Annapurna circuit - side trek to Tilicho lake part 2.

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.

 At Tilicho base camp!

At Tilicho base camp!

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.

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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.

 Others goes with horses, others by foot.

Others goes with horses, others by foot.

 What else than a tilicho lake itself!

What else than a tilicho lake itself!

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 There is snow peak mountains around the lake.

There is snow peak mountains around the lake.

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!

 This is what the landslide area looked like.

This is what the landslide area looked like.

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.

The conditions started to get quite rough and even rougher there going to change while going higher. But from that on the next post!

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Annapurna circuit - side trek to Tilicho lake part 1.

This blog post is direct continuation of a story which I started on a previous blog post. So, if you wanna read the whole story, start from the previous one!

 Goodbye Upper Pisang! We are continuing our trek!

Goodbye Upper Pisang! We are continuing our trek!

In Upper Pisang we made a decision to trek to Tilicho lake. Tilicho lake is the highest lake in the world locating in 4919 meters high! We have heard from many people while trekking that the Tilicho lake is amazing. Well, then we just have to go see it on ourselves!

Tilicho lake trek is furthermore a great way to acclimate (adapt to high altitude). We took the higher route from Upper Pisang to Manang. This route choosing is also a better way to acclimate comparing to lower route through Lower Pisang.

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It’s very important to acclimate well in these heights. Great part of our sick days was that we had a much time to acclimate already in 2600 meters and 3300 meters. Usually many trekkers takes a rest day for acclimation in Manang (3540m). Really it would be better to acclimate after every 1000 meters ascent when you are above the 2500 meters. When you are letting your body to adapt for higher altitudes, you can more certain avoid the altitude sickness. You always have to take seriously the altitude sickness. The most common symptoms for altitude sickness are headache, malaise, sleeping problems and lack of appetite. In serious cases it’s causes mental confusion, heavy cough and breathing difficulties. In these altitudes we decided to start preventive medication; zolamide 125 mg every 12 hours, so taking one at morning and one at evening. It is diuretic. So it’s increasing production of urine, so it decreases the amount of fluid in your body. Altitude sickness causes extra fluid building up in cells and in the worst case the fluid builds up within the lungs or brain. So this medication prevents that.

So from the Upper Pisang we started again our climbing up. It was 9. trek day and it started with awful ascending to Ghyaru village (3670m). We hiked steep uphill for about one hour. It felt that it’s never going to stop. From Ghyaru we continued through Ngawal village to Bhraka (3360m). The common instruction is that hike up and sleep low. So, it’s better that you hike high, but come back for lower altitude to sleep. This route was perfect for that.

 Village between the mountains.

Village between the mountains.

 Admiring the views in Ghyaru.

Admiring the views in Ghyaru.

From Bhraka it would be short distance to Manang, where usually everybody goes, but we wanted to stay in more quiet and peaceful Bhraka. On the next morning we walked through Manang towards Khangsar (3734m). Manang seemed a little bit touristy, so we were glad that we chose another village to stay over night. From Manang we bought couple of sweet buns to go and continued our trek.

 Towards for Tilicho base camp.

Towards for Tilicho base camp.

We woke up early in Khangsar for leaving towards for Tilicho base camp. In this part of a trek there was big land slide area, which should cross over on morning before mid day sun, which is heating up the rocks on uphill to make them move down. This area should cross calmly, minding your steps and keeping some distance to each other while trekking. If the next person trekking behind you is far enough, he or she can more better to see and warn from the falling rocks or avoid for being at the same land slide spot and get help if needed.

We arrived safely to the Tilicho base camp (4150m) after mid day. In this part of a trek the views was incredible and the route was constant uphill and downhill. Base camp was crowded. Like, really crowded. Luckily we still got beds from dorm room. Many people ended up for sleeping to dining hall, cause there was no more rooms left. The evening went by comfortable in the dining hall in the warm of stove while enjoying the multi cultural environment.

On the next day we will climb up to the Tilicho lake, but from that you can read from the next blog post!

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Annapurna circuit - rough start.

The legendary Annapurna circuit! The trek should be amazing! It usually takes about 17 to 21 days to complete this trek. We were thinking that we are spending about 21 to 24 days in a trek. We didn’t take a guide or a porter. We carry all our stuff by ourselves and the route is so obvious that we can’t get lost. We have read a lot from the circuit on the internet, and we actually have printed advice from the trek on paper with us and of course a proper map.

 two very happy ones starting the trek.

two very happy ones starting the trek.

On first day we were full of enthusiasm! The weather was warm and views were great. Well, let’s start walking! On first day we trekked all day from Bhulbhule to Syange. At first trekking felt quite easy, but on end of a day the backpack felt so heavy. When we ended our first trekking day, we both were super tired. Every muscle ached. After we chose our guest house, we just took a shower, ate and went directly to bed. We fell a sleep 7.00 PM. We have never done anything like this, so our bodies might get a little shock. On the evening I had also started to sneeze and my throat was aching. Damn it, don’t need a flu in addition for this.

 From here it goes!

From here it goes!

On the next morning my throat ached even more but otherwise I felt quite okey, so we continued trekking. In these altitudes (about 1000m) temperatures are still pleasantly warm and you can easily trek with shorts and t-shirt. In the mid day sun feels burning. At lunchtime I felt worse. I didn’t feel well and my throat ached so bad that i wouldn’t want to speak. We decided to cut short our trekking for the day and we continued just about two hours more for a next village called Chyamche (1430m) and we stayed there. I went directly napping and woke up not until dinner time.

There’s not much pharmacies in the mountains, so we ended up to medicate my flu with tea, local herb oil and vodka (for disinfect my throat). We even selected garlic soup for dinner. Locals say it helps with altitude sickness. Maybe it helps with flu too?

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 Lunch break while enjoying these amazing views!

Lunch break while enjoying these amazing views!

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I don’t know what from these our self-medicate things did the magic but on next morning I felt alright and energetic, even tho still sneezy. Throat didn’t ache anymore. We decided to keep on going but slowly.

Until for now we hadn’t seen many other trekkers, but in Daraphani (1860m) there was many other hikers in our guest house; there was aussies, british, spanish etc. For the first time we had to queue for a shower. For a ice cold shower. We had had hot water until now in every village. There was usually hot water boilers in showers. But not in this guest house. In the other hand, luckily. Because everybody took a very quick shower, so the shower queue moved on rapidly. The happy surprise was the wifi connections. Wifi really worked! Guest houses are pretty simple and evenings started to feel little bit chilly, so you started to wear a jacket on inside also.

On the next morning I crawled sniffling to the dining hall for breakfast, where one aussie guy laying on the chairs, also sniffling. When he saw me, he said good morning and asked how i feel (it was pretty easy to see that I have a flu).

“I feel epic.. You?”

“Splendid..” He answers in sneezy voice.

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Well, the feeling wasn’t epic. For neither of us. Eemeli caught the flu from me to himself also. On the fourth day we managed to reach all the way to Chame (2670m) just to notice that we have to rest properly. We stayed there two nights to heal ourselves while drinking a lot of tea and playing cards. Luckily there was a pharmacy in Chame from where we got to buy some flu medicine, strepsils and antibiotics for just in case.

 It’s pretty cold inside already. Evening snack at the bed.

It’s pretty cold inside already. Evening snack at the bed.

From Chame we trekked only one day to Upper Pisang (3300m), where we stayed for two nights again. The flu didn’t want to go away and also Eemeli had some stomach problems. (Maybe some small food poisoning?)

First week of trekking was behind and it had started quite roughly. The altitude didn’t cause us any problems. The flu did. Mornings started to feel way more colder and in the nights you didn’t want to move anywhere from under the blanket, not even for a toilet. In Upper pisang the views was getting even better tho, and the mind stayed positive, because this was just so amazing to be here! After trekking day you feel like a winner!

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On the next week we are aiming for a higher altitudes. Hopefully with better health.

Continue in the next post!

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