Bhraga, 3450m, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal.
No breakfast fire today. After sitting still for half an hour in the communal area of the guesthouse that morning, I was again, frozen solid. Long woollen underwear doesn’t do much for me apparently, even though I had the matching under-socks and under-gloves. It has been freezing every night thus far on the trail, but now we had reached the point it wouldn’t go above zero degrees anymore during daytime either. We also had our first snow that morning!
It was very difficult for me to get going that morning. I knew that moving and some sunlight would make everything better, but I was so darn cold! The plan was to do an ‘acclimatisation day’ without backpacks. We would hike all the way up to the Ice lakes, which is a 6-kilometre single-way hike from Bhraga, al the way up to 4600 meters. That meant an average inclination of almost 200 meters per kilometre, that’s a slope of close to 20%. So, although I knew that it would be even colder up high, I also knew that it would definitely get me warm.
So, we started hiking. It was incredibly hard for me. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion finally catching up with me, but it felt like I couldn’t find enough oxygen to generate enough energy to AND make me walk AND keep me warm.
After 5 hours of walking horizontally against the slopes and the heavy wind, we finally made it to the top. The view was amazing. Cristal blue sky and a sun that shone its brightest light on the stars of the show. Oh, those mountains.
I might state the obvious here, but it dawned to us that we were in the Himalaya! Although standing at 4600 meters, we were surrounded by mountains that were still, almost twice as high. The climb was hard, but hey, you have to meet yourself somewhere on a trek like this, right?
Somehow the way down again, although faster, was not easier for me. I was so exhausted that I had trouble concentrating on the path. When we got down to our guesthouse again, I couldn’t eat, I was just so incredibly tired. It was at this point on our journey that I started to remind myself, why I was here. And although for all the right reasons, meeting yourself is never easy.
If you are susceptible to cold hands and feet, it might be worth it to bring a solution with you. I self-heating gloves and socks exist, please buy them. It would have saved me a lot of energy for sure! Also, try to get your calories in! Not eating enough for 3 consecutive days, was heading me into some serious trouble.
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