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My First Annapurna Base Camp Trek Cover

A Newbie’s Adventure: My First Annapurna Base Camp Trek

It is a proud moment for me to have written hundreds of paragraphs on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek and then climbed hundreds of stairs to reach the ABC three years later. [Excitedly clapping hands]

Before I lead you up the stairway to Annapurna Base Camp. Let me mention something, I enjoy going on walks and can generally walk for one to two hours without tiring (on a straight road). As a result, my experience may be more transforming than yours. Even my trekking buddies had a different experience than I did.

Unlike other trips that need months of planning, our journey to ABC was very swift. I went on the ABC trek with some colleagues from the office, which I joined only three months ago. I was completely unprepared, but the ambition to reach the base camp had always been there, so when a friend approached me about the trek, I immediately agreed.

Packing things for the ABC Trek

If you’re new to trekking, I’m sure the most challenging question for you will be what to carry for the trek. Fortunately, after some googling and reading a few blogs on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, I was prepared to begin packing. I began gathering my belongings for the voyage, and the 5 minute DIY video that always appears on Facebook helped me a lot to roll my clothes to pack stuff.

Things I packed for Annapurna Base Camp Trek

I had to arrange it ahead of time because our itinerary was for a week. I didn’t want the bag to be too heavy to carry or too light by missing essential items that I could have caught cold from the frigid weather up there. So these are the items I thought were most significant for my journey.

  • Vest X 2: Extremely lightweight because I always wear them. It’s optional if you directly wear t-shirts.
  • T-shirt X 2: To switch regularly so I could dry one while wearing the other
  • Shorts X 1: One is enough for the trek.
  • Joggers / Waterproof trekking pants X 2: For the same reasons, one to wear and the other to dry.
  • Thermals X1: Used only for sleeping purposes.
  • Warm Highneck or V-neck X 1: To wear it inside my T-shirt for the higher altitude.
  • Windcheater Jacket X 1: A must for trekking in the Annapurna regions.
  • Puffer Jacket or Down Jacket X 1: I knew I wouldn’t need it until I reached a very high altitude, so I carried it anyway. It might take up space but trust me carrying one, you won’t regret it.
  • Socks X 3: For walking, a lot of walking. It’s easier if you change socks every day.
  • Slippers X 1: A pair of slippers to ease my foot when I stay in the lodge for the night.
  • Trekking Shoes X 1: Shoes with grips that feel comfortable walking in snow as well. And it’s the main important thing for the trial. Carry shoes that you fit comfortably on your feet. You don’t want any injuries from shoes during the trek.
  • Sunscreen: Please carry sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50. I carried one with an SPF of 30. It didn’t work quite well. So, I recommend carrying one sunscreen of SPF 50.
  • Moisturiser and Lip Balm: Just to pamper my face time and again from the harsh wind and cold.
  • Raincoat: We bought one for ourselves at the Pokhara. That was a very good decision we made.

Day 1: Kathmandu to Jhinu Danda

We gathered at Kalanki at about 6 a.m. to board the bus to Pokhara. Regrettably, just a few jeeps with minimal seating were available for the departure. We were a group of six, so we strained even more to secure a seat for everyone and boarded a local bus to Pokhara at 7 a.m.

Tip: Please reserve your tickets ahead of time so you don’t have to hurry around looking for a jeep.

The journey to Pokhara

The ride will be absolutely traumatic if you choose an old bus as we did. I was really fed up with the highway there. The road conditions were practically deteriorating. I can’t even remember where the bus rode nicely throughout a 6 or 7 hours bus ride. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the view; it was hot and dusty, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me and neither for my friends.

Traveling there might be a wonderful journey when the roads are better, but it is a great discontent for me right now.

Then we arrived at Pokhara. Pokhara greeted us with a gust of wind. It was raining and blowing all at once. We didn’t think we needed a raincoat because it wasn’t raining in Kathmandu. Pokhara’s weather proved us wrong. We hurried to get a plastic raincoat as soon as possible from the shop nearby.

We rested while waiting for the jeep that we had reserved from Pokhara to Jhinu Danda.

Time: 6 – 7 hours
Cost: Nrs. 700 – 1000 per person

A ride from Pokhara to Jhinu Danda

This ride was well worth the money. The view was clear, and we could readily see the majestic mountains from our jeep. We even stopped several times to take some good photographs. And the roads were stunning.

The trip from Pokhara to Jhinu Danda took around 3.5 hours, however, the path was terrible for almost an hour. Perhaps because the road was being repaired. It was also getting pretty dark.

We arrived in Jhinu around 8 p.m. It was softly drizzling and utterly dark. We started walking with our flashlights on. It seemed as if we were walking through someone’s yard. We knew what to anticipate from the trail; it was going to be a lot harder up there.

Then we walked across the longest bridge I’d ever seen.
P.S.- It’s not the longest bridge.

Jhinu Bridge | ABC Trek

We arrived late at night in Jhinu Danda which is one of the starting sites for the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Our trek began at the bridge. We walked for around 30 minutes to get to our homestay. We’re grateful for making the decision to buy raincoats at Pokhara because they came in handy else we’d be wet cats on our first day.

Time: 3 hours ride + half an hour walk
Cost: Nrs. 8000 for the ride
Homestay Cost: Nrs. 1800 per person for the package (Inc. Lunch, Breakfast, and a bed to sleep)
*Price may fluctuate from season to season.

Day 2: Jhinu Danda to Dovan

Although we did took a few steps to get to Jhinu Danda, we formally began our adventure on the second day. We knew how the walking track would end for us after an hour which was not so good. Despite this, the picturesque village vistas and mountains that stayed hidden behind clouds and could only be glimpsed on rare occasions pushed us.

On the first day of the walk, we set off at 8 a.m. It was sunny, the view was clear, and the steps were also rather comfy to walk on. The tranquility left us speechless, surrounded by slopes as tall as Annapurna itself. We were entranced by the beauty itself, and a pure joy to walk by the beautiful forest and the sound of running rivers was such a good mood.

The cheerful faces began to turn fatigued, and we gently pushed ourselves to the next destination. Even though we packed our meals as if we were going on a dry picnic, no one remembered to eat anything other than water. We did, however, have chocolates and energy bars. After around 3 to 4 hours of peaceful walking, we stopped for lunch at Upper Sinuwa.

People clicking picture on their way to Annapurna Base Camp

Excited about the trek

One thing I liked about the Annapurna base camp trek was how courteous everyone was to us. We frequently questioned porters, guides, and even other trekkers returning about the next stop, and they were always delighted to tell us. Throughout the trip, practically every foreigner said “Namaste” to us. What’s more, travelers were greeting other tourists with “Namaste” as well. It makes me so happy that they respect our culture there. But “half an hour is not necessarily half an hour” when it comes to trekking. Everyone would assure us that we could be at the next location in about a half hour, but it never came. They were probably simply trying to motivate us.

We began our journey to Dovan after lunch at Sinuwa. The first day’s hike lasted approximately 6 to 7 hours. Doesn’t that sound exhausting? Indeed, we just wanted to kick off our shoes, put on non-sweaty clothes, and go into bed. It was even more difficult to move the muscle once the trekking enthusiasm of the day had worn off.

Time: 5 – 6 hours of trekking
Cost for lunch: Roughly Nrs. 650 for daal bhat tarkari
Homestay Cost: Nrs. 1800 per person for the package (Inc. Lunch, Breakfast, and a bed to sleep)
*Price may fluctuate from season to season.

Day 3: Dovan to Macchapuchre Base Camp (MBC)

It was one of the most beautiful and difficult treks of our journey. We had to travel across avalanche-prone terrain. Risks and rewards, as they say, come at the same time. MBC’s trial showed me that I was correct. We were walking beneath the avalanche, and it was snowing and was really cold. It was both gorgeous and frightening at the same time.

We had never climbed anything like this before. In truth, there wasn’t much of a path. We only went where we could see footprints in the snow. Because it was chilly and snowing, the path was slightly shaky. Yet the delight of going through the snow and seeing mountains was the cherry on top of everything.

Two People Walking in Snow | ABC Trek
Standing infront of Macchapuchre Base Camp

We frequently saw other tourists who described how the trail was even screwed up above. And they weren’t even wrong. On top of that, it gets dark so early in the Mountains that we lose track of time. It seemed so easy to get lost in the Himalayas at times.

However, again, even though it was the most difficult section of the journey to Annapurna base camp, it was my favorite. I can’t speak for my buddies, but I know they were afraid and enjoying the route as much as I was because there were no stairs, which you will eventually dread climbing when you get there.

As much as it tortured me to climb the final stairs, it pains me, even more, to mention that just when you believe the stairs are over, you will come across the final stairs to Machhapuchre base camp. The straight steps terrified me because I was already fatigued. Reminding ourselves, “only this one,” we began climbing and soon found ourselves resting peacefully in the lodge at MBC.

We didn’t want to change at that time; we just wanted to rest and be warm thanks to the heaters in the lodges. After a few moments, one of our friends noted that the sun was sinking on Mount Fishtail (Mt. Machhapuchre). We ran out to grab a look at the view so quickly as if all the fatigue had just escaped from us. And, to be honest, the setting sun rays on top of the mountain appeared so beautiful like it was burning peacefully, it was worth the rush. That scene captivated us all. We snapped a few photos and dashed into the lodge’s room right away.

Mount Fishtail
Night View from MBC

We were fortunate to stay at the lodge with fewer people, as we were able to borrow a few more blankets to remain warm from the unused rooms. The water turns very cold in the morning; almost freezing cold, so carry wet wipes and tissues with you. Also if you want to see the sunrise at Annapurna range, head early in the morning.

Time: 5 – 6 hours of trekking
Homestay Cost: Nrs. 2000 per person for the package (Inc. Lunch, Breakfast, and a bed to sleep)
*Price may fluctuate from season to season.

Day 4: MBC to ABC to Himalaya

None of us were the early birds and no one in our group wanted to rush early in the morning to watch the sunrise. So we took it slow.

Macchapuchre Base Camp (MBC) to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)

We walked for almost 2 hours, soaking in the beauty of the snow-covered hills nearby and the breathtaking panorama of the Annapurna range. We couldn’t see it with our naked eyes since it was so white from the snow. It’s as though we’re walking across a snow-covered desert. Since it was a clear day, the sun was shining so brightly. It was so hot that the snow was starting to melt sideways.

We started the hike around 8 a.m., and on our way to ABC, we could already see other trekkers returning from the base camp who had gone early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise. When we asked about the views from the ABC viewpoint, we were told that we would be lucky to catch an unobstructed glimpse of all mountains from the viewpoint.

Snowy Slopes on the way to ABC
Standing in Snow | Annapurna Base Camp Trek

We witnessed many helicopters flying overhead to ABC, as well as people skating from one of the surrounding snow slopes. It was simply out of breath. And when we arrived at the base camp, we had magnificent views of the mountains, which I will remember for the rest of my life. Despite having a clear view from the base camp, we walked farther to reach the viewpoint, and the view from there cannot be expressed in words.

Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) to Himalaya

For the first time in my life, I was high on dopamine after seeing the mightiest mountains from such a close viewpoint. On our way back, it was quite slippery because the snow-covered walkways were melting due to the heat. Going to ABC early in the morning and returning early may be safer because there will be less melting snow and the track will be much more stable. There’s a hint right there. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to slide in the snow and drop, although this is really dangerous because you could fall and get harmed. We have a friend who slipped in the path due to a slippery path and got harmed. Thankfully, it was just minor.

After almost two hours, we returned to the MBC and had breakfast. It was already 2 p.m., and we were the last to leave the Machhapuchre Base Camp that day. We were scared of the trail we had to take since we knew how difficult it was to get up there.

Annapurna VIew
Annapurna Range View
Machhapuchre View

We began to descend, gathering all of our last courage. We had no arrangements for the night and simply intended to go as far as we could. We were once again in an avalanche-prone location as we struggled to climb down. We had to walk beneath the avalanche area at one point, and in a matter of seconds, an avalanche fell right beside us. We took a shade in the huge stone that was near. That was the most frightening experience for all of us. Our legs were shaking again, but this time it wasn’t from tiredness, but from fear of being hit by an avalanche. We later discovered another route that locals took to avoid the avalanche. Maybe it was our lucky day; beautiful scenery and a near-miss with an avalanche.

We did, however, make it back to Himalaya safely. We decided to spend the day there and eat lunch because it was becoming dark. We were disappointed because the Himalayan lodge where we rested for the night lacked heaters. We were too fatigued to look for other lodges with heating, so we opted to end the day in the same hotel.

Day 5: Himalaya to Pokhara

I believe it was the day we traveled the most. Getting down from the Himalaya directly to Pokhara was really difficult for all of us. Not to add the scary staircase on Chomrong. In most cases, descending is not as difficult as ascending. Yet after hours of climbing down, our legs began to shake. Also, it was raining.

We left Himalaya late since it had been raining fiercely since early morning. We planned to wait for the rain to stop for a while. We had no idea it was raining all the time up there. So we packed, ate breakfast, and set out in the rain. It didn’t matter if it was raining or cloudy after hours of walking. But, due to the dark and rainy weather, we were not heated by the sun during our descent. It would be far more difficult to walk otherwise. We were alright, except for the bit where we would develop a cold. We had no idea whether we would get it to Pokhara or stay at Jhinu danda like the day before. We’d see how far we could get with our speed.

When we arrived in Chomrong, it was already 6 p.m. We made it across the terrifying staircase. Because our legs were already numb from tiredness, the darkness was simply a hurdle. So we turned on our mobile flashlights once more and made our way to Jhinu Danda. We arrived in Jhinu Danda with flashlights in hand, and we were leaving with them as well; feels like a complete journey. When we arrived in Chomrong, we’d already planned for a jeep ride back to Pokhara. We thought we could make it to Jhinu Danda on time, so we contacted both our Pokhara hotel and the jeep.

The dark trail, the silence of the forest, and only a handful of us strolling. Maybe if we were asked to walk in such a situation, we all wouldn’t have the courage to say yes. But we were not afraid there. We only wanted to cross that Jhinu bridge which was very long and stay in the hotel down there. We crossed the bridge and stayed at the nearest hotel accessible after busting for hours and walking like zombies.

We took a deep breath and ate the noodles to satisfy our hunger. The jeep was already waiting for us. So we piled our belongings into the jeep and sat back to rest as our humble driver drove us to our guesthouse in Pokhara. I’m not going to go into detail about the in-between voyage because I slept like a horse.

We arrived back in Pokhara at 11 p.m. All of our tiredness lay calmly on the bed as we fell asleep.

My personal experience doing the ABC trek

For me, the journey was a roller coaster ride. I had a wonderful time, had some incredible memories, and was terrified of the avalanche that nearly hit us. Yet all of the stair climbing and walking on empty tummies was well worth it.

There were so many minor moments that I will cherish for the remainder of my life. And I’m so glad I did it, and even more pleased that we all did. The trek to Annapurna Base Camp was the experience we all needed to get away from the reality we were living in.

Everything from waving hello and Namaste to everyone we saw along the road to cursing loudly to relieve the exhaustion of walking for hours on end was worthwhile.

I met some incredible people who had traveled to over 15 countries, who could return from Annapurna Base Camp to Chomrong in a single day, and who could reach Annapurna Base Camp on their second day. I met solo hikers who had never met before but became friends on the route and continued their ABC trek together. They will undoubtedly remain pals for many years. I encountered porters who walked in slippers while we wore heavy trekking boots. All of these things reminded me of why I enjoy traveling.

Wrapping up, until the next destination with the next story.

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