Best walk of the trip so far, absolutely wonderful. Great weather, particularly in the morning and huge views, a complete turnaround from yesterday.
It's a very simple walk to describe. Retracing our steps over the bridge from Lower Pinsang we climbed steadily up the hill, past a lovely little green lake, and then more steeply, zig-zagging over open ground all the way up to Ghyaru. This is our most sustained climb of the trek so far and by the time we got to the top we had climbed over 400 metres. After a tea stop we then walk along a contour path high up on the valley side, stop for lunch at Nawal, before a gentle descent down to Manang.
|Prayer wheels with Annapurana II in the background|
The scenery is just amazing. As we climb the views of Annapurna II just grow and grow, a huge near vertical wall of white with giant glaciers carving into its face. Half way a rumble echoes across the valley and a cloud of snow descends down the mountain, an avalanche, which seems to have been laid on just for us. Shortly after we get to see Annapurna 3, then Gangapurna, and then later still, and back down the valley Lamjung Himal, the mountain we had enjoyed a couple of days earlier.
|On the path out of Ghyaru|
First the climb, then tea at Ghyaru, and then this wonderful contour walk between Ghyaru and Nawal, all of them provide just perfect platforms for the huge scenery to the south - altogether an amazing walk.
The little villages themselves are very interesting. Tightly packed houses, stone built cubes, with integral open spaces for drying hay and storing with accommodation for people and animals intertwined. Each village seems to have a monastery, lots of prayer wheels and a little gate at either end.
|Which is my room?|
So what's it like walking with a group of people you have never met before. Well in my experience it always works and often it works really well, reflecting I guess the sort of people who are attracted to holidays like this. This is a particularly fun group. Counting Christine and myself there are ten of us altogether, a good size, bigger groups start to overload the catering capacity of the tea houses. Just to give you an idea of the type of people who go on trips like this the group consists of:
Chris, a maths teacher from London in his forties, has been to Nepal before, has an amazing knowledge of music and football, and is a very funny guy.
Phil is another generator of laughter, again in his forties, he is a building surveyor from Liverpool, always ready with a quip, he manages to sustain the group's humour levels throughout the day. Phil has also been to Nepal before and managed to fall, brake a bone in his back and had to have an extended stay in Pokara to recover.
Nick has just retired as a psychiatrist, has done lots of adventure travel before but this is his first trip to Nepal and his first altitude trek. An interesting person to walk with and the group's key medical advisor.
Helen is a real tough cooky, was very ill with a stomach bug on day 2, but walked through the day and never complained. A busy planner back home in the UK, a cyclist, very fit and again good fun to be with.
Carole is a keen walker from Wales, works for a waste recycling charity, and has a host of stories to relate about trips around the world. She has a warm personality and a good sense of humour.
Tanya is a strong self confident young woman from Copenhagen, a finance project manager who has travelled around the world. She speaks superb English and is a keen and amused observe of idiosyncratic British behaviour.
Noel is an ultra fit 74 year old retired chief planning officer from the southwest. A Welshman by birth with a dry sense of humour. His fitness is an example to the rest of us.
Paul is a retired businessman and a bit of a walking medical miracle. He has had a triple heart by-pass, is a diabetic and deaf an accident at work. He is brilliant photographer, has a top end camera but has demonstrated what brilliant pictures can be taken on a smart phone.