Another day shows up with 100% sun and tropical temperatures, The trek of today is beautiful, following the shimmering green water of the river in mainly uphill direction. We are surrounded by steep hills in green and brown and witness km after km how the landscape slightly changes: The river turns into a torrent, the valley becomes a ravine and we spot snow on the 6-thousand-something peaks that come in sight.
The higher we get the more signs of Buddhism cross our way. With loud Om Mani Padme Hum we roll the mani wheels, praying for bright weather and a good hiking trek.
Houses, huts and villages we pass by are mainly inhabited by farmers with a bit of rough land and some goats or sheep.
Not before long the path is merely a set of stairs. I heard rumours about more than 5.000 treads you need to take during the Annapurna circuit and here they are, all laid-out at my feet. With every step I take I learn a bit about myself and the finding of the day is: I do not like them. At least not in the given quantity… However, being part of a hiking group means follow the flock.
Fortunately, the path includes some rope bridges that cheer me up. It is no surprise that I am more of the dancing kind and thus I sway and float over the river.
On altitude below 2.000m, we meet further animal flocks such as monkeys and sheep. We eventually get accompanied by a handful of cuddling goats that intend to come along for about an hour.
As the afternoon enfolds, we leave them behind to increase the height between us and the river. It surely needs some uphill way in order to reach Dharapuri on its 1.860m. The highest point of today’s tour is marked by a stone gate that would be beautiful if not for strange tourists in silly poses.
We reach our “Green Park” lodge in the late afternoon and immediately start the run for the adventurously installed hot shower. Compared to the prior night, we are blessed with almost luxury common “bathrooms” and a nice terrace outside. Even at our current height, it gets remarkably cold as soon as the sun settles behind the surrounding mountains, leaving the outside table abandoned.
The higher we get, the more I itensify my nightly relationship with Fred, the -43° expedition sleeping bag. Only time will tell how well it will suit in higher levels when reaching 3.000 or 4.000 altitude meters…