– this post is part of ‘trekking the Annapurna trail’ and follows‘Mellow in Manang’–
I wake up at 5 AM and join ‘the others’ for ‘breakfast’. Little did I know that putting raw garlic and spirulina in my mint tea would turn out to be a smart combination. We will be climbing 900m in less than 3 hours from 4100 to 5000m. Onto Tilicho Lake. One of the highest lakes in the world, but not the highest as many do claim. check here to know more. But today’s hike would definitely be a highlight of the Annapurna trail!
We start at 6 AM and leave our packs in base camp so today will be a hike with no weight on the back. the ascent would be steep enough anyway. And with every step more and more stunning white peaks would reveal themselves.
Contrary to the day before I happen to be very fit and I ascend very easily. I leave the rest of the group behind very soon which makes me enjoy the silence more profoundly. I am soon behind the Korean couple whom I saw leaving when I reached the breakfast table.
The small path keeps going up and one would think ‘when does this stop?’ as there is only that much pressure a head can withstand, right? And my spare garlic is not endless either. To clarify something here: I eat raw garlic (which tastes horrible yes) because it increases the oxygen intake in the body drastically and gives you a really good time after the bad taste! I have been recommending it all along and I still do (as I had a very bad experience with altitude sickness 8 years ago)
The last winding path leads even more up and then the last more or less even stretch towards the lake. THE LAKE. What would the lake look like at first sight anyway? This I was wondering…
I immediately took a turn to the right to get around the lake thinking that my time would be limited here in terms of my altitude capacity and also somehow keeping up with ‘the group’ who was on a schedule.
The silence here is very profound, and even though I had been longing for it, it seems almost too much to bear after the endless hustle and bustle of India, mainly
I go further down the lake which stretches 4 kilometers deep. That seems totally ridiculous when you look at it from above, but true when you take the walk all the way down, which few people undertake…
I was already on my way back when I met my Thai companion Pong. Someons said he suffered headaches and went back but no, he just took it easy and made it all the way up. I walk all the way back to see the group again but they left already so me and Pong went right into the lake, taking a ice-cold dip and filling up our water bottles with the water of the lake as we had some purifying tablets left. (and it was very unlikely factories were dumping their waste waters into the lake)
Suddenly, after a few hours, clouds came drifting in and I was reminded of the warnings people gave. After the noon the weather can turn around unexpectetly with fierce winds challenging one’s balance. I knew from past experiences how serious this can be so we focused our minds on the craziest of circumstances. Anyway we wanted to stay up there as long as we could to enjoy this special place and also to get acclimatised to this altitude in preparation for the Thorung La pass but now was big time to get back!
The walk back was very sweet though, yes there were clouds but they provided for the most amazing light spectacles avaialble, it was a sheer delight and the perfect ending for a most stunning day
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