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A day in Annapurna Base Camp

  • 13-Sep-2016
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“The snow reminded me of the beauty and mystery of the creation of the essential joy that is life.”

Annapurna Base Camp is surrounded by peaks. My ascent in the misty weather now felt like climbing through a trapdoor into this secret, hidden place. Now it was the way back down to the world below that was hidden from view. I was so awed I stumbled around for 15 minutes before the sub-zero cold and lack of clothes forced me back to bed. I woke up early at 5.00 am to watch the sunrise in the Annapurna Mountains. It was however like changing from black and white TV to color making the scene that much more vivid.

As soon as the sun rose, it instantly became warmer and I spent the rest of the morning frolicking around ABC enjoying the sunshine. The feeling is triumphant but all I can do is sip a cup of hot tea and marvel at the mountains that surround us. The view doesn’t feel real. It looks perfect like a photo-shopped, glossy photo hung on someone’s wall. My mind seems to not even process where I was and what I was seeing. Even though it was FREEZING, the weather was perfect – not a cloud in the sky. There really are no words to describe how humbling it is to be surrounded by these giant Himalayan peaks.

And looking due west from base camp I had the spectacular, awe-inspiring views of sunrise hitting the peaks of the Annapurna range including Annapurna South (7219m). I feel obliged to just mention at this point that the sensation of being present amongst these majestic natural wonders would be hard to capture in a photo anyway, and working with only my dodgy ‘not-entirely-dim-but-not-necessarily-smart’ phone I feel I am sadly failing.

I then circled above Annapurna Base Camp, visiting the prayer flags and memorials for those who died on Annapurna.  There was a set of tents off to the side, an encampment for hikers who would actually head to the summit–a 6 to 12-week commitment for acclimatization, preparation, and the ideal weather conditions.

Indeed, the flags here seem to stretch forever – and watching them flutter in the alpine wind is an unforgettable sight: Reaching base camp provided a weird mix of emotions: immense relief at finally arriving as well as excitement at being so high. The adrenaline let me strip down to my t-shirt for a photo with the sign and then it was time to layer back up and grab some lunch. And as the morning slowly went away I came to know that the afternoons are known to be pretty cloudy up at ABC.

Annapurna Base Camp can be a trek for amateur trekkers. You can also plan a family trek. The trek is a moderate one that involves fewer days and fewer walking hours. The route is well paved and doesn’t involve risky edges. This can be a great option to add an adventurous chapter to your family travel diary.

Tip: Try to reach the base camp before 11 am so that you can get the spectacular views in the daytime as well (the next day, people usually start from the base camp by 7-8 am after sunrise view). The place gets completely overcast by clouds by 11 am reducing visibility to just a few meters.

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