Trekking starts Wednesday

Shops have started to open again, despite the bandh. I managed to get a good breakfast from the upstairs restaurant part of Hot Bread, which I now remember was one of our breakfast spots toward the end of the trip here in ’99. After that, I sat on the Hotel Nana roof and read for a while until the streets seemed to get busier below.

Then I called Osho World Adventure, which had booked my earlier flight to Pokhara, were nice about it, gave me a good deal and seemed competent when we talked about my earlier trekking plans. They were open, so I walked the few blocks over there and booked another flight and a guide. I’ll go back there in an hour to get my flight eticket and meet my guide.

First, I’m flying to Pokhara again tomorrow morning. I’ll have a day to relax and will reconnect with the guide Tuesday night, then Wednesday morning we will head out. Here is the rough seven-day plan from there:

– Wednesday car or jeep from Pokhara to Dhampus and start trekking
– Thursday continue trekking up
– Friday continue trekking up
– Saturday short day to Machhapuchhre Base Camp, where we will drop bags and spend the night; day hike to South Annapurna Base Camp, the end of the trekking trail
– Sunday start trekking down
– Monday continue trekking down
– Tuesday complete the trek down to Phedi and catch a bus back to Pokhara

That’s fluid and depends on how much ground we cover each day. The manager at Osho said we would need more days, but then he started describing typical days of three to four hours. I can do that before lunch and a couple more hours after, and if that fails we will simply turn around on Saturday night and take the three remaining days to get back. I don’t care how far we get, though the guide won’t be carrying my bags so I intend to push for a long of days as I want to walk.

I’m also paying the guide for the following Wednesday, even though I will likely have cut him loose the night before, because that’s his travel day back to Kathmandu. So if we get behind a couple of hours and need Wednesday morning to get out it will be fine.

I just need to be back in Kathmandu by Thursday night…Friday afternoon actually, if I wanted to fly back from Pokhara, walk over to the international terminal and depart directly on my 920 pm flight to Abu Dhabi on the 19th. With the plan being to return to Pokhara by Tuesday night, I should have plenty of time.

This should be amazing. It’s popular and busier than where I had planned to go, but with good reason. Though the “base camps” listed above are trekker destinations rather than operating mountaineering base camps, they are in the Annapurna Sanctuary, surrounded by 5500- to 8000-meter peaks on every side except the valley through which the trail enters. From a trailhead at 1650 meters, if we complete the entire thing we will end at 4130 meters, slightly higher than I’ve been to date. Sat tracker has fresh batteries, and that may be my only means of communication for most of the week, so watch the maps.

One more afternoon, then, I have to kill in noisy Thamel. I need to call the hotel in Pokhara to try to make a reservation so I can return to that familiar and friendly place, but otherwise I have no agenda beyond meeting my guide, finishing a book and eating cheese and crackers.

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