Toddies trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) including Poon Hill. Our wonderland, Himalayas.

A SHORT STORY

Monia is faster then the speed of light! She joined us for few days and together we started to stomp through the Himalayas, where mountain peaks reach high above the clouds. She is speeding in the front, Iza balanced the middle and I landed in the end, puffing away at the altitude with racing heart.

We started a 10-day trek journey through the Himalayas with many ups and downs leading to one of earth’s most breathtaking vista, the Annapurna.

Day 1. Trekking from Nayapul (1,070m) to Tikhedhungga (1,520m) 3.5 hrs

We said goodbye to our new friends from the Splendid View guesthouse in Pokhara and hopped into a taxi going to Nayapul. Unaware of the difficulties ahead we began the trek in cheer passing through the local market, over a bridge and headed on up to the hills towards Poon Hill. 

Mudslide was the first obstacle; a giant piece of hill broke off and flooded the path with mud and stones. Shoes deep in mud walking on a slant we slowly crossed the mudslide and were greeted with a drizzle that later formed into heavy rain. —There went our cheer. The left over monsoon poured its remains.


Guys, what is the difference going this direction or that direction? Asked Guy— pointing to a map. This way is straight to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) and this way you can do a side-kick to Poon Hill where amazing views of snow caps will freeze your eyes.


He smiled and offered his Sneakers bar to Iza, a big smile for the chocolate lover. Shortly after trekking up with the rain we stopped for refill on energies and Guy caught up with us again. He joined us for one of my favorite fried rice with egg and cheese dishes served in Nepal. —Have you heard about the breaking science geek news? They broke the speed of light theory today!— he said. WHAT?!?!? No way, geek or not but this is some seriously cool news. I was right; Monia was faster then the speed of light.


Evening came around quicker then we though and we settled down in a random guesthouse in Tikhedhungga. Monia still jetlag fell asleep ahead of dinner and didn’t make it to our first Himalayan garlic soup.






Day 2 Tikhedhungga (1,520m) to Ghorepani (2,860m) 7.5 hrs
— Lets make it a step-master day!— We climbed over 3,600 stairs in just few hours, up, up and more up. As we were going up, hundreds of goats were running down. Mobs of stained blue and red goats were marching down from Mustang. It was their last week journey running down to the local market, where they were going to be sold as live meat for $300 a pop. It was the Hindus Dasain festival, when each household eats a goat.

Another day of drizzle and rain, our rain gear was on, off and back on again. It eventually didn’t matter and we trekked in silence as the rain kept coming. Wet, cold, and hungry we found warm shelter where we munched on Momos (Nepalese dumplings) and hot soup. After 7.5 hours of climbing up and down we made it to Gorepani, the base for Poon Hill. Exhausted, we splurged on big pasta dish, “freshly” baked apple pie, and topped it with a packaged of Pringles.


Being brave and all, we decided to do this 10 day trek by ourselves, no guide, no porter just a simple map and our own senses for navigation. There is no need to hire a guide for this trek, it’s quite popular we bumped into many other groups with guides, ear dropped on their plans and planned our next moves accordingly to the altitude. Each little village displayed a map of next village’s distance and timetables. When I say village, I mean a bunch of guest-houses geared for Himalayan trekkers. 


We overheard a guide say to wake up at 5am, look out the window and search the dark sky for stars. If there was a star then it was going to be “clare” view and to continue waking up and climbing up 450 meters to Poon Hill.


Day 3 Ghorepani (2,860m) to Poon Hill (3,210m) 45min for Morning view.
 Ghorepani (2,860m) to Chuile (2,309m) 7.5 hrs
Monia opened the curtain saw the star and screamed — It’s “clare” outside. —
Again with her fast speed energy she took off in the dark and I didn’t see her till I got to the top. —Whaaaaa… Poon Hill— a magical place best at sunrise. The Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Machapuchare (fish tail) and Dhaulagiri, shinned in deep yellow as the sunrays beamed brightness on their summits. We snapped away with three cameras deep, as the panorama was simply amazing and worth the “giga” space.

Coming back down was harder then climbing up, the knees were becoming jelly and it was only the third day and it was only 7am. Big breakfast in Ghorepani then we got back on the path to Chuile. My unbreakable Keen shoes, decided to loose the warranty and their soles. — After all the traveling we have been through, they were giving up before I was.— The terrain was overpowering their strength so I had to whip out the Crazy Glue and smack them back up. 


Our walk was becoming faster and unstoppable, as blood sucking leaches were on the hunt. Iza’s blood must be tasty, they loved her shoes and kept trying to climb up to her leg and suck her out. She was freaked out, and kept on moving fast, she passed Monia and took the lead. Monia didn’t care, as she was also furious with the blood-sucking giant maxi that escalated her estrogen levels to speechless frustration and exhaustion.


I stayed in the back, far behind the duo, snapping away, breathing heavy and admired the unfamiliar jungle, the wiggled green trees, the muddy pebbles and the sounds of gushing water. —The Himalayas, should also be known as the “waterfall wonderland”.— Said Monia, but in Polish, I agree, it was a total waterfall wonderland. 


After nearly 8 hrs of trekking we stopped for the night at Discovery guesthouse in Chuile, a spot high on the hill overlooking a valley of clouds, mudslides and falling waters. Plus a view of 15 or so donkeys, relieved from their daily jobs, and leisurely back into work by manually cutting grass with their teeth. They were so happy to be back home for the night; first time I’ve seen the donkey lay on his back on the grass and wiggle around like a dog in shit.





Day 4 Chuile (2,309m) to Bamboo (2,310m) 9hrs Climbing up and down for 400 meter. The day started early, and heavy, at 7am for breakfast the three Hot Toddies had a veggie soup and yummy friend potatoes. All eyes were on us, apparently this is not a normal breakfast for other trekkers as they sipped on Chai and enjoyed their porridge. We were set for loads of energy and ready for more trekking. 

In the morning it was all walking down, the knees were once again in stress and we practically rolled down. Brief stops for water sips and the sun finally shined. — What is the point of going all the way down to start to climb all the way back up?— I always question this, when I am trekking. Hot sun is beaming, clothes are wet from sweat and I have to trek 300 meters up. I guess this is the definition of trekking, or at least I think it should be. —Up, down, up, down.


It’s hard; I start complaining I want to quite and then boom! There it is, a surreal life and culture living in a fairy tale. Rice fields emerging from clouds, the sunrays beam through and brighten vividness of vegetation and life. I was breathless, the girls were ahead, flying to make the time, but I paused, I was frozen, didn’t even snap away I just stared and I felt as if I was high on psychedelics that enhanced my vision. And just like I came it went, the clouds came back and the grayness took over. A 5 second orgasm that was good for the rest of the day. The wetness of drizzle spread and I was satisfied.


It was a long day of 9hr trekking, a day that ended in Bamboo for dinner and an early night. The elevation was getting higher and the cold, wet mountain air kept sneaking in. No one and nothing to keep us warm we jumped under the covers and went to sleep by 7pm.

Day 5 Bamboo (2,310m) to Deurali (3,200m) 6.5 hrs.

In the past 5 days each of us woke up with a vivid dream to share, everything from back home, to work, and random dreams of crazy things kept happening. They were so vivid, and felt so real it was like dreaming of the Himalayas, but in this case it was dreaming in the Himalayas. —Dreamy.

This day was going to be easier then the past few days, it was wise for us take it easy and not over do on the altitude, to avoid the altitude sickness. Dizzy head, high fever, and fatigue are not what we wanted to remember this journey. We trekked, in silence and in peace, noticing the slight change in vegetation and surroundings. The sun was shinning and we were on the hunt. Our eyes were open, and ready to spot a yak or with bonus Mr. Yeti! So far the closest we got tasted was yak cheese.


— Oh, hello girls.— said Guy. 


Few days passed and we caught up to Guy. This time he informed us that once there was a plan to send all the garbage into the moon. But it just never happened. Imagine if it did happen, and they sent all the garbage to the moon. Looking through a telescope observing the stars, one will be disturbed with occasional Coca-cola cans, or sneakers bar rap passing slowly creating a free advertisement. It would have just added to all the daily messages we get bombarded with. Or wait, or perhaps this would serve as an archeological site for the alien who would be studying humans existence ones the sun will blow the earth into flames. 


I have a better idea, lets put magnets into all the products we consume, so if it does go into space it will create a planet full of garbage! 


Ok I went off the trek, but trekking in silence will do this, it will bring out all the thoughts, your imaginations will run wild. Mostly I think of all the good things, and all things I want. I reject negative thoughts and consume my meditation in daydreaming. Sometimes, I think of the impossible, but I kid you not, there will be a planet full of garbage.


The night ended in Deurali, where we took cold showers, in the cold climate, with purple lips and frozen fingers we played Rummikub till the sun went down. No more hot showers, no more washing hair. Hat time began.








Day 6 Deurali (3,200m) to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) 6hrs
It was a slow, slow climb up almost 1000 meters up to the final destination, ABC. Mother nature was a moody one this day, occasional sunray, wind blows, and drizzles were cycling as we kept climbing. The brisk cold kept the sweat chilled and gave the body chills. Vegetation changed, the surreal lighting and formations of the stones stunned us with charm. There were no trees; instead there was grass, tall, thin, hard grass in the olive shade of green. When the sunrays beamed through the smog cloud the vividness enhanced and we posed. Hundredths of goats were chewing up the olive greens, gushing streams were maneuvering around the rocks and pebbles. 

There it is, I see the base camp— Iza pointed up to a hill where a small house was visible. Few meters up, we came a cross a sign —1hr to ABC.


We made it! Yes! I was the last one but I made it. We looked around for the cheapest guesthouse and unloaded our things. It was still early on the day and we had plenty of time, what to do in a cloud with nothing to see and being cold?, Rummikub! We played few rounds and I ventured out. 


The locals are “loco” many guides were playing a volleyball game on 4,130 meters. WOW these guys really have good hearts. None of the trekkers dared to even compete, two jumps and the third might have been their last. It was definitely a good way to keep warm. We went to bed, and prayed that the morning was going to be once again “clare”.








Day 7 Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) to Sinuwa (2,360m) 9hrs
We rose up early before the sun; we dressed up warm and ventured out to see what we have climbed for. 


When the sun gave warmth and moved the clouds aside, I was punched hard and tears came trickling down. I stared around at the giant, huge, massive space of pure earth. I’ve never been touched like this. A natural formation of mountains, soil made a hell of a view I’ve never seen before. (and I’ve seen many things) The earthy colors shined with warm morning light, the shadows of clouds gave perception and the Annapurna’s peek became visible. Nothing can be used to describe the space we were in, It’s a must see to feel and experience. I am glad that the three of us made it there and were able view the beauty and the beast.

It was cold, freezing cold! Monia was firing up her machine gun, shooting many bullets with her panorama Sonny SLT. She killed it!


Iza felt small, like an ant in the deepest jungle, just the hues were different, blue, white, bright, brown, and shades of grays. 


No worries, I have documented it for you right here!






Shortly after being enlightened we began to descend back down to the dusty movement. We were unstoppable and wanted to get down as far as possible. Most people usually take 3-4 days to get back down from ABC to Nayapul. It’s much harder to come down then up, the knees are not designed to walk down many stairs with heavy backpacks. We were on a mission to come back down in 2 days. Monia was flying back home and we wanted an extra day to celebrate Iza’s birthday.







So, I’ll make the long story short.
We used our walking sticks like antennas putting the stick and following it. We were quicker and faster almost managing with Monia’s speed. This time I took the lead and I was in the front, leading the group to a fast pace. My heart was easing of with the lower altitude and pumping me up with faster speed. 40 km and we did it in 2 days, long 2 days. Coming across many Chinese people and loads of steps. Fed on Dal Bhat and kept rolling. 

The taxi ride from Nayapul back to Pokhara was the last leg of exhaustion. We stunk badly, super tired, in loads of pain we were proud. Proud of making a 10 day trek into an 8 day trek with full benefits.


Did we see Yeti? 

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