Days 7 & 8: Manang
We climbed from 3450 meters to 3540 meters from Bhraga to Manag
Acclimatization Hike toward Ice Lake
It was a short 30 minute walk to Manang, so we considered today the first of our two acclimatization days. We woke up and went on a three hour hike up a trail toward Ice Lake. I forgot how amazing it is to hike without an oversized pack on. The path to ice lake was closed because of snow, but we still enjoyed some incredible views from almost 4000 meters.
After our hike, we reluctantly left our lovely hotel for Manang. Shortly after, we checked into Hotel Yeti in Manang. We were excited about all the amenities in Manang: laundry, bakeries, hiking gear suppliers, coffee shops, and movie theaters. We bought microspikes to help us trek on snow without slipping so much and croakies to keep my wide-set, fake Ray Ban sunglasses from falling off my face every time I looked at my feet.
The highlight of today was watching the mountain goats get fed. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Marissa and I sat on a bench and watched hundreds of long-haired mountain goats scurrying around, butting heads with each other, and munchin' on goat food. We gave the goats names and voices and narrated the entire event. I don't even know I liked goats so much and I had the best time. Marissa, on the other hand, loves goats more than anyone I know. I've had to tell her on multiple occasions, "Marissa, stop kissing the goats". Often times, Marissa will disappear for a while and I'll just assume she found a baby animal somewhere. "I just saw the smallest baby goat I've ever seen". I swear she's said that exact quote at least five times since we started the trek. She insists that the goats keep getting smaller.
After dinner, we paid $2.50 to watch 7 Years in Tibet in a "movie theater" aka a cement box with wooden benches and projector. We layered up in all the clothes we brought and were served hot tea and popcorn while we watched the movie. It was so happy. Sleeping, on the other hand, was a struggle because it was so freaking cold.
Day Two in Manang
Note to anyone reading this and planning to hike the Annapurna Circuit: you don't need two acclimatization days in Manang if you have been hiking (and not driving) from Besishahar.
We woke up early and immediately regretted not planning to hike on today. Bored already at only 8am, it was going to be a long day. It was too cold to walk around or do much of anything. The town seemed empty and it was all kinda depressing. All we had to look forward to was the goats getting fed at 4pm. Eventually at 11am, it warmed up and we explored Manang a bit. We ate enormous veggie burgers for lunch, then took a nap from being so full. It was one of those days. We kept kicking ourselves for not trekking on.
We decided to go watch another movie at 2pm. We got to the theater, it was locked. People asked around a bit for us and soon the Nepali owner came running to turn on the movie. He said two people was not enough to play a movie. Marissa and I offered to pay double the ticket price to play "Into the Wild". He accepted our offer. Best $5 I've ever spent. We got cozy in front of the heater and enjoyed the movie to ourselves. There were subtitles, so we played karaoke with all the songs that came on during the movie- great soundtrack btw. The movie was pretty depressing. I loved the book and I love Chris McCandless' insights to living adventurously and freely, but he was very drastic. I can't wait to get hiking tomorrow!
One of my favorite Chris McCandless quotes:
The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun