A Local Encounter I’ll Never Forget.
“Mountainside Safe-side” the locals say.
For emphasis and to try out different writing styles, I’m going to write this in second person as if YOU are the one that nearly craps themselves! Enjoy.
Picture the scene. You’re trekking the Annapurna Circuit Trail in Nepal. Surrounding you, the beautiful Himalayan Mountain ranges. Fresh air, blue skies, the most beautiful scenes in the world.
You’ve been walking around six hours a day through long grass, swamp, up rock steps and dusty trails for 14 days now. Although you have photographs that will make your photographer father proud and jealous.
The air is getting thinner as you get higher and you’ve had to have your coat on for most of the day, as it’s getting more than chilly up here.
You don’t have top quality trekking gear. Nearly everyone that walks past you (and they do) has at least one walking stick!
You’re carrying about 20kg of luggage because you didn’t want to leave your Gameboy back in Kathmandu. Imagine if you lost all those Pokemon! You’re also not quite as fit as you used to be (or should be). Did I mention your annoyingly over enthusiastic Irish boyfriend is constantly telling you not to worry about leeches and avalanches.
Halfway to the next village, High Camp, 4850m above sea level. If only you actually got some sleep last night.
The stand alone pink cabins at the last village Yak Kharka did look charming but maybe they weren’t a great idea. It was freezing!
And all the layers you had did next to no good. It’s going to be worth it though when you get to the top, 5416m above sea level at Thorong La Pass.
The journey so far has been one of a kind. Truly beautiful. Exhilarating!
There’s no way you would turn back now.
Also, if you go back your crazy Irishman may decide to make a second attempt at Tilcho Lake, the highest lake in the world. Nope. No, thank you. You’ve had enough with being hit on the head by falling rocks. Maybe next time.
It wasn’t that long ago Nepal had one of the biggest earthquakes since 1934, a 7.8 on the Richter scale with aftershocks to follow.
You’re nearly at the rest stop, just balancing/walking along this really thin avalanche prone trail with what looks like a rockslide waiting to happen on your left and a sheer drop to your right.
Then it happens.
Your local encounter.
With a horse.
It’s coming towards you quite fast. Where’s the rider? There’s more of them. What do you?! This path is maybe 13 inches wide.
Is this how you die?! What the hell?!
You start freaking out and obviously you’re freaking the horse out too because now it’s on hind legs neighing its head off!
Maybe the Irishman isn’t so useless.
He grabs you by the backpack flings you to the left on the mountainside and covers you. Rocks hit you on the head, again, but you’re not being trampled.
The horses pass and you can finally let yourself breathe again and stop squealing like a baby. Do it again? Yes!
I’ll be writing some tips and advice on how to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal and not die. So watch this space!