Annapurna Base Camp
The first stop after Ghorepani was Tadapani, a small clutter of lodges. Nothing worthy of note here, except that the lodge we stayed at had the best hot shower I encountered since Turkey.
The next day I stopped in Chhule around 10 am. I was ready to notch down the pace we'd been going at and enjoyed a days' rest and reading. The views from this place were amazing, with facilities to match. Sarah and ZoŽ marched on. We were fairly sure we'd run into each other again, but I did not see them again till Pokhara.
From here, the trail wound up and down, proving to be a tad more strenuous than the Annapurna Circuit. Some dramatic landslides had wiped out a number of trails as well.
A number of non-touristy villages are situated between Tadapani and Bamboo, where I ended up for the night.
The next two days, most of the trail wound through dense forest. Again the weather was not cooperating and I ended up in Deurali for the night. This was after a long debate on the weather with Paul and Berit, a British/Austrian couple I had run into in Chhule. They too were captivated by the lodge there and decided to break early. After lunch in Deurali, I'd made up my mind and called it quits for the day. They decided to press on. They had just left as sleet and rain descended on Deurali, and before long they were back.
We left together the next day and pressed on to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). The weather was dreadful. The next day, ABC was covered in snow. Having lots of time, we decided to wait out the weather together for at least two days.
On the evening of the second day, our patience was rewarded with breaking clouds, a nice sunset and a star-filled night.
The next morning I was up well before sunrise. The sky was clear and the mountains razor-sharp.
Porters are hardy types and playing volleyball at a temperature far below zero didn't seem to dent their fun. I wondered how many volleyball courts there were at +4,000 meters.
We made it back in 3 days to Pokhara via Doban, New Bridge and Nayapul. In Pokhara we enjoyed flat even walking surfaces, good food, real beds, showers and a much more appealing daytime temperature.
A last look at Machapuchhre from Doban.