Weather a bit disappointing today, not a disaster but too cloudy to see the tops of the mountains. Just as well that yesterday gave us such wonderful views of the Manang valley.
Short walk along the trail today, about 4 hours and a climb of a couple of hundred metres up to Yak Khark. After walking underneath a gloomy and slightly intimidating Gangapurna the route turns from west to north west and up the valley towards the Thorung Pass. The mountains in this valley, so far, are not quite on the same scale as Annapurna 2 and Gangapurna.
|Up the valley from Manang|
Saw our first Yaks and a herd of wild mountain goat.
|Our first Yak|
We arrived at Yak Khark at 12.30 and at 2.30 were taken on a really sharp and very steep 320 metre climb up the hill near the tea house. This complies with acclimatisation rule that you always sleep lower than you have climbed. It was a tough walk however and perhaps designed to improve fitness before we attempt the pass. At least one member of the party, Paul, seems a long way of making the trip and didn't complete the climb, will be interesting to see how this is resolved. Carole is also very tired and apprehensive but everyone else seems to be really looking forward to it, including Noel who is 74!
|Returning to Yak Khark after the acclimatisation walk|
The community of walkers drifting alone the Annapurna Circuit on the same schedule as us is now easy to recognise. I think there is about sixty trekkers plus support group staying in one or two tea houses, it's still early in the season and not all the tea houses are being used. Because everyone is walking to the same schedule you're on nodding, namaste and hello terms with most of one.
Most nights we seem to be sharing out tea house with at least one French group, a German group, a couple of Israelis and the woman from Switzerland. Now we are higher, and it's colder, everyone is avoiding their rooms and huddling around the stove or the under table heater in the tea house. It's a nice atmosphere.
This hut, like most of them, splits the porters and to an extent the guides from the rest of us. The Nepalese eat their dhal bat on their own and here they are downstairs watching an Indian soap opera. The guides are popping up and down the stairs taking orders for drinks and food, the entire relationship with the tea house staff is managed by the guides.
Interesting to see how small some of the groups are. Sonya, the very attractive woman from Switzerland, has made friends with everyone particularly the men.
On the trail we see a Russian couple everyday who are carrying all there own stuff - very heavy looking stuff - and today we saw the 4 super smart Chinese walkers we were with on Days 1 and 2. The Chinese, three woman and one man, came together on the internet and have organised their own trip. Not sure if their little group is jelling as they all walk along way apart from each other - one of them, the guy, has a speaker on his ruck sack - his eclectic choice of music - a mix of western and presumably Chinese pop music - may be putting his friends off.