I am planning to get out of Kathmandu tomorrow, assuming it’s possible to buy a ticket, probably for a morning flight to Pokhara, with the bandh going on today. I’m thinking of hiring a guide, half to give someone a job and half to make what I’m planning possible in the remaining time.
I think I may do the Annapurna Sanctuary trek. It may have to be slightly abbreviated to ensure I’m back for my return flight next Friday. That was one of my ideas last year when I first proposed this trip — it’s beautiful, in the heart of the mountains, and it is short enough. It’s on the other side of Annapurna I from my previously intended route. A quick out and back looks good on the map, skipping Poon Hill and the loop that usually involves.
I’m in relatively good trekking shape now; short of acclimatization, my legs have gone through some tough uphill and (more importantly) downhill with my full pack, and the muscles have had time to heal. With the very light pack that would necessary for that trek, I should be good…better than had I started last Tuesday as planned.
Hiring a guide will add substantially to the cost, so I’ll have to calculate that, but I think I should be good for it. A guide on such a well known trek means no wrong turns, less stress and quicker progress. I considered trying to find another tourist to join me instead, but that means being tied to their pace and potential stupidity.
I’m on the roof now above a quiet but still exceptionally smoggy city. When it wakes up a little I’m going to see if the small guide and travel company I used to get the first flight to Pokhara is open today. If not, I have the guy’s cell number and can maybe work it out by phone.
Edited to add a picture of the rising sun, which appears brilliantly red through the pollution.