Annapurna Circuit: Day 8 – Manang to Yak Kharka.

Thursday 21st December 2017.

First signs to Thorong-La Pass! It’s getting real now.

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As we left the village there was a woman selling jewellery and various other goods on the trail. I liked this amber necklace but wasn’t prepared to pay the price she was asking so walked on. A few moments later Terry presented me with an early Christmas present! I’ve been wearing it ever since; it’s so beautiful.

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So when we left Manang we began to leave the Marsyangdi Valley and venture into the Valley of the Jarsang Khola, above the forest and passing through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and birch. The views here… I have no words. Looking back at these photos and they look unreal – the size of mountains in comparison to the tiny villages and river below…

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This picture shows the Grand Barrier – a long snowy ridge that stretches westward, capped by Tilicho Peak. Tilicho lake is in the valley infront and is an alternative to the Thorong-La pass and adds 3-4 days to your trek.

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Safety. Now, I have been to several developing countries and seen several interesting safety features … I just had to cringe at the people inside this shack being supported by the wooden posts balanced on rocks. Thankfully we didn’t stop here for a cup of tea!

So at this point we begun walking along a dry, alpine trail from Tengi (3650m/11,975ft), lined with scrub juniper and birch on either side. This day was turning out to be one of the most beautiful days of the trek for me.

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Tea break at Gunsang (3990m/12,860ft) promised us views of Chulu West (6,419 m/21,060 ft) as drunk our lemon tea. Even the toilet had a “view” of this fantastic peak (I’ll leave you to figure that one out)

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Along the route various horses, cows and goats passed us as we ambled along the undulating route in the heat and sunshine. It was a shame to me that this section was so short, only 9km/5miles, as I could have happily walked all day on this route with these views.
But alas, we eventually reached Yak Kharka (4050m/13,287ft) and it was COLD. Ice and snow was in the courtyard of our guest house and on the surrounding hills.
After lunch will had a short acclimatisation walk into the hills behind the guesthouse before settling down in a room with a woodburner to keep warm in the evening whilst we ate our lunch.

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At point we had perfected the ‘quick undress’ movement of getting into our sleeping bags in super quick time to avoid getting cold. Hot showers were out of the question, wet wipes were in, heavy down jackets were kept on for as long as possible and socks kept in the sleeping bag to stop them from freezing overnight!

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Annapurna Circuit: Day 9 – Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi.

Just Joanne.

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