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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Let the Trekking Begin

15 April, 2015

We are now midway through our trek. 14 days in and I am the dirtiest I have ever been in my life. Somehow, it doesn't really bother me. We trek for 5-7 hours a day through hot sun, wind, rain, and/or snow, and at the end of the day a freezing cold shower just doesn't tempt me as it is also very cold outside. Do you blame me? Brandon on the other hand, he has gotten good at cold showers... it must be his short hair, or the fact that he is smellier than me (although he may beg to differ).

The beginning of the trek got the best of me. After only one day I was down sick for a full day- the sickest I have ever been in my life. While I don't need to go into detail, I was eternally grateful that we had a plethora of medicine with us in which I took multiple pills. Whether it was something in the food or water, I was the lucky one that got the bug. Thankfully, the medicine I did take worked within a day and by morning I was (almost) back to normal and we walked for 10 miles to make up for lost time.

Other than the fact that we miss our hot showers and my one sick day, the trekking has been incredible. I had no idea what my body could endure, and everyday I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am proud of what we are doing and I am excited for what is to come. We have been backpacking through the himalayas now for 14 days and we have many more to go, we're even thinking about extending our route.

The trek itself is not all that difficult, however we are constantly cold, and at night we even sleep in our down jackets. The "tea houses" we stay at rarely have electricity, but every once in a while we get lucky and can re-charge our electronics and and maybe even make a post or two to Facebook when we find wifi. While we don't have the typical, everyday amenities, these "simple" accommodations are just adding to the experience making this trek one of the most incredible experience Brandon and I have ever had.

I'm not sure where the name tea house came from, I can only imagine because tea is the most commonly consumed beverage. Brandon and I have grown to love black tea, we get it every night, and sometimes even splurge on ginger tea at 70 rupees (70 cents) a cup. 

A Tea House in the alpine 

Prices here are also something that I didn't expect. Along the trek the locals want you to stay at their place so much that rooms are free as long as you eat dinner and breakfast there. My normal breakfast is a plain omelet (100 rupees) wrapped in chapatti bread, which is something along the line of a thick tortilla, however it is made fresh every time it is ordered and it is DE-lish! 

One of many suspension bridges along the trek 

Approaching Upper Pisang
Trekking towards Manang
Unpolluted night skies, Manang
High mountain transportation, via local and mule
Nearly to high camp

Currently, the route we are trekking is called the Annapurna Circuit. This is a 220 kilometer trek that includes walking over a pass at 5416 meters (or just under 18,000 feet for my colorado friends). This is the highest pass in the world and it deserves the utmost respect. Just under a year ago a snowstorm came along (which happens often) and 20 people died because they couldn't find their way back down. The morning we were taking the pass we got up at 4 am to begin at 4:30 and of course it was snowing. I asked my guide if this was okay and he didn't seem bothered by it. I kept my mouth shut but can now admit to being somewhat terrified. We continue up the pass with light snow and as soon as we got to the top, only 4 hours later, the clouds lifted and we had the most magnificent views. I know people say this often but the pictures just do not do it justice. My breath was taken away, not because there is 50% less oxygen, but because I felt like I was on top of the world. Brandon and I were able to accomplish something that only a few months ago would have been out of our dreams. We are in Nepal, we're travelers, we are seeing things and experiencing things that is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we are grateful.  

Nearly to the Highest Pass in the world (Thorong-La 5416m) thats 17,769 ft.

Yaks in their element
Top of the pass

Mountain makers
Descending pass

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