Manang and Swimming in Ganggapurna Lake 

11/2 – So after my emotional morning we moved on through the village of Braga and stopped in Manang for lunch and the guys all proceeded to wash up in the back of one of the local restaurants while we waited for our lunch.  Manang is quite the neat village to walk through – we got lost amidst the 3-4 story stone buildings all built up on each other with mazes of walkways and no signs.  We could have avoided this I’m sure but was great to see that part of the old village.  After coming out of the city we started towards what we thought was the trail up to Kengsar but realized it was a side trail to a beautiful glacier lake, Ganggapurna Lake, which is the result of the Ganggapurna Glacier coming down the mountain creating a gorgeous blue lake.

The lake was a must see, especially since we could get a little cup of coffee at a little hut on the lakeside.  I am soooo glad we ended up there, it was sunny and warm and I started to think about jumping in the lake for the hell of it.  I felt like my morning was deserving of a big restart and what better way to do it than plunge headfirst into a glacier lake.  Before the guys could be convinced I was going to do it I jumped behind a rock, whipped off my clothes and sprinted into the silty blue water. I came up catching my breath, unable to even make a noise for a moment and realized I was completely covered in gray slimey mud/silt.  I was sinking up past my knees with every step trying to get out and was nearly impossible to rinse off in the water because all the silt was stirred up.  Thankfully the guy running the little coffee shop had a large black tank of water semi-warmed by the sun that he let me rinse off with.  It truly was warm in the sun so I laid on a warm rock and dried off.  We got back on track for Kengsar our final destination for the day.  I officially earned the title of ‘The Crazy American Girl’ after that – if only the guys knew all my friends and fmaily back home!! 

After a while I was hiking a bit ahead and we came over a big suspension bridge and climbed up an icy/muddy couple hundred feet – the guys thought that was crazy and it was a bit scary but I could only imagine what we are going to see on our way to Tilicho – much more than that. I ran into a Canadian hiker and hiked the rest of the way to Kengsar with him since it was getting cold and I didn’t want to stop and wait, letting my sweat get icy cold is not a good idea.  We had met 2 nice younger Nepali doctors earlier in the day that were trekking to Tilicho as well (they worked in the village of Besishara) and I managed to find them in a hotel.  They had told a hiker coming down to stop and tell the 3 Nepali guys and one Americal girl what hotel to go to.  So the guys knew where to find me without my having to stand out and wait for them thankfully.  I got changed out of my wet bra and stinky clothes and realized I was carrying some extra mud in my bra – hilarious since I only have one bra I brought it up to the kitchen and had hot chocolate and dried my silty under garments out by the fire.  We had dinner of Dhal Bat and other than Parash beginning to feel a bit sick we were happy to get some sleep and head for basecamp in the morning!

11/3 Kengsar to Tilicho Base Camp!!!!

UP and out by 7:30 – Today’s hike was awesome – landslides were the highlight – the landscape was soo unexpected for me it was sandy and rocky and craggy and just amazing walking all day. The guys and two doctors and ireland guy were pretty surprised by the technical difficulty. Parash’s brother is exhausted after the day and we will have to talk him into the lake hike in the morning – he has to come!! We had lunch at 10:30 in Palgnay Khadka and made it to basecamp by about 2:00.  Snow and cold but warm sun made it all worth it. I didn’t think the hiking was too strenuous at all Rick was right I would be able to do it on my own just fine although we did come to a pass that had rockslide in the middle of the huge landslide and the doctors guide/porter ‘Santa’ was extremely helpful in keeping us safe standing in the loose rocks and making sure we all got past him safely. The room is the most rustic room I can say I’ve been in. The rock walls around the ceiling and concrete are falling apart so when someone steps hard above little pieces fall down – I’m wondering if I should wear a helmet to bed – at least protect my head with a hat of somesort!! I’m feeling great other than gasey from the food – dinner of dahl bat is coming at 6:30 and we are getting up at 5:30am I think to be hiking by 6:30 – I think that will get us there by 10:00 but we’ll see.  

11/4 Hike to the Highest Lake in the World – The weather was sunny and warm after the chill of the morning wore off.  We left with 5 other Nepali trekking tourists which made for a great group of us trudging up the snowy icy landslides.  I started with two trekking poles and my sunglasses but within the first 1/2 hour I donated my poles one at a time to 2 different people in far greater need than I.  Even though I was only in trail running shoes and the Nepali guys wee in boots I seemed to have much better traction on the ice and snow so I opted to give up my sticks.  Then Parash was having trouble with his eyes and the bright snow so I donated my sunglasses to him and ended up with a trendy pair of square clear lens glasses that did nothing but improve my stylish appearance:)  We were up to the lake and celebrating our accomplishment by about 10:30 and I was sad to see I could not get down to the lake and swim because of the steep bank and ridiculous amount of additional hiking up in deep snow I would have to do.   We got pictures and had some noodle soup and tea then trudged our way back to basecamp arriving at about 2:00 to have some dhal bat and head out to make it to Siri Kharka back along the crazy miles of landslides.  It was a long day of trekking and I slept like a baby that night!

Onto my solo trek over Thorong La Pass – Trekking the Annapurna Circuit and meeting great new people, seeing amazing beauty everday.  Namaste :)

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