Annapurna Circuit

So when you’re an inexperienced trekker, have never done a long distance path and have no idea what clothing or equipment you need, its best to pick a 3 week long trek which maxes out at an altitude of 18,000ft. I saw it that way as well. To coin a well used phrase amongst my climbing buddies, “What’s the worst that could happen”?

Does what it says on the lid.

So, armed with a trekking permit (after some judicious use of Nepalese Rupees and officials), a detailed and accurate map (see photo), and a big stick I felt like I was ready for anything.

On the subject of the map. It was two tone with poor contour indicators/lines and a fairly chunky dotted line which indicated where you needed to go. There was no finness to it. At best it was a guide, rather than a full on navigation tool.

Trekking for idiots

Now that I think back to preparing for the trek, I realise that I was in no way ready to undertake such an adventure. My sleeping bag was a one season load of rubbish, I had a ‘Burtons’ lightweight jacket, a varsity jumper and a pair of jeans and a scarf. This added up to the sum of my cold weather gear. No rain jacket, converse boots for walking (and flaps), no first aid kit, a plastic water bottle, a swiss army knife (probably the only effective piece of kit I had) and of course my camera. The map was my diary and I bought some chocolate for energy; which lasted about two days.

The shores of Baidam

No, definitely not prepared. But being so blissfully ignorant of what was required ensured I was full of misguided confidence and I had one major weapon in my arsenal. At this point in my life I had limitless energy! It was going to be a breeze.

The view from our pension

Debbie and I spent a few days in Pokhara, specifically at Baidam on the shores of the lake. Such a peaceful and beautiful location and taking a boat out for a row on the lake just adds to the majesty of the whole experience. You spend your days staring at the huge massifs of Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain) and Annapurna, which ramps up the excitement of knowing you will be in among all those incredible mountains at some point.

Some prime lakeside property

Debbie, unfortunately didn’t feel comfortable with the trek. In hindsight this was probably the right decision because of later events, but at the time I remember being disappointed for her. But, having to spend a few weeks by the lake is not arduous, especially with views like below.

Machapuchare from Pokhara