Finally the day has come. One of the main reason why most visiting Nepal is for trekking. I have recently found from Metro news that Annapurna Circuit was actually #1 of top 10 trekking of the world. Of course, as “soft-trekker” we were not tackling the full circuit which probably should take at least 15 days of very serious trekking. Ours was just a very tiny but lovely scenery route. I highly recommend this route (except one stop – Chandrakot ;-) to anyone. No matter how out of shape you are, as long as you can walk, you probably can finish this and be able to enjoy the amazing scenery.
In that morning, in front of the hotel reception, we saw our tiny taxi which we wondered if that could fit all our backpack, then we also met one of our porter Sharee. My immediate thought was, how is Shree going to get there… not with us and all cramp into that tiny taxi?! The answer was of course YES. Luckily, my two other friends and Shree are all very thin. It was crowded but still bearable. Beside the taxi ride was not too long, only about 30 mins or maybe even a bit less.
When we arrived Beni Dhampus, which was the starting point of our trek, we also met the other porter Dawa who is Kazi’s brother-in-law. My two friends and I rushed to a dark and smelly squat toilet before starting our trek. That also set our low expectation of the toilet for the trekking part of this trip =)
Shree was carrying two of our backpacks, but that did not slow him down at all. Within 15 mins, he was already very far ahead of us that we couldn’t see him anymore. As for myself, it felt like Grouse Grind all over again. Except this time, I could not make as many frequent stop as I wished. By the first ten minutes quick rest, I was already completely out of breath. Kazi (our guide) made sure we kept going even the pace was really slow. I felt really bad that Dawa had to follow after me with his heavy backpack that he was carrying for us.
After long straight up hill climbing huge steps for almost 45 mins (maybe a bit less?!) we finally reached a very pretty resting area where there were a few tourist stalls and a few houses with flatter land for farming more rice. The view of the valley was gorgeous. So glad that I have come. We took a bit longer break in there and the initial walk after the break was still very flat and wonderful. But soon, there were yet more up hill climb and this time felt even harder to keep up…. When we finally made to the Dhampus village and our guest house, I just refused to walk anymore for the rest of that day =P Even with the heavy backpacks, Shree was almost one hour ahead of us to arrive at the guest house. Our room was basic but very clean and the building looked fairly new. Not only we did not have to use squat toilet, there was a new and clean normal toilet in our bathroom right inside our own room. It also looked like there should hot water heater in that bathroom too. We were so relief seeing that and totally ignore the sound advice of taking your shower early during the day. Boy, we felt so sorry that we did not follow that advice and both of my friends had to take cold shower in the dark. The hot water heater was actually not working. I was a bit lucky that at least I had hot shower because I was the last one and Kazi helped me to turn on the hot water. But I had to take a very very quick hot shower while worrying the power would be out in any minute because evening power supply is not stable in Dhampus.
For the rest of that day, I just sat around and started to write post-cards and travel journal. The sun was still shining but it was a bit breezy and cool. View was lovely and I also had nice little chat with both Dawa and Sharee. I was surprised to find out they both are actually college students and just having one month break at the time. That was Sharee fourth times being a porter and Dawa’s second time. Even they are not “professional” porter, they both could still carry so much and walked so fast. Seems like they are born with that ability…