This blog post is direct continuation of a story which I started on a previous blog posts. So, if you wanna read the whole story, start from the first Annapurna circuit- blog text.
It’s a 11th trekking day and we are at Tilicho base camp (4150m). We feel great. High altitude doesn’t cause us any problems. We have slept sufficiently well and alarm goes off at 5.30 AM. It’s still dark and cold when we are heading for breakfast. The dining hall is full of sleeping trekkers, so we are eating our brekkie in a hallway next to dining hall with couple of other early bird trekkers. When the sun rises, we leave our backpacks into the base camp, tie up camel packs to our backs and start to climb up towards the Tilicho lake.
Trekking is so much easier without the backpack! This was the thought we had after half an hour climbing up. When we had climbed about two hours and we were almost in 5000 meters high, it doesn’t feel so easy anymore. The whole path is just constant, pretty rough uphill and the breathing starts to feel heavy because of the thin air. You just have to walk calmly and slowly and drink a lot of water.
We thought that we trekked very slowly, but other people thought different. Couple local guys passed us with horses at beginning on the trek and we passed them by foot at the ending on the trek. They wondered how we could move ahead so fast by foot. We were puffing and gasping and stopped about every 40 meters to take a breath, so for us it didn’t felt like it was going so well.
After trekking about 2,5 hours, we arrived to the Tilicho lake. Well, there was a lake with a blue ass water! There was snow peak mountains around the lake and the view was stunning. But that wind! The wind was so hard that it was difficult to stand still. And the coldness! The wind made the air so damn cold. Other trekkers had warned us about the coldness, but it still was surprise how cold it was. We wandered around and filmed couple of hours, until our fingers and toes were numb from the coldness. Then was time to leave back.
I can’t say which was worse; climbing up or going down. Of course the going down is much faster, but coming downhill this very steep path was so hard for the knees. I have a loose knees, so going down was really painful. I just hoped that my knees doesn’t dislocate. We kind of mostly jogged down, cause it was better for the legs.
It took 6 hours to the lake and back from us, including two hours wandering in the lake area. We arrived to the base camp again after mid day. We ate lunch there and left towards to Shree Karkha (3900m), where we decided to spent a night. It would take a 2,5- 3 hours to get there. In this trekking path was that landslide area, and we were passing it on afternoon time which wasn’t ideal. Well, the warnings really wasn’t for nothing, cause I almost got hidden by a huge rock.
I was walking in front and Eemeli was about 15 meters behind me when I heard him shouting: “Watch out!” I looked up to the hillside just to see this huge rock rolling down fast. It was a size of my head. Luckily it passed one meter in front of me, because it was coming down so fast that I think I wouldn’t be fast enough to dodge it. And it passed me at eye level, so it would hidden me to the head. Yes. I startled. And so did all the other trekkers in the path also. Everybody freezed up and stared up to hillside to see if there is more rocks coming down. For a few minutes nobody moved. But after all we got to continue our way without any rocks coming down anymore. But yes; this part of the trek is dangerous!
There is just few guest houses in Shree Karkha, and when we arrived, there wasn’t any rooms left. We could sleep in the dining hall. Well, no matter, that’s fine for us. And oh boy, how full that guest house was! You couldn’t find a place to sit in dining hall, so we ended up to squeeze in to the “sofas” around heater with other backpackers. The evening went by chatting with other trekkers. It’s so nice how social and interested to meet new people everyone are. It’s interesting to hear about others trekking experiences and stories about other countries and cultures. There is people from all over the world hiking in Nepal. The atmosphere between trekkers is very communal. Well, we got transfer from the dining hall to the upstairs for sleeping in a room with five other people. There was no beds, and not even enough mattresses. But, no problem! Friendly older chinese man put his mattress next to ours and I squeezed in sleeping between Eemeli and this friendly stranger.
From Shree Karkha we started our way back to the “main route” which would lead us to Thorong la pass. Our plan at first was to stay the night in Yak kharka (4018m), but we ended up to move on to the next village; Ledar (4200m). It was fun, that while trekking we ended up to see same people over and over, cause we were hiking with the same pace. While passing each other we were saying hellos, chatting this and that and sharing trekking plans.
The high altitude hasn’t cause us any problems. Well, of course the climbing up with your backpack gets harder because of the thin air. Breathing is much more heavier and our pace is very slow. We have to take breaks more often just to level our breathing. In these altitudes there isn’t hot water for shower or any wifi connections. And when there’s not hot water, you don’t wanna take a shower. It’s already cold, so you really don’t want to go cold shower. And if you didn’t have a sunny day (we didn’t), you couldn’t wash your laundry, cause there was no way to dry those clothes. And yeah, there’s no electricity anywhere else than a hostels dining hall. So better have a head lamp with you. On that evening it even started to snow a little bit. I can just say that it was a cold night.