Annapurna, Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, long term travel, Nepal, Travel

Wrapping Up the Annapurna Trek – Days 12-14

We finally mustered the energy to leave Muktinath and head to Kaghbeni by early afternoon. The hike was short in comparison to the preceding days (and downhill) but the 2 1/2 hours seemed to take longer than they should have. We decided to take a few shortcuts, even though Luke was no longer with us. So after scaling a few rock walls, we arrived in Kaghbeni.

The town was no more impressive than Muktinath and I was immediately glad we were only spending a night. Fortunately we found a very clean, quaint Dutch Inn and didn’t venture far for the evening. They served dinner with ingredients from their organic garden, and we all got a giggle out of the typo on the menu… vag momos, instead of veg. Ooops!
We got out of town early the next morning, and so began a day of bus travel down the winding, gravel roads of the Annapurna region. We set out at 9am from Muktinath, arrived in Jomsom and booked the 12:00 bus to Ghasa. We had just enough time to inhale some food and check email. This was a strange feeling after being so disconnected for what felt like so long. In reality, it had only been 2 weeks, but if felt like ages since I had been in touch with anyone.
We took the bus to Ghasa and literally walked off one bus and onto the next in order to get to Tato Pani. We finally arrived at 4:30, found accommodation and then hiked it right over to the hot springs. I think we all expected authentic hot springs and were slightly disappointed to find concrete pools, but not that disappointed… it was still a treat to soak our sore muscles.
The following morning, we had to make a decision about the Sanctuary trek. It was cloudy and cool, I had no clean clothes, and I was flat out tired. My vote was to head to Pokhara, and the other girls were in agreement. Unfortunately we missed the bus, but we hailed a jeep and began another day’s journey. First to Beni and then by local bus to Pokhara.
This was quite the bus ride to say the least. The bus was packed so full that people were literally pouring into the aisles and out of windows and doors. If the bus didn’t break down from being overweighted, it felt likely that we would topple over the mountainside on one of the next sharp turns. This hop on/hop off saga continued for 4 hours and I was so tired, I didn’t even give a damn. We stopped once and managed to snag some sweet bread from a roadside stand. During the last hour, as if in victory mode, the driver blasted Nepalese music as loud as the volume would go.
By the time we arrived in Pokhara, our arses were numb and we were like three zombies. Luckily, Lucy had stored some stuff at the guesthouse where she had stayed prior to the trek, so we made our way there and managed to get rooms for the next few nights.
It was odd to be back in civilization- a room with a western toilet, a bath and a TV! And just outside, a backpacker-friendly city of cafes, restaurants, internet cafes, laundry services and trekking shops. Quite the reverse culture shock.
We did what we usually do and split a pot of masala tea, then ventured out for Indian food and ice cream, something you couldn’t find on the trek. On the way home, I bought shampoo and conditioner in anticipation of a hot shower – it’s the little things in life!
The following day, I was worthless and unable to make any decisions, other than to go for a 1- hour massage. I proceeded to sit in a cafe for the rest of the afternoon… Pokhara seems like it’s going to be a good place to chill out for a bit!
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