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Thursday, April 30, 2015

An Extra Long Day

22 April 2015 (flashback to the last week on the trek)

Day 21: We have been in the mountains for 21 days now after deciding to continue the trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary. Looking back over the last few weeks I am blown away by the vistas we have been graced to see. The Himalayas are so massive and every way we look is another giant peak. The trail follows a milky glacial river through the Himalayan valley of vertical rice terraces and bamboo forests. Our goal is Annapurna Base Camp, the starting point for serious climbers attempting Annapurna I, the worlds 10th highest peak and the highest fatality rate of all the Himalayan mountains at 32% fatality to sumit ratio, but at 4130 meters, the base camp is a destination in itself.

The trail to the Annapurna Basecamp offers up varied terrain

A milky glacial river cuts a passible canyon to the Sanctuary

Sunrise at Annapurna Bascamp

After days and days of climbing under a 42-liter pack we begin to wonder if we're ever going to reach our destination. Fueling our bodies with the traditional Nepali dish of rice, lentils and curry, it is the perfect combination of carbs and protein to fuel us for the long haul. Unfortunatly after eating the same grub for days and days on end, it does little to wet the appetite at the end of a long day.

Enter the "famous chocolate cake" located in the village of Chhomrong. Nearly a legend on the Annapurna trail, this cake is whispered about between trekkers who are days away from a proper dessert.

After being on the trail for three weeks, trust me when I say we would do ANYTHING for a piece of that cake. In fact, we did just that. When we heard about this cake, we decided we wanted it so much that instead of doing a regular day of walking we would do whatever it took to get there. We walked for 9 hours with off and on jogging through (i'm not kidding you) a monsoon and hail storm, and ending the day walking UP 1902 stairs (this doesn't include the fortress of stairs we had to climb earlier in the day) totaling over 30 kilometers.. now THAT'S what I call desire.

We finally made it to Chhomrong; feet aching, bodies sore, we collapse in our guest house for a moment before venturing back out to find "the cake."

We walk around the village a bit and finally find the guest house of Didi, who makes the infamous  dessert. The cake is delivered on a simple plate and is enjoyed briskly between groans of appreciation and slurps of tea. The sugar rushes into our bloodstream while the day's exhausting work fades from our memory and we sit peacefully watching the clouds part and the majestic Himalayas popping out into full view.

We are happy.

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