Waking up to the sounds of neighbouring French expedition team’s commotion, we were all awake by 3am and the walls were SO thin this time, it felt like they were walking and talking directly behind my back. Trying to squeeze in a few more hours of rest by 5am, we were up and ready to hike up to Poon Hill.
Following the trail of headlamps, we headed up the steps and into the trail of uneven steps lit by the glistening white glow of the full moon. People were lined up one by one, step after step and the air was surprisingly warm. It felt like some sort of strange adventure we’re all embarking on, or to be honest, I kind of imagined this to be how things would go down during times of war. The hike up took 45mins, and along the way we heard some rustling in the bushes, and shortly after that we literally smelled what was going on….hehe, gross. Poop.
At the top, I quickly settled to find the best possible spot not already taken and anchored my tripod. Jiajia may have suffered a mild case of altitude-sickness as she came down with a throbbing headache (probably due to the early morning) which went away quickly after a short break. Having a great view, it wasn’t until much later until I actually knew what I was seeing. There were SO many people up on top of Poon Hill, and even a small tea shop! Poon Hill is relatively closer to the cities, and more readily accessible so more people come here than other places on the Annapurna Circuit. Most people were just there to see the sunrise, especially the Japanese crew who came with massive camera gear sets with professional tripods, full-frame DSLRs and then 35mm film, crazy. As we’ve heard many stories about clouds just shrouding everything for extended periods of time and people not seeing anything on top of Poon Hill even after 5 days! Luck was on our side, and we pretty much had no clouds and a panoramic view of the whole mountain range.
First time seeing Annapurna I, the shortest of the 8000m peaks, it was rather unimpressive in stature and most of the mountain is blocked by an uninteresting tree-lined mountain. The more handsome mountain here is definitely Dhaulagiri, the second shortest 8000m peak but its whole massif is shown in spectacular white with the whole supporting cast of its massif standing proudly below it. And there was this peak called Fish-Tail Peak, which as you would’ve guessed, looks sort of like a fish tail! It is strangely symmetrical, and one of the few peaks never climbed in the Himalayas as it isn’t allowed by the Nepalese govt.
Back at the foot of Poon Hill was our breakfast which we snarled down pretty quickly before packing our bags and ready to go back into the city! Today was going to be a long day, with a almost 2000m descent before taking a bus into Pokhara, the touristy lake side city of Nepal. We were blazing down the trail passing everyone ahead of us, but we definitely paid for it ….
By the time we got back into Pokhara with the local bus (40kms, only $1.2USD!), it was late and our legs were wobbly and terribly sore. At night, the Lakeside tourist district looks rather shabby and unimpressive. Maybe we were just too tired? We found a Chinese restaurant and had some food and wandered around for a hotel like zombies, took a steaming hot shower (first time taking shower not in freezing cold temps) and collapsed on the bed.
End of trekking!
Gross Story: At the end of the trek, we were tired and thirsty and waiting for our porter. Fumbling through the bag, we thought it’d be a good idea to celebrate with some mountain citrus we purchased from the little girl a few days ago. The skin was tough and thick, but it was no match for our trusty swiss army knife. Even with the whole thing peeled, the orange was still too tough to split into its normal citrus slice as there was too much of that white sinewy stuff. Well, I’ll just take a bite into it and eat it like an apple I thought. Biting a sizeable chunk out of the fruit by pulling it away from my teeth, I did what anyone would’ve done, and peered into what I was eating. And there, wallowing in probably the scariest moment of their lives, were MAGGOTS squirming around inside the fucking orange. Without hesitation or minding any manners of sorts, I spat out what I had bitten and next to the piece of fruit were a couple of squirming maggots. SO GROSS. Within a couple of seconds, the neighbouring chickens just calmly walk by and peck the maggots off the ground. Daammmmn.
So if I refuse your offer of any citrus fruits for the next, say, year or two, please don’t be offended.