Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nepal, Annapurna Circuit....Siurung To Jagat

Day 3 of the trek and we woke up none the worse for the local products that we had sampled the night before. Just as well, we had a hot walk ahead of us to rejoin the main Annapurna route. Leaving from the other side of Siurung we got a more panoramic view of the village and its hilltop position.

The walking wasn't difficult, especially as it was mostly a gentle downhill descent. Even so, some sections of the path were in better condition than others.

Today's digression is about water. Even without the impressive drenching we got the day before, water seemed to be everywhere in this area. Often carefully managed to make sure that it fed all the terraces of rice on its way down the hillside. The problem was that we couldn't drink it, and on a hot day it's not easy to see so much water flowing but still have to rely on bottled water to deal with thirst. Then there is the environmental damage caused by having so many plastic bottles being brought into a region with little capacity for recycling or careful disposal. Further up the trail we would come across an excellent solution for this problem, but on this day in Siurung our bottles were filled with boiled water; we had to put the bottles into a stream for a few minutes to cool them down.

By lunchtime we made it down to the bottom of the valley and were once again beside the river on the broad path that is the main Annapurna route. A stop for lunch seemed like a good idea, we had come downhill and it was significantly hotter on the valley floor. The reason why this route gets referred to as a "tea-house trek" is mostly to do with the facilities that are available to walkers rather than with the ease of the trek. On this part of the route it is rare to go more than a couple of kilometres without finding somewhere where you can buy a drink, have a cooked meal or find a bed for the night. I don't normally eat a lot when I'm walking but the heat left me feeling a bit weak, so I opted for a plate of vegetable noodles. This would become a daily habit from now on because it did the trick, I felt better for it on the afternoon walk that took us further up the river valley to Jagat.

The surroundings were changing, as the valley closed in the rice fields became scarcer and the vegetation started to look more like something you would associate with a mountain landscape. The water doesn't flow down the valley sides here, it tumbles! Then we arrived at Jagat, in number of buildings it's probably smaller than Siurung was but is much more prepared for the trekkers that pass through - it even has a "shoping centre".

The village is little more than a single street but there are several hotels and plenty of shops. You can see that the locals do not depend entirely on tourism, which is very seasonal on this route. They still have their chickens, goats, buffalos and their fields; but the Annapurna Circuit offers an extra source of income. The thunder clouds had gathered again over the hills as the afternoon progressed, but today we were spared a soaking. In the evening we found that all restaurants in the village had exactly the same menu, but in any case the norm on the route is to eat in your hotel and the (normally very cheap) price of your hotel can depend on whether you do this.

View Nepal - The Annapurna Circuit in a larger map


Jan said...

Fabulous photos, but I wouldn't fancy some of thoise tracks.

Pueblo girl said...

God it sounds fantastic.