Annapurna -Day 14
Today marked two weeks since we began the circuit. The trek usually takes 17-21 days if you do the full thing considering nowadays with the new road, tourists are driving closer and closer to the pass and not walking as much. Then on the other side after the pass you can literally take a jeep back to Pokhara from Muktinath which means you can do the circuit in no time, but that's not really the circuit. Our aim was to start at the very beginning - Besisahar and walk the entire way. Here we were day 14 and we have arrived in Kagbeni this afternoon.
We left Muktinath about 10:30 having had a decent breakfast and set off on the high trail which would lead us through various small Tibetan style villages in this Mustang region including Jhong where we had milk tea with the locals before heading up to a beautiful hilltop Gompa (monastery). The path from Muktinath through to Kagbeni was unbelievable and u couldn't believe that people would skip this part of the hike and opt for a faster way out. The whole appeal as I mentioned before, of the Annapurna Circuit Trek is it's scenic diversity and having just come from deep in the snowy Himalayas to what we were seeing today as complete dry, barren desert. The whole journey took us through the last traces of snow down around the cliffs into the dry Mustang setting that we were expecting. The scenery was incredible because to one side you had an incredible view of the Snow White Himalayas and to the other side you had the desert, multi coloured in parts kind of like the Grand Canyon. It only got better as we reached the end of the dirt road and were met by a rocky canyon with a view through the gap to Kagbeni and the river running beside it. We carefully climbed down the trail on the loose rocks in between the canyon and eventually came to the bottom where the village began.
Kagbeni was awesome at first glance. It reminded me a bit of Bhaktapur with it's maze like streets and all the little hotels and restaurants. It felt like being back in civilisation again especially when we got a room at a hotel that had a hot shower, electricity (that you didn't have to pay for), carpet on the floors, a western toilet (my god this was so luxurious) and an actual painted and decorated room (unlike the mud houses we were used to up in the mountains. I couldn't help but think about my big backpack in Kathmandu and all the clothes I would have chose from after the trek was over. The thing is, iv gone 14 days so far with a tiny 15L bag, sleeping bag, down jacket, toiletries and a spare change of clothes and yet I didn't need anything. It just showed that wherever I go next or wherever I hike next I will know what I actually need to bring and what I don't. Still, I'm a little excited to get some laundry done and wear something other than trekking clothes.
(PS- they have a 'Yac Donald's' here and a '7Eleven' lol)