Ghore Pani to Tada Pani

    Rockingthisworld - Nepal - Ghore Pani

    We woke up early (!!) and dressed in our warmest clothes: woolen underwear and neck warmer (buffs), our Norrøna Flex1 soft-shell pants, the thick down jackets (Maria in her red Bergans and I in my blue Stormberg), warm hats, thick mittens, and headlamps.
    In addition we had an extra fleece jacket in our temporary daypacks (two small dry-bags), some flapjacks for energy, water, and - importantly - our cameras.

    At 04:45 we were ready to go. Unfortunately Hari's alarm clock didn't wake him, so after waiting for 25 minutes we went ahead on our own. Or, not really on our own since every tourist in Ghorepani was headed the same way as us. This was the first (and last) time on our trek we walked in a big pack.

    Being a bit stressed out and worried not to make it to the top before the sun rise due to our delayed departure, we started ambitiously at quite a high pace. That made it surprisingly tough to walk the 400 meters relatively steeply up to the top at 3232 meters. We used 30-45 minutes, and met several tourists that struggled.
    Tip: take it slow, make sure to cover your ears, and drink water! Hari finally woke up and came running after us, and caught up with us before we made it to the top. :)

    Technical and practical issues aside, the morning was crisp cold but with clear skies and AMAZING views of a whole range of mountains: Mt.Dhaulagiri (8167m), Tukuche Peak (6920m), Nilgiri (6940m), Varaha Shikhar (7847m), Mt.Annapurna I (8091m), Annapurna South (7219m), Annapurna III (7855m), the sacred mountain Macchapuchhare aka Fish Tail (6993m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Annapurna II (7937m), Lamjung Himal (6931m), and other numerous snowcapped mountain peaks.

    We had perfect conditions and enjoyed the sun rise and taking (a lot!) of pictures for hours! Being among the very last people to decent from Poon Hill, our hunger and realization that we had to move on to make it to the day's intended end destination. After a late breakfast, we started the trek towards Tada Pani. Hari, who has been a guide in this area for 25-30 years, had adjusted our initial itinerary a bit to ensure that we got the best possible views and got to experience a wide variety of landscapes.

    The trek started with one hour with steep stone stairs up and then equally steep stairs down again, before a comfortable stretch through a Rhododendron forest, and lastly a couple of hours descending steeply. We just reached our lunch spot when the skies opened up and rain started pouring down. In the rush to move all our stuff (and ourselves) indoors, Maria managed to leave our box with anti-bacterial wipes that we had become very fond of behind. A bit annoying, since these wipes are very handy, but hopefully someone who needed them more than us found them and could make good use of them.

    After lunch we walked in rain - which is no problem as long as you have functioning rain gear and watch your steps as it can get a bit slippery. The last 30 minutes the trail went steeply upwards, and we were all happy to finally reach the Panorama Point Hotel where we would stay the night.

    Tada Pani (2600m) is a small Gurung village with wonderful mountain views. It relies solely on solar power, so our headlamps came in handy. :) At this altitude (2600m) we could clearly feel that it was getting colder, and was happy to have our wool and down layers of clothes. One lesson learned, however, is that next time we'll not bring our sandals with split toe (i.e. havaianas). While practical since they dry fast, it is too cold not to wear thick socks inside the sandals. This was just too difficult with the split toe. Another tip: the trail meanders steeply up and down, and many people's knees struggle going down. Bring sports tape, supporting bandages or braces so you can relieve your knees if/when necessary.

    When the rain finally stopped around 18-19 o'clock, the skies started clearing up and we got a beautiful view of the Annapurna South, Annapurna II, Machhapuchhare and Himchili under the full moon. Magical! Tada Pani is at a much higher altitude than Ghandruk (900m), where we were supposed to go according to our initial itinerary, and with is superior views we were very pleased with this change. Whatever grudges I had for Hari oversleeping this morning, was more than forgiven with this move. The mountains feel a lot closer here, and the trek and goal feels real now!