Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nepal, Annapurna Circuit....Ghorepani To Tikhedunga

Back at the hotel in Ghorepani following the early morning ascent of Poon Hill we appreciated the warm shower and breakfast before heading out again for the next leg of the trek. Now we were going to be heading downhill, definitively. There would be no more shocks to the system like the climb up to Ghorepani after days of relatively easy descent. We were almost at the end of the trek now and this was to be our last day of 'real' walking.

Leaving Ghorepani we soon found ourselves back in the rhododendron forest that we had climbed through on the other side of the hill. Only on this side the trees were more impressive, huge gnarled and twisting branches stretched high above the path. Being a bit less tired and going downhill we could appreciate our surroundings a bit more. For two hours we walked down a beautiful path through the forest. As we got further down the valley was narrower and the lack of sunlight coming through at times made it seem more like a tropical jungle.

Just as we reached the end of the forest we were rewarded with a slightly closer view of 'Fish Tail' mountain than the one we had earlier that morning on Poon Hill.

As we left the forest behind we started to see more villages and cultivation with wonderful views down the green valley. We stopped for lunch in Ulleri, a fine vantage point and the last village before our destination for the day. The path now mostly consisted of steps, and we had the now familiar sight of flocks of goats and sheep being driven down the path presumably to be sold off at the bottom. To me those little black goats have a sort of Hammer horror satanic look about them. For those coming the other way there was a handy information board about what they might see at the top.

The rest of our route for the day took us down the steps, a bit monotonous but we only had about another hour's walk ahead of us following lunch. From above, the corrugated roofs of Tirkhedunga didn't look very attractive but once we crossed a couple of bridges and got into the village it seemed like a perfect place to stop, surrounded by running water and very lush vegetation. Looking down from the village we could see the last bit of walking that we would do the next day.

I spent a very peaceful afternoon on a terrace by the river in Tikhedunga with a book and a beer, only interrupted by the occasional herd of sheep and goats being forced through the narrow main street of the village. I didn't feel unhappy about getting near the end after two weeks of walking, but nor did I feel in any great hurry to return the bustle of the cities.

View Nepal - The Annapurna Circuit in a larger map

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