Beautiful weather, yesterday’s, and the pre-dawn sky is perfectly clear again. The photo is from yesterday’s lunch on the rooftop at Maya Cafe. A few minutes ago the peaks of Annapurna and Fishtail were just visible in the moonlight, but now they are brighter and whiter. There doesn’t seem to be a bit of cloud or mist in front of them for the first time since we arrived — just a bit of low, dark cloud or maybe smoke from a fire is hanging over Phewa Tal and obscuring the view of Dhaulagiri from our deck. The birds seem especially noisy when everything else is so clear and quiet.
I’m still not sleeping much past 4 am, and today that was hopeless anyway, anticipating final packing, breakfast and a taxi ride an hour west out of Pokhara to where we will start walking. Our plan is for a short time on the trail today to a point where the Mardi Himal trek diverges from the Annapurna Sanctuary route. We’ll spend the night there, find out whether the lodged are open or can be opened for us on the Mardi Himal side, then go that direction if so or to ABC if not. Raj got here yesterday afternoon, and he got our permits before we all talked about the route, had dinner at Peace Eye and picked up some final trekking gear.
We’re anticipating some snow above 2500m, certainly above 3000, and either route takes us above 4000. The preferred Mardi Himal route reaches its peak on a day hike to just over 4500m. So our plans will remain fluid. We know from the first day we will be quite close to Annapurna and the surrounding peaks, so we will go as far as we want to go given the weather and our physical conditions as we progress.
We should have spotty wireless conditions along the way, but cell-only service is more likely than Internet. I’ll post when I can and run the satellite tracker as batteries allow. On the outside, we should be back in Pokhara on Sunday or Monday.