A Gefilte Fish Tail* – Passover in the Annapurna sanctuary (Part 2 – Chomrong to Deurali)

We woke up to the wonderful views of sunrise over the Fishtail, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. The leisure day in Chomrong worked wonders and we fully recovered from our respective ailments and continued our journey with renewed energy and in glorious weather.

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The path continued all the way along the east bank of the Modi Khola river. However as it is relatively high up crossing tributaries entailed extensive changes in elevation. This fourth day of our journey from Chomrong (2130) to Dobhan (2600) was by far the most ardeous in this aspect climbing down ,up, down and up all day. Chomrong is a large Gurung village with many guesthouses and several shops.  The entire slopes are terraced and villagers are busily engaged in intensive agriculture. After climbing down many stairs to the brand new steel suspension bridge that crossed Chomron Kola we had to climb many stairs up  through Tilche, the last outpost of agriculture. From Tilche on no more terraces exist and tourism seems to be the sole source of income and activity.

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Wheat or rice growing on the terraces in Chomrong

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Homework….

Loundary

Laundry

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Drying pasta on the roof…

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In the Himalaya the tomatoes grow on trees, well not real tomatoes but close relatives – Tamarrilos

The trail continued up to Sinuwa (2360)  which commands great views in all directions where we enjoyed an early and vegetarian lunch in the shade of the Fishtail (as a matter of fact we kept a vegetarian diet  throughout our trip to minimize the risk of food poisoning).

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We climbed further up through a beautiful forest up but lost all this elevation gain descending many stairs down to Bamboo (2310). We decided nevertheless to continue to Dobhan to help us to acclimatize to the higher elevation.

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Yael and stairs

True to its name, after Bamboo we entered a bamboo jungle rich in ferns and flowers that all seemed to be restricted a very specific elevation.

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Jack in the pulpit

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Also the red Rhododendron trees were all of a sudden replaced with a pink variety.

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In Dobhan we enjoyed a hot shower heated with gas, probably carried up all the way on the back of a porter. Wood fires are not allowed up here in order to protect the forest. To our pleasant surprise environmental issues seem to be very high on the priority of the local authorities. The trails are kept very clean and rubbish bins are located along the way. Most importantly bottled water is banned and not sold from Chomrong and on preventing the horrible pollution these bottles often cause. I think they should be banned all over the world.

We met many fellow hikers on the trail from all over the world. We always asked them from which country they come and everytime we “collected” a new country we felt like stamp collectors that added a new specimen to their collection. In Dobhan, for example, we met a large and lovely Portuguese group who partied through the night on the dubious local rum.

While south of Chomrong the visibility was murky due to the brown Asian cloud this pollution did have little effect once we entered the narrow Modi Khola valley and the visibility remained beautiful throughout even at night.

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After the long fourth day the fifth day was very short– from Dobhan to Hotel Himalaya (2920) and from there to Deurali (3230),  altogether just three or four hours.

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The Barha temple between Dobhan and Himalaya – a lovely spot to rest and meditate

This gave us plenty of time to chat with friends we kept on meeting on the trail and to enjoy lush forest .

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A makeshift water spout along the trail

We stopped en-route in the Hinku cave, a huge boulder that forms an natural shelter. From the cave it is already possible to view Deurali. Once we reached the cave we found ourselves all of a sudden outside the forest for the first time. The slopes, covered until recently by snow were covered with brown burnet out grass.

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The blue roof of Deurali from Hinku cave

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Hinku cave

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A first snow crossing just before Deurali

We had plenty of time to continue however we decided to take it easy to acclimatize to the increasing elevation and avoid altitude sickness. The trek thus feels a bit like a board game where you continue two steps at a time going up. Going down is a different story and you can go much further each day. We spent the free afternoon by the river watching how the sun and the mountains play hide and seek with the clouds.

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On the sixth day we also did two steps to MBC and from there to ABC our final destination and this will be described in the next chapter.

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