Day 129: Manang (Annapurna Circuit) – October 24th

It was a cold and chilly night, as it probably dipped below freezing during the evening. Our sleeping bags, although rated down to -12C, it was definitely outside the ‘comfort zone’ of the bag and it got so cold, Jiajia couldn’t even sleep. It was difficult just trying to climb out of the relative warmth of the sleeping bag and into the 6C temp inside the room. The view from our window though, was definitely one to admire…

Huddling downstairs around the stove once again, the hotel felt more like a homestay than a hotel, with locals walking in and out, the owner making cups of hot tea for the elders. This was a typical day in the life amongst the hills, and with the kids still wearing slippers it put into perspective how unadapted we were to the frigid realities of nature. And to put us to shame, a few days back that punk kid stole our chapstick, now up in this high-altitude area the wind is picking up, dehydration is kicking in as the air is cold and dry, so our lips definitely need some chap! Stupid kid….

Heading out later than usual per the recommendation of the rhasta Nepali from last night, the sun did warm us up a bit for the trek but the winds were bone chilling. With our trek out, we say goodbye to Annapurna II and watch as a sea of clouds drape the mountains and follow us as we trekked forward. By lunch time, the winds picked up with the clouds blanketing the sky, and it even snowed a bit! A slight sign of civilization, there was a bakery within our lunch spot which sold of all things, peanut butter cookies and apple pie! We stocked up on some goodies and were on our way to Manang.

Manang is the last place before the trek towards Thorung-La pass, the highest point along the trek and most definitely the coldest. At 3600m, Manang is no slouch either so people usually stay here for acclimatization. We got into town at about 1:30pm, just in time for the 2 o’clock viewing of Into the Wild at the ‘theatre’!! Without going into details, the movie was great in both screenplay and directing, and to a lesser extent draws certain similarities with our surroundings. We’re by no means as philosophical nor anti-establishment, but we do want to go to Alaska! By the time the movie ended, we headed outside into another horse race! We quickly headed back to the hotel, put on an extra layer of clothes and when we got back out, the horse race was over. W T F? We missed it two times in a row! Didn’t matter though, we were just in time for the 5 o’clock showing of Into Thin Air, which was one of the books we just read and also by the same author of Into the Wild, haha. This movie was about a disastrous ascent of Everest back in 1996 in which the author actually took part in. The book was REALLY good, but as usual the movie was lacking. Definitely makes you think twice before climbing a mountain….but the allure is definitely there.

So tonight, we sleep in a cabin with a view of the clouds, which have put the mountains out of sight for the time being. It’s a bit cold, and getting late at 9:15pm so we’ll call it a night!

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