Poon Hill trek


Loving the views!


2100 metres isn’t far…until you have to walk 2100metres up an endless flight of stone steps. What makes it seem even further is when you start at 1000 metres above sea level and finish at 3100 metres on top of a mountain!

View of Pokhara from the road
I came across plenty of animals along the way…
Tibetan bread and peanut butter for breakfast
Starting out
At times, each step becomes an epic mission and it came down to frequent pauses, support and encouragement from my mates and a pile of mental toughness to keep going and make it to the top.

The Annapurna ranges are well known for their breath-taking scenery and it was so cool to be in the middle of it and see how it changed with altitude.

Time for a refreshing drink
Ghandruk

Villages are dotted along the hillsides. Bright blue buildings perch precariously on the edge of cliffs, lush green rice paddies follow the contour lines of the cliffs and stone paths weave a narrow route through the centre of each village. Just about every building is a guest house, hotel or restaurant…or all 3. Providing goods and services to hungry and weary trekkers appears to be the main source of income up here.

Often a dog would adopt us for a few hours and happily lead the way or crash out on my feet during lunch. If we came across another dogs territory, ours would hide behind us. Then as soon as we left the territory behind, he would be out in front again.
One of my mates
Forest trails are a mix of soil, stone paths and steep stone steps. We were struggling up on gruelling flight when Cars said, “imagine what it was like before the steps were here…and what it was like to build them!” It put our own struggles in a fresh light! 

The forests were so pretty. Often we followed a river, countless waterfalls providing too many photo opportunities and the temptation to dive in for a refreshing dip. 
Above about 2600 metres, the forests thinned and expansive meadows of flowers and grasses stretched out in front of us. We were shrouded in low cloud which gave the whole scene an ethereal feeling…like something out of the Lord of the Rings or Twilight movies!

It was only first thing in the morning when the clouds lifted that we could see the magnificent Annapurna mountains soaring above us. Annapurna South at 8000 metres seemed so near. Fishtail pointed straight up to the clear blue sky, while the smaller peaks of filled the gaps in between them.
Every hotel has a vege garden
Sunrise mixed streaks of yellow and orange with the white wispy clouds. Shafts of light created patterns across the mountain slopes. It was quite magical to sit down to a hearty breakfast with the ever-changing views in front of us!

Up at 530am well worth it!

View of Fishtail at breakfast
Views on morning #3
Our accommodation was basic and cozy. We even had a steaming hot shower in the first night! The food was filling and tasty…cheese macaroni, vegetarian spaghetti, Tibetan bread dripping with honey or peanut butter, eggs, tea, coffee…even pizza was on the menu!!!

Super hot shower was fab

Cool!!!!!
Even the dogs enjoyed the views
It was relaxing sitting around in the evening chatting with other trekkers and guides, finding out where everyone was from and sharing stories and tips of our travels.
And if I thought going up was tough, walking down the stone steps for a solid 3.5 hours was ever tougher! Not only did I have to go easy on my knees, I had to concentrate and be mentally with it the entire time. The steps were uneven and often water flowed down them making them slippery. We all tripped at some point but were lucky enough not to do any serious damage. Our walking poles were worth their weight in gold by the end of the trip!
The girls..Megan, Hanna and Cara
The only real blight on the trek was that our guide/porter turned out to be rather creepy and sleazy and made us all feel uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain exactly what was wrong with him. Ladies, you know the type…a guy you don’t know is overly or inappropriately touchy-feely, social norms and personal space don’t exist, and you just get a weird vibe. Thats what he was like. I was never really worried for my safety, but I was glad I wasn’t alone with him. It’s a shame because everything else on the trek was fabulous.
We walked all the way up that valley

It was a really great learning experience and testing of some of my gear for the Everest base camp trek in October (only 6 weeks to go!) I’m stoked with the gear I have, I’m really happy with my level of fitness (I can always be even more fit!), and have some first hand experience about what to expect on the epic trip. If I had the time, the 10-12 day Annapurna base camp trek that carries on from the Poon Hill trek would be amazing and is now top of my list if I ever return to these shores.

FINISHED!!!
Good to know!

Oops!
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