The journey to Annapurna Base Camp is what’s known as a “teahouse trek.” This means you go from one teahouse to another for your food and accommodation needs. Teahouses are basically small hotels run by local families along the route. The rooms were very basic, just consisting of one or two beds, and there was always a large dining room where trekkers would gather to pass the time after a long day of hiking. There was usually at least 6 hours of downtime each day. Each teahouse has roughly the same food menu, consisting of rice, macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, pizza, and different Nepali food, such as dal baht. Dal baht is a traditional meal popular in Nepal which consists of steamed rice, lentil soup, and vegetables. This was also an “all you can eat” choice where you could get as many refills as you like. 100 Nepalese rupees equals roughly $1.
Day 4 started out with downhill steps – which sounds nice but by now our legs were pretty sore by now and going down actually hurt our calves more. Once we made it all the way to the bottom of the hill (anything without snow on the top is considered a hill in Nepal) and crossed the suspension bridge over the river we just had to go all the way back up. Today we started to have a different landscape. There was tree covered mountains all around us and lots of farmland. We walked by a lot of people farming and loads of buffalo. We were rewarded with an amazing view of the mountains when we made it to our guesthouse in Chhomrong for the night. Here we met a girl from Sudbury, Massachusetts who was teaching English up in the mountains. She was on a gap year trip before starting college. She had been in Nepal for a few months now and it was pretty interesting talking with her. Since we were getting up further into the mountains, normally free things were starting to cost money. It was a couple dollars to charge any electronics, or use WiFi, or even take hot showers. We only charged things when really needed, and didn’t bother with WiFi.
Tadapani (8796 ft) to Chhomrong (7286 ft): 5.1 Miles
Day 5 was similar – lots of ups and down through the forest and farmland. At this point, our legs and shoulders were starting to kill, and every stone step was a chore. Halfway through the trek at this point and we just needed to grin and bear it. Pushing onwards, we had the scenery around us to encourage us. At this point we could see the mountains that were our end goal. During the trek, we all noticed the clouds forming behind us. Jun ran off ahead us of to make sure our spot in the teahouse was still secured for the night. We trudged along and put on our raincoats and raincovers for our bags just in case. Luckily, we made it to our guest house for the night 5 minutes before it started pouring. Our room was on the 2nd floor and by now it hurt to walk up and down the stairs to get to our room. We were still decently warm during the day, but it was freezing at night and the guesthouses no longer had heat. Everyone staying at the guest house would just camp out in the dining hall and wear their down jackets.
Chhomrong (7286 ft) to Bamboo (7556 ft): 4.4 Miles
Day 6 – We left at our usual time around 8am and the morning was the usual ups and downs through the forest and when we made it to lunch we could see the mountains even better. After lunch it was a little bit of a harder climb since it was actual terrain and no steps – it actually felt like we were climbing a mountain. It was raining by the time we arrive at the guest house for the night (noticing a trend?) and we were pretty cold. This guest house was extremely crowded, and we were lucky to have a room. We had to share it with another couple from England, but they were really nice. A lot of the other trekkers there ended up sleeping on the benches in the dining hall. This night was fun since there were so many other trekkers, and everyone just hung out together and talked. There were people from all over the world, and a lot of people we recognized by now since we were all on the same track to base camp.
Bamboo (7556 ft) to Deurali (10458 ft) 4.3 Miles
Day 7 – We left around 6:30am the next day in order to beat the rain we had heard was coming around 9am. There was snow on the ground from the night before and it was freezing but this was actually one of our favorite parts of the trek. We walked through a huge valley and it was insane. It was super clear, and we had huge mountains all around us. There was hardly anyone else on the trail yet either since we had left so early. The views just kept getting more amazing as we got closer and closer to our destination. We made it to Machapuchre Base Camp around 9am before anything happened so we just had the rest of the day to chill. Annapurna Base Camp is about another 2 hours from here and some people skip MBC, but we didn’t want to risk going higher up too fast and getting altitude sickness. We spent the day at MBC reading and talking to other trekkers, and just trying to stay warm. When we first got to MBC we had amazing views of the mountains around us but not even an hour later we couldn’t even see out of the windows and a blizzard hit. We were wearing our down jackets full time at this point as the outside temperature was around 40 degrees (or lower). You could definitely tell we were up in the Himalayas and it was a really cool feeling. We were happy with our decision to stay at MBC for a night and couldn’t wait for ABC the next day.
Deurali (10458 ft) to Machapuchre Base Camp (12139 ft): 2.5 Miles