Oblivious to the most important factor in trekking, as far as which particular experience you will have - aka the weather! - we set out for Annapurna Base Camp in North Western Nepal smack bang in the middle of the wet season. While we definatley knew all this rain we were witnessing in Kathmandu and Pokhara was considered a good thing by locals, and often came under the heading of 'Official Wet Season', we hadn't yet joined the dots as to precisely what this meant for our planned 10 day walk. Into remote mountainous villages. Where there were regular landslides. And creatures that only 'came out' when it rained. And cloud cover which could (and more than likely would) inhibit million dollar, life-time-highly-anticipated views. And so forth. Ahhh, Nepal in the wet! We know now!
The above pic is our funniest wet season trekking photo from Nepal - thank you Yo! He walked ALL DAY looking like this! I must admit I was no better though - in my defense, I didn't know this photo was being taken and clearly, had I known I would have obviously adopted a far sexier stance.
SO, we had previously decided not to take a guide book to Nepal, but I can't seem to remember why anymore! It was one of those I-so-don't-want-to-go-to-the-tourist-areas-but-ended-up-there-anyway moments! But (and I can say it now), - regrettably - as a result we weren't prepared for the leech onslaught every time it started raining. Which in the wet season was pretty much every half an hour. My two worst (or best) leech stories are (1) the one on my jugular that stretched past my chin when I tried to pull it off, and (2) the other one curled up inside a burst blister!! No pics of those little suckers, but I do have a picture of said blister in full force mere days before it popped.
I'm not a fan of the pre-emptive blister pop - they always seem to get infected and take ridiculously long periods of time to heal, especially in tropical areas. At the end of each day, Yo and Buddhi would hover as I took off my shoes for the daily viewing of the always-increasing-never-ending-can't-believe-this-is-still-growing blister! But we warned, don't take your shoes off - even if you can't possibly walk another millisecond in those shoes! My double pluggers did not protect me from the sheer depth of this baby!
The above photo was the after affects of a leech freakout gone wrong - jumping around did me no favours that particular day!
The wet season wasn't all bad though, and we did get to see some pretty amazing waterfalls and rivers that don't normally even exist, let alone seen and crossed! (often while giving way to mules carrying crates of coca-cola and two-minute noodles - who knew life's necessities could be got at 4000 metres!)
Just as a comparison, Mt. Kosciusko is only 2 228 metres high! When we reached Base Camp we were at 4100 metres and looking up at peak's above 8000 metres! Looking up at these snow covered mountains, it was hard to believe they were the same distance above that we had just walked below. It literally looked (and felt) like we could run to the top in about half an hour, and wave to everybody below! Very disorientating. I wanted to take it on - I really believed I could do it (and still do :), although I know now it takes a lot of training, equipment and $$ to make it happen. I understand the attraction people have to climb - the lure is always there, especially when marvelling at magnificent mountains. Everything has its place, and I never say never :)
Until next time,