Day 2: Jagat
We climbed from 840 meters to 1300 meters trekking from Bhulbhule to Jagat
I was so happy to hear the rain stop shortly before I got our of bed at 6am. Marissa and I shared a pot of black coffee as we prepared to take on our first full day on the Annapurna Circuit. Throughout breakfast, I had been eyeing the host’s adorable chubby infant. After eating, she gladly handed him over to me! I was in heaven until he pooped and it leaked on me. Simultaneously, Marissa dropped her water bladder on her lap, spilling cold water all over her pants. Minor setbacks. We both changed and headed out on our trek.
It was super muddy, but we had our first clear views of the giant mountains ahead of us! Words can't explain how exciting it was. I was practically skipping through the mud. I've seen big mountains and we were surrounded by similar big mountains, but the Himalayas were another dimension. Just stunning. It is hard to imagine what it will be like when we are actually UP there.
All day, we trekked closer and closer to those white giants in the distance through charming mountain villages. It was Holi, the Hindu holiday of colors, so children in the villages were excited to play with us/throw water and chalk on us as we walked by their homes. It was incredible timing to be able to experience Holi in Nepal. There was only one problem. I don’t hate many things, but I HATE face-touching of all types. I can barely touch my own face without cringing. So you can imagine how torn I felt when adorable Nepali children asked to spread chalk on my face. I survived and I’m stronger because of it.
Annapurna Circuit Culture
One of my favorite parts of the Appalachian Trail was the community. I developed life-long bonds with the people I shared the trail with every day. When I encountered another trekker on the Annapurna Circuit, I said hello, as any decent hiker would do.
“Where are you from?”
*In a super-thick accent* “Russia”
“Oh wow! I’m from America. How’s your day going?”
*Scowls* “Russia, very big country. America, very small.”
And then he turned his back to me. I’m not kidding. I’m definitely not on the Appalachian Trail anymore. That being said, people from all over the world are hiking the Annapurna Circuit, whereas mostly Americans hiked the AT. I can't expect that everyone will be comfortable and willing to speak English with me! Although disappointed, nothing could possibly ruin my mood.
It started raining in the afternoon, so we stopped in Jagat, yet another quaint trail town. We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Mont Blanc. We negotiated with the owners and were able to stay for free as long as we ate dinner and breakfast at their restaurant. They made us homemade pumpkin soup and vegetable momos for dinner and it was everything. We spent the evening playing with the kiddos in the village and wandering around.
Today we passed about ten trekkers who also turned around at Manang. The host at our hostel worked as a guide many years and has never seen this much snow in March. He also said that a group of 30 people died in 2014 trying to cross the Thorong-la Pass despite dangerous, snowy conditions. I'm not trying to die, but I also wanna see for myself why we may need to turn around. He advised Marissa and I on the gear that we needed to purchase in order to safely trek the pass.