Twenty days in the Himalayas

by | Jun 6, 2017 | Blog, The Journey | 0 comments

How to describe those twenty days in the mountains ? Not easy to capture in words the past few weeks… Beautiful nature, healing energy, and wide messages from animals ! 
The fisrt step was to pack my bag, it has to be light, the lighter possible and I still have to carry the minimum to survive… After packing and unpacking for an hour, my bag weight about 8 to 10 kg… still a lot for my back and shoulders knowing that I will carry it for 6 to 8 hours a day…
After two food poisoning, I’m finally ready to go : I’m really exited and stressed at the same time. I know I’m going to love the mountains, the green forest but I also know that it will be painful : shoulders, back, legs… As the days pass by, I feel better and better, after 4 days I barely feel my bag and I take more more pleasure during the walk… I can finally look up and see the magical sceneries !
Walking mindfully, reminding yourself that nothing is permanent. Thanks to the ten days meditation before, I was prepared… « Anicca » was my leitmotiv during the all trek !
Breathing mindfully : filling myself with the air… knowing that each step brings me closer to the final goal.
The first days were the easiest and it was my training to be able to walk with the altitude. Meeting horses and birds on the way…. Breathtaking landscapes and crossing small tibetan villages : the days are long but always rewarded by a huge diner. I have the 3 months visa so I have time, I can explore the small villages, no rush… Meeting people on the way, I realised that I can go to the highest lake in the world, three extra days, Let’s go !….

Tilicho Lake : highest lake in the world 4900m

After 8 walking days, 2 rest days in Manang (3500meters) for acclimatisation and 2 apple crumbles (No fruits except expensive apples at this altitude. YES, I miss french food A LOT !) I’m finally on my way to the famous Tilicho lake.

A path described as adventurous (meaning dangerous) in the guides… because you have to walk on the cliff with landslides to get to that magic place. The air is thicker and I can feel that I’m walking slowlier… I arrive at the Base Camp, at the bottom of the last mountain before to see the lake, 4200m and tomorrow it will be the last climb to reach the highest lake of the world (4900m).

Wake up at 7, I start to walk and quickly I feel the lack of oxygen, my hands are getting numbed, my head heavy and my legs weak… I keep going but at 4500 m, I have a bad headache and I’m losing my balance. I had the chance to do that part with two lovely friends I met all the way going up. They waited for me the all time, It took us more than 2 hours just to clim 150m. But we are still far from the lake and I now feel nauseous… The altitude seakness is to important and I decide not to push too much and just to go down, really disappointed.

Once back at the bottom, I felt a litlle bit better and took a rest the afternoon, a lot of water and a good night of sleep, I didn’t know what to do at first but I decided to try again and to go back to reach to very top the day after, with succes that time !!

What a pleasure to discover the lake, frozen, and the snowy mountains all around… A pure joy and the hapiness to be in front of a wonder of the nature !

Thorong La Pass : 5400 meters high

The most dificult part of the circuit hasn’t come yet… The highest point is 5400m : Thorong la Pass, a path in between two peaks. It is with apprehension that I move on, in three days I’ll be walking through thoses mountains I can see further away…

In fact, the ascent to go to the lake was way more difficult then to walk through the Pass… that felt easy in comparison. The difference ? the walk is not that steep, even if it is harder to breath because it is 5400m, when you walk slowly 1 step every second, it is ok… When I saw the flags with the sign Thorung la Pass, a huge smile appreared on my face ! I’m there, on the highest point of the circuit ! I’ve done it !

I start the way down, released but with stomach cramps thanks to my last meal… After a good rest day, I keep going down for the last few days… and a 10hours bus ride…

This experience has been unbelievable, the 10 days meditation and the teachings has helped me to break the mind and body limits… I found amazing books that guided me to program my mind to succeed the ascent ! A good meditation every morning, stretching and yoga… mantras, prayers and positives thoughts to breath easily. The most important thing is to be living the moment, be aware and feel the breath in and out and walk at the same time when you reach the 5000 m high. The state of mind IS the most important !

A day in the Anapurnas :

Wake up 5h30. I open my eyes in a room sometimes made with wood sometimes with stone. The temperature is around 0 degree in the highest villages – inbetween 3500 m and 4900 m-. I can imagine you, freezing behind your screen, but with my sleeping bag and the two blankets I’m actually warm and it is nice to wake up like this. Still wrapped up in my sleeping bag, I meditate for 30 minutes, the energy in the mountain is so different… pure and strong !
To get up and leave the bed is the most difficult part, here there is no heating so I take my breakfast with my huge jacket. A big muesli bowl, a hot tea if I’m really cold, “hellos” here and there… I pack my bag and I’m gone…
7h30 : my day can start… The Anapurna circuit is touristic and all the way up I see the same faces… we often share breakfast or diner in the guesthouses. When you are backpacking, it is really easy to meet people, you can meet someone or a group and walk with them for a day, a few hours or stick together for weeks…
At this stage of the trek, I don’t even feel the backpack on my shoulders… I’ve been walking for a week and the pain in my legs is gone, I have big muscles now and I found my own rythm… amazed by the beauty of the mountains, snowy or green, and by the birds flying above my head. After an intense communication, a vulture gave me a present, a beautiful feather fell down when he flew away.
I always try to join a group of people when I walk above 3500m high, but I also love to walk by myself and enjoy the nature and the silence… I can rest wherever I want and admire the scenery with gratitude.
11:00 snack or lunch break… 12:00 Go back on the path… I can feel the altitude and I’m getting tired earlier, I’m slowlier, my sticks are more helpful. My breath is shorter but the sceneries more and more beautiful as I come closer to the snow.
Around 16:00, I reach the next village and choose my guest house and order the famous « Dal Bat » : a huge plate of rice with a small curry and a lentils soup. The Dal Bat is the favorite meal of the trekkers because you can have till 3 refills for the same price. I’m not going to lie, even if the landscapes are breathtaking, I’m exausted. After the diner, it’s shower time (only if there is hot water), laundry, stretching, yoga and sleeping time around 19:30/20:30.
This is my “typical” day in the Anapurna !!