quality of the accommodation in Ghorepani is very good, particularly considering that it does not have road access. Before dinner we were each presented with hot face cloths, an unprecedented and welcome touch of luxury. When we asked how much our bright double room would cost, our hostess put her finger over her lips until two other guests were out of earshot. She whispered “$2.50”. I think the package tour guests are paying a great deal more, or perhaps she fancies Matthew.