Annapurna Circuit Part Three: Tilicho Tal to Muktinath and Pokhara

We’re on the home straight now!

Day 13 marked the beginning of the end, so to speak. We started at 8:00am to head back to the main track. Unfortunately, this meant we had to walk back through the Avalanche Zone which also meant a few more tears and screams from me. After walking through the Avalanche Zone, stopping for lunch in Shree Kharka, and tackling a consistent two-hour downhill slog, we arrived in Yak Khadar later that afternoon. It was quite a decent size village; the lodge we stayed in had a group of 10 staying there which was the largest group we had seen along the entire hike. We treated ourselves to a fancy dinner – I had a veggie burger with chips, and Boy had some kind of rice bowl with yak steak – and then had an early night.

We were up the next day and on the road at 10:30am, which was quite late, but we only had a five-hour walk ahead of us so we decided to conserve our energy and take it slow. What neither Boy or I knew before leaving Yak Kadar is that there was another Avalanche Zone to walk though! This zone wasn’t as bad as the one on the way to Tilicho Tal, but I should have been more scared because as we were walking, a rock tumbled down the slope and bounced off the top of my pack before continuing on to the bottom of the journey – it was about 20cm away from hitting me on the top of my head, which would have definitely resulted in me tumbling down to the bottom of the valley. Lucky! After walking through the Avalanche Zone, we arrived in Thorung Phedi. We stopped briefly for lunch before ascending to Thorung High Camp. Most people stay overnight in Thorung Phedi because they have to acclimatise. Lucky for Boy and I, we had completed Everest Base Camp and trekked up to Tilicho Tal, so we were sufficiently acclimatised to stay overnight at Thorung High Camp. We arrived at Thorung High Camp at 4:00pm that afternoon, loaded up on carbs, and had another early night. This is the night before the crossing of Thorung La, so we wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Day 15 began at 7:00am – Boy and I actually got on the road at 7:00am. We managed to get up, have breakfast and leave at 7:00am! Everyone else had left that morning at 6:00am…but still, 7:00am! It took Boy and I two hours to reach Thorung La – this time, there was a congratulatory sign to greet us! And a massive pile of prayer flags of course. I was so happy to see that sign appear in the distance, it made all the Avalanche Zone tears worth it. We hung around at the pass for about an hour: taking pictures, eating our Mars Bars that we had carried for two weeks, and talking with other couples that were completing the track as well. After a sufficient rest and a snack, we started the descent down toward Muktinath. Holy shit. For me, this was harder than the climb up to the pass. It is a relentless, downhill walk that wrecks your hips and knees. We got to Muktinath at about 4:00pm that afternoon, and stayed in the Bob Marley lodge, which was awesome. It had the nicest set of showers, and the food was delicious.

another hiking success ticked off! thorung-la covered in prayer flags.

another hiking success ticked off! thorung-la covered in prayer flags.

Day 16 was our final day of the Annapurna Circuit. We decided against completing the entire circuit. By this point, we were exhausted. We had been walking for two weeks, had completed another hike only a few weeks before this, and I just couldn’t face the thought of another three to four days of walking in the dust. I was done. So, that morning, we caught the bus from Muktinath to Jomson, and another bus from Jomson to Pokhara. The bus ride from Jomson to Pokhara was hilariously awful – the bus was very small so Boy couldn’t fit his knees in the seat properly and the road is not designed to fit two buses so there were many close calls on tight corners that were just as dodgy as the Avalanche Zones…like I said, it was hilariously awful. We arrived in Pokhara at about 10:00pm that night, and went to our hotel. I had an hour-long shower, and Boy had KFC. To be honest, it was a pretty good end to the trek.

We were so lucky to complete (our version of) the Annapurna Circuit during mid-June. We only saw one day of rain, and had beautiful clear skies for the rest. I can see why this hike is so popular - it really is beautiful. Where else are you able to walk to azure blue lakes surrounded with snow-capped mountains, walk through Avalanche Zones, or eat Yak Steak on the reg? 

If you read both of these hiking series, thank you! If you have any questions, please ask! If you’re thinking about going to Nepal to go hiking, do it! Hiking in Nepal is one of the best things I have done, so far. Like I said in my previous post about Everest Base Camp: if you have been wondering about whether you you should go to Nepal to hike any of the hikes, I recommend doing it. You won't regret it, and you don't have anything to lose. 

My next post is going to be about checking in – Boy and I have been living in London for five months now, it’s time for an update!

Bye for now,

Kat.

the long, dusty road out of muktinath back to pokhara

the long, dusty road out of muktinath back to pokhara