Getting High: The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
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What is the best way for the average person to see the world's greatest mountain range--the Himalayas? Fortunately, there is now a good answer. The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal is the most popular footpath in Asia. Its genius lies in its design. Trekkers wind their way around and along some of the world's greatest peaks, ultimately getting near 18,000 feet, without ever having to do any 'technical climbing'. This Circuit is widely considered one of the world's great treks; mortals from all around the world are coming to Nepal for the unique chance to 'get high'. Bill Walker ('Skywalker') struggled his way through the Annapurna Circuit in 2012. He has written this entertaining tale of his journey in this land of Sherpas, cold, altitude, and rushing water.
general population in Nepal. But it would be the first of many examples I would see of elderly ladies – sometimes severely elderly – doing backbreaking work. I want a photo of her. But then I realized my camera was in my backpack which was riding on Shankar’s shoulders. To take a photo would require halting him in full march, having him remove the backpack, and then me digging my camera out and snapping a shot, before repeating all these steps in reverse. Like many westerners I had a bit of an
dust storm. I later learned that the long river bed we entered in the approach to Jomsom is renowned for pulverizing any and all passers-thru in the afternoon. For that reason, trekkers habitually stay in Kagbeni and approach the river valley into Jomsom in the early morning hours. The gale force winds were of such brute force that not only was the lanky Georgia boy rocking all over the place, but his Nepali porter was pitching about as well. Which made me wonder something that had been occurring
do it. But the other 10% had a more salient purpose—avoidance of head-on collisions. The ‘scenery’, though, on this drive in from the airport was breathtaking. But not in the way of the Blue Ridge Parkway or Pacific Coast Highway. Rather, harsh, indescribable poverty was in our face all along the way. A dozen years back on the way into New Delhi, India from the airport I had been jolted when children with forearms bent at perfect 90 degree angles had come up to the window of the taxi pleading
reality is revealed. Dannika and Willums had blown Tadapani at first light and quickly caught up with me. Americans, Europeans, and Asians alike – we were all bending deeply into the mountain, struggling, panting, suddenly pulling over for breaks, then forcing ourselves to continue. Nationality tends to give way to human realities. I saw one group of Asians making fun of a bespectacled hiker who began screaming irately back at them. My mind went back to a Chinese pilgrim that I had witnessed on
Spaniard how far it is to a particular destination, you quickly learn to double, triple, if not quadruple the time given. “One hour,” I answered. “One hour,” he repeated in a disbelieving tone. “Good luck,” I said, and took off. The snow was now coming down in waves. I finally saw a medium-sized group heading in the same direction as me. It was assuring to see I had company. But some selfish instincts also surfaced. I was banking on getting a room in Deurali; but this party of six would take