Boudhanath Prayer Flags - On Halloween Night...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Annapurna Circuit #3 - Karte, Dharapani, Donakyu, Timang, Chame

After enjoying the local "bunny emporium" in back of our guest house, and saying goodbye to our kind hosts in Tal, we strolled out of town. From now on we'll be passing under Kani arches, walking alongside Mani Walls, and spinning prayer wheels on the exit and entry of every settlement we pass. The sheer cliffs around Tal are pretty famous for waterfalls, and we had a bit of a Mist Trail to walk through as soon as we headed up canyon.

Now we are in the heart of one of th
e deepest canyons on earth. With two 8,000+ meter peaks on e
ither side of us (Annapurnas just to the West, and Manaslu looming to the East), we are something like 6,000 meters below the summits... 20,000 feet down?! Amazing topography! This astounding gorge cuts straight North-South through the Himalaya. The river predates the major Himalayan uplift, and
was downcutting at a faster rate than the mountains were rising. Thus the Marsyangdi cuts thru the main Himalayan chain, and we benefit by following it "gradually" uphill across the mightiest mountains on earth. In just a few days we'll have walked clear through the range, and be north of the main summits, in a bit of an arid rain-shadow. But for now, we justkeep on climbing, crossing wacky bridges, visiting with smiling locals, and enjoying marvelous views.
Ate a Fine dalbaht in Dharapani, then passed through Bagarchap to finally find a lodge in "Donkey Cute." Actually it's spelled Donaque or Donakyu, but we're so fond of donkeys ....

Karen found a massive chunk of chocolate in her pack, and there was MUCH rejoicing! Our wonderful host family invited us into the kitchen all evening to sit by the hearth, "help"them cook, and also help them quaff several mugs of locally distilled rakshi.
We slept well that night!

A fine walk the next day, up
UP Uphill towards Timang. The old trail down low, through Latamarang, is now being destroyed and buried by the road blasting, so a new town on the new route is being built up with an overabundance of hotels and tea houses.... We met some wonderful kids along the trail, and Timang did give us our first killer views of an 8,000+ peak.Manaslu rose up into the clear blue sky... the 8th highest peak
on earth! From now
on, we'll be seeing stunning snowy
peaks every day, dripping with glaciers and icefalls! Around another corner, and ZOWIE, there is Annapurna 2 towering to the West. After the steep climb up to Timang, we traversed and enjoyed the rolling trail, met a few cute chickens at our luscious lunch spot, and continued up to Chame. This is the district headquarters, but more importantly, it is also the home of a nice hot spring, right beside the raging Marsyangdi River. A nice soak at the end of the day? ahhhhh..... and the next morning, at sunrise, Eliza rolls over in bed and says, "hey Dad, is that an avalanche?"

Sure enough.... morning avalanches on Annapurna 2.
What a nice way to start the day!

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