Favorite Trips

Lakeside Resort, Tikkar Taal

 

This is one of the first treks that I did in Nepal a quarter century ago. Though I have updated information with the help of trekker’s blogs my memories of some sections are hazy. Also, in the intervening years infrastructure has improved and lodge density increased manifold.However, the information is still relevant as a general guide.

 

 

I did the trek from Pehwa Tal, walking up to Chanderkot village on the ridge behind Pehwatal and then down to Birthanti, on the confluence of the Modikhola with another stream. Now a 30 km road runs from Pokhra to Nayapul, a kilometer before Birthanti, (1065 M) where most trekkers will begin their trek.

 

From here the track ascends along the river and rises steeply through rhododendron forest, past Hile(1430) and Ulleri (2070m) up to Ghorepani (2840 m), some 16 km and 6 to 7 hrs away. If you started late from Pokhra late or do not have the energy for the long haul up to Ghorepani there are well-equipped lodged at Hile, Ulleri and other points en route.

 

Trekkers usually leave Ghorepani early the next day to take in Poon hill (3020 M), an hour away but a little off the Tadepani route. In the early morning the hill offers a grandstand view of the sun coming up behind Machupucchre and lighting up 3 of the worlds 10 highest (8000 M plus) mountains, Manaslu to the east, the Annapurna massif to the centre and Dhaulagiri to the west.

 

The Poonhill route rejoins the main route which traverses the ridgeline up to Deorali before dropping sharply down then ascending again to the village of Tadapani, around 5-6 hours from Ghorepani. From Tadapani the trek drops steeply again to Ghandrung, the entrance of the Annanpurna Conservation Area Project.

 

The next stretch is memorable for the never-ending series of stairs cut into cliffs and hillsides that wend their way past precariously perched villages as the trek pushes steadily upwards to Chomrong.

 

Chomrong, which saddles the entrance to the Annapurna & Macchupuchre Sanctuaries, is a busy little town in the tourist season with dozens of lodges, restaurants and even German bakeries to cater to the tourist horde.

 

 

The last stretch from Chomrong to ABC seems to have changed beyond recognition. The route is the same, winding around the mountain at first then dropping steeply down a series of stairs to the left bank of the Modikhola. It then follows the river as it roars through deep gorges cut into the flanks of Macchupuchre (I remember this stretch most vividly as a day earlier a dopey tourist looking over the edge fell into the gorge. Luckily for him he got stuck head-down, legs against the cliff in a narrow ledge just below the path, where he spent the night engaging the spirits of the river. His feeble cries for help were eventually heard next morning, when he was hauled up legs first, not much worse for wear.)

 

Past the gorges the valley opens up dramatically even as the forest that obstructed views thus far is replaced by a track that wends its way past huge boulders that litter the valley floor. There are several stopping points in this stretch, Dovan (2560), the Himalaya Hotel, (3072 M) Hinku cave and Deurali, 2 hours short of Machupuchre base camp. If you are fit and acclimatized and begin early enough it’s possible to do the entire 21 km stretch up to ABC in one long day.

 

The Machupuchre base camp an hour down the trail seems to be more popular but Annapurna sanctuary is more stark, with the gunshot sounds of cracking cornices and avalanches roaring down the slopes in the evenings.

 

 

The Annapurna range from Poon Hill 

 

 

While it’s possible to double back the same way, most trekkers prefer to avoid the constant dips and instead follow the Modi Khola down to Birthanti. In the latter case you need to take the fork from Chomrong, descending to the Modikhola at the hot springs of Jhinu Danda and on to Landruk. From here it’s an easy day walk to the road head near Birthanti, then on to Pokhra.

 

Alternatively you can take the track through Dhampu to Phedi, which is tougher but brings you closer to Pokhra.

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