Annapurna Circuit - Day 14 - Forbidden Adventures
Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
165Trip End Ongoing
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Total Kilometres: 146 Today: 15
Began the day by sneaking into the Forbidden Kingdom of Upper Mustang. Technically speaking, Tilli, the next village up from Kagbeni was recently removed from the restricted list. Nonetheless.
Matt and I got up shortly after 5 am to walk up the village, poke around, and be back in time for breakfast at 7 a.m. We walked through town until the trail led us down to the wide, dry river bed where channels of water split and meandered through the landscape. We made our way to the other side via makeshift wooden bridges that any rise in the water's level would surely wash away. A wall surrounded the irrigated fields of the village and the village itself
The morning walk to Jomson was long and incredibly windy. There is a funnelling effect that creates a voracious wind that blasts up the Kali Gandaki Valley starting around 10 a.m. and climaxing in the late afternoon. This wind is so strong that Jomson airport will not allow planes to land or take off after 10 a.m. due to potential disaster. During the afternoon the wind reached such levels as to make walking difficult at times as our route took us directly into it. The walk meandered through the dry river bed along the road above the shore. Walking through the riverbed for hours was painful as shoes simply do not have enough sole. Every rock could be felt through the bottom of my shoes and my feet are tremendously sore tonight.
Jomson is the metropolis of the Annapurna Circuit
It's understandable in a lot of ways. With the exception of Kagbeni, everything has felt rather anti-climatic since the Pass. Things are much more developed on this side. Instead of walking trails like the Manang side, we are walking on roads. Instead of moving to the side for donkey trains and yaks, we do it for jeeps and tractors instead. The scenery has not been as visually grabbing either, with more clouds blocking the peaks as we move out of the rain shadow of the Annapurna Massif and into the pre-monsoon weather of this part of Nepal. If it wasn't for the incredible, stupid stubbornness I've been cultivating so far over this trek, I would jump in a jeep or flight out of Jomson, as was my original plan. Instead I seem determined to limp and shamble along until I finally walk out of this place.