Changing Adventures – Nepal

Trying to wrap up one adventure and start another one here.  This post marks the tail  end of 23 days with 14 undergraduates from University of Washington. We just finished a 16 trek to Annapurna Base Camp deep in the Annapurna Sanctuary. Next up? A fast hike (run?) around the sanctuary with two friends from the Pacific Northwest.

Where to start? Maybe learning points. I learned that moving 27 people from A:B for 16 days takes a lot of effort. Meggie, Dorjee and Pasang and Nima deserve a lot of the credit  – as do the 8 porters and 14 students. We made it through countless valleys, leach infested hillsides, mud, rivers with wobbly bridges  (or no bridges at all), altitude sickness scares and ankle scares and knee scares and asthma scares and landslides to boot.

One of my frustrations is with large groups in the back country so we tried to travel in 3-4 smaller groups. Still, pretty crazy. Last year we had 12 students, this year 14. Maybe time to rethink that.

My botched haircut-turned-buzzed-off has grown out, but not as fast as my beard so I feel like a biker. My ankles are covered in leach bites which itch like crazy and I am sporting a nice farmer-John tan.

I managed to get some of my own time at Annapurna Base Camp and had some amazing views. The literal and figurative high point of this adventure for me. Last year everything was socked in and my memories of my visit in the winter of 1995 are fuzzy at best. My trail run down from base camp was surreal single track.  Our route for those interested was: Kathmandu to Phokara by bus, then to Phedi. Overnighted at Dhampus, Landruck, Ghandruck, Chomrung, Chomrung, Bamboo, Himalaya, MBC, MBC, Bamboo, Chomrung, Tadapani, Tadapani, Ghorepani, Hile, and out to Nayapull with a bus to Pokhara and then another to Kathmandu on Saturday. If I do it again – will try to find a way to skip Bamboo and Himalaya as both are pretty wooded and it might spread out the ascent rate a little more. 
Friends Scotty and Rich yesterday and we will jump in a private car to the trail head a little later today, once we have our permits in hand for the circuit.  Glad I will have some company! 
I’ll end on that happy note. Back in the States around the end of the month. Will be offline a good chunk before then but will likely setup the SPOT tracker and carry a sat phone. All of the pics for the Annapurna UW trek with the students are online at https://picasaweb.google.com  but a few are also below. Cheers! Seth

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