Day 130: Manang (Annapurna Circuit) – October 25th

Checking the temperature outside my sleeping bag at 530am, it was only 1C! Strangely, our sleeping bags have recovered to their warm and cozy state after last night’s shivering cold. Looking outside though, the mountains just begun to show its peak under the warm glow of the dawn. Time to wake up!

Today was supposed to be a ‘rest’ day, since it is recommended we acclimatize to the altitude. And so, we chose to take a short day trek up to the Ice Lake. Not really knowing how high it was, we just knew it was about a 3-4hr hike up to the lake. Boy were we in for a treat. With the skies clearing up after yesterday’s cloud cover, the mountains were glowing in an almost translucent white. The views were spectacular, but the hike was torturous. By the time we got to the top, we’ve ascended 1200m vertically and sore in all places possible. We kept thinking we’d reach the lake, but instead it was just another plateau before another crazy ascent.

Reaching the Ice Lake at around noon, we were amazed at what lies before our eyes, not so much because of its beauty but rather the lake’s utter ugliness. It was merely a dirty pond with a layer of ice cover half of it. W T F? Disappointed indeed, but the surrounding panoramic landscape made up for it. We didn’t hike 1200m from farmland past the tree line and into the ice for no reason, the views (other than the lake) were definitely stunning. Glad the weather was in our favour! Taking a cookies and Cadbury chocolate picnic, we snapped a few pics before heading down so we won’t be too late for the 5pm cutoff for showers.

Hiking up was hard, but hiking down wasn’t any better…. it seems like another set of muscles get sore from the descent, and blisters are starting to kick in after all the walking we’ve done. It also didn’t help that we somehow got lost on our way down, and almost walked to the wrong village!! And on our way down, the winds really picked up speed and we were blasted with 40km/hr winds. Steep trails, high winds and drop-off cliffs really really don’t mix well….. we were pretty darn glad we made it back to the main roads.

So, after stocking up with some cookies and chocolate for the next couple of days, we ate well, downed a refreshing beer and are now off to bed at 7pm. =)

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