Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
– Andy Rooney
When I was informed by my manager that a guide was needed for Annapurna Circuit trek, I instantly agreed as I find the trekking route quite enjoyable. It is one of the best trekking expeditions in the world encompassing diverse landscapes from valleys to mountains while offering some magnificent sights to behold. However, Annapurna Circuit trek also entails the challenge of reaching the highest lake in the world and crossing one of the highest passes in the world.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek begins
After meeting up with the trekkers, we briefed them about the expedition. The guests were three American citizens: Andrew, Becky, and Joel.
We drove up to Chame via Besisahar which took about 9 hours. After reaching Chame, we enjoyed a warm and relaxing bath in the hot spring.
The next day, we headed towards Upper Pisang. We tasted the local apple at Bartang, which was quite delicious. Bartang also houses one of the biggest apple farms in the country.
From Upper Pisang to Ngawal, the trail is mostly along the banks of Marsyangdi River. We enjoyed the pleasant walk while mountains like Annapurna massif, Chulu Mountain Range, and Pisang Himal surrounded us.
The ascent from Lower Pisang to Ghyaru is quite steep. In a mere distance of one kilometre, we ascended 500 meters vertically. It was pretty challenging for our guests as well, but they were not complaining once they arrived at the top. The view was astounding as we relished in the perfect panorama of the Himalayan Mountains. We then continued on our way to Ngawal.
Heading towards Manang, it started raining, which thankfully, lasted only a few minutes. We came across several villages with their ancient houses, diverse cultures, and rural lifestyles. Moreover, we also witnessed several gompas and stupas as this part of Nepal is heavily influenced by the Tibetan culture. We could see the locals gazing at us with fascination and curiosity. Once in awhile, small children would come to us asking for candies. When we would give them the sweets, their faces would glow with adorable smiles.
To visit Tilicho, we had to divert from the circuit road towards Khangsar. We saw a group of Blue Sheep and deer on the way. From Khangsar, we walked further upwards to reach the Tilicho Base Camp. From there, we had to ascend again to reach the Tilicho Lake. While on the way back, we could see several animal and bird species like Yaks, Vultures, Sheep, Goats, Donkeys, and Horses.
On the day of crossing the Thorang La Pass, we were very excited to go across one of the highest passes in the world. However, the weather was not ideal, as we could see some snowflakes in the morning. But still, it did not get worse, and we completed the consequent ascent and descent safely to Muktinath. From there, we took a Jeep ride back to Pokhara.
Although our trek was mostly smooth, we encountered some challenges during this trek:
- The unpredictable weather can cause problems during the trek. Heavy snowfall or rainfall can even obstruct the trekking trail.
- During the high season, the route becomes crowded, which might cause problems regarding accommodation.
- It can get pretty cold during the night, which may cause altitude sickness to some. While not common, it is a probable risk at high altitudes.
Tilicho Lake Trek
About the Author:
A passionate guide and travel blogger, Yagya Raj Adhikari has been in the business for the past five years. He possesses a sound knowledge of Nepalese culture, history, politics, flora, and fauna. His hobbies include travelling, reading, and blogging. As a mountain guide, he holds experiences in the Annapurna region and Manaslu region, among others.