Monday, June 1, 2009

Introduction to the Annapurna Circuit

At the end of February, 2009, my 22 year old son Andrew invited me (his father) to join him on a mountain bike trek in Nepal. Andrew had been spending the winter in Pokhara, Nepal as a volunteer in an orphanage and was looking forward to exploring some of the mountains he looked at every day. He came up with this plan to follow the Annapurna Circuit, a well documented and traveled hiking trek around the Annapurna Mountain range. But instead of taking the normal 15 to 18 days by foot, Andrew researched a way to do it in just eight days by riding, carrying and pushing a mountain bike.
Here are some basic facts. The trek covers about 150 miles and travels along the Annapurna Mountain range, a group of mountains in Nepal that top out at about 26,000 feet. The highest point on the trek is Thourung La, a mountain pass that is 17,800 feet above sea level. At every six to twelve miles along the trek is a community that is home to many small shops and guest houses catering to the needs of the trekkers. While the accommodations are primitive – no heat, limited electricity, a room with a hole in the floor for the communal toilet, and solar heated hot water for one shared shower, the guest houses provide beds, blankets and hot meals, so travelers do not need to carry tents, sleeping bags or food.
While my original intent was to provide a day-by-day travel log of what we did, I believe that a log might have more appeal to me and my immediate family and would not have a broad reach. So, for those looking for more of a day by day account, please check out this web site for a great generic day-by-day description of the Annapurna Circuit. It is actually very good and the site I used to prepare for the trip.
Instead of a travel log, I have come up with about 20 short stories, each one focusing on one aspect of the trip. Once this mosaic of stories is completed, I believe you will have a greater appreciation of this magical place half way around the world away. Taking trips like this is just one way to find balance in life and keep the flame lit. Enjoy the journey

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