Day 4: Chame
We climbed from 1900 meters to 2710 meters trekking from Dharapani to Chame
We started our day by showing our permits at the checkpoint. We got great news! Rangers said that starting today, professionals would begin clearing the Thorong-la pass. This process involves leading a herd of yaks over the pass so they can stomp down the snow. They anticipate the pass being open in 3-4 days, which is just before we planned to arrive! This positivity provided us with the hope we needed to get through the day despite the 30+ hikers we would meet trekking in the opposite direction having been forced to quit.
In other good news, we had been staying at the same hotel as a Russian group of people every night on the circuit. They had been very cold and totally rejected our friendship advances. We persisted and they eventually reciprocated the friendliness. One of the males in the group had already hiked the Annapurna Circuit three times. However, the last two times he had to turn around because of dangerous conditions at high altitudes. This made us extremely proud of our hotel choices. He knew the best places by experience and we found the best places serendipitously!
Into the Mountains
The trek took us through more amazing villages in the morning. Then, it was time to climb. After a few hours of steep stone stairs, those huge mountains in the distance were suddenly within reach! As soon as we finished our largest elevation increase of the day, the skies cleared up and we got our first real glimpse of the stunning mountains surrounding us. We were on a high all day. Around every corner was another, more beautiful valley, then another bigger mountain around the next. We saw so many baby puppies and cows and even saw a family of wild monkeys! Does it get any better?
We felt so blessed to have another day of sunshine! The snow was melting, leaving us muddy, but happy to still be walking in the same direction around the circuit. We eventually reached Chame- one of the biggest towns along the circuit. We were thrilled to see that so much snow had melted! It was hard to believe that hikers were trapped here in several feet of snow less than a week ago.
Once settled in our hotel, we set out to buy some essential gear, as crossing the Thorong pass was now a reality. We bought snow pants, neck warmers, and gaiters. We also bought diamox, the medicine used to treat symptoms of altitude sickness. I've convinced myself several times that I'm slowly dying of altitude sickness, but have no cell service to Google and confirm my suspicions. Just having diamox makes me feel better- even if I never use it.
We spent the night at Eagle Eye Hotel. It was super cozy and was our first hotel to have wifi since the storm on our first day. My family and boyfriend were happy to hear that I was indeed alive.