High-Altitude Trekking through Nepal (Part 1)

Our journey leads us to the Annapurna region of the Himalayas. It's known for its lush plant life and sunny valleys, not to mention some of the world's highest peaks.

To soak up as much of the scenery as possible, we're taking a half-day bus ride from Kathmandu to Pohkara.

Since we didn't have much time to prepare for the trip, we’ve booked guides at a local trekking agency. Maila and Podom plan the route according to our wishes. We want to experience the traditional villages and have authentic encounters with the local people. Of course, we're also in it for the breathtaking views - without running into a bunch of other tourists. To top things off, we'll be visiting the Annapurna Base Camp. We plan to ascend in daily stages of six to seven hours.

Here's our route:

Day 1: Nayapul (1,050 m) – Puranogoan (1,600 m)

Day 2: Puranogaon – Lespar (2,089 m)

Day 3: Lespar – Mohare Danda (3,300 m)

Day 4: Mohare Danda via Deurali – Muldai Viewpoint (3,640 m)

Day 5 & 6: Muldai View Point – Hidden Paradise (4,100 m)

Day 7: Hidden Paradise – Chomrong (2,100 m)

Day 8 & 9: Annapurna Base Camp Trek: Chomrong – Himalaya (2,920 m) – Annapurna Base Camp (4,130 m)

Day 10: Annapurna Base Camp – Bamboo (2,335 m)

Day 11: Bamboo – Jhinu Danda with hot springs (1,610 m)

Day 12: Jhinu Danda via Landruk (1,565 m) – Pothana (1,890 m)

Day 13: Off day/laundry day in Pothana

In Nepal, the mountains are covered in plants, even at elevations of up to 3,000 meters. The valleys seem to go on forever. We spend our days walking in short sleeves among the rhododendrons and fig trees. We'll never forget our encounters with the local people during our first two days as we passed through their tiny villages along our route. We spend the night with a young farmer's family. Their simple hut is painted in the dazzling colors typical for Nepal, and the beds are decorated with cheerful floral blankets. We can hear the grunting of the water buffalo nearby. In the evenings, we gather on the clay floor around the fire, passing around the raksi, homemade alcohol distilled from millet. We highly recommend you stay the night with a local host, not just to get to the know the country and its people better, but to support the local economy.

We immediately feel at home in Lespar, too, where we spend our second night. This idyllic village, surrounded by terraced fields, is built on a dizzyingly steep slope. We climb countless stone stairways until sundown as we explore this jagged landscape, stopping to admire the athletic prowess of the villagers on the local volleyball court.

We enjoy the stunning scenery at the Mohare Danda Community Lodge the next day. Here, we have perfect visibility and a panoramic mountain view from Dhaulagiri, across the Annapurna Massif all the way to Manaslu. The scenery is so beautiful we can hardly get enough of it. After sundown, we put on our headlamps and continue climbing along the back of the mountain, always stopping to enjoy new views of the majestic peaks. Back at the lodge, we gather around the fire. Because it's still winter, we're the only tourists here.

The landscape along the path to Muldai the next morning is stunningly beautiful. Soon, we'll be leaving the tree line behind us. We spontaneously decide to pitch our small tent right at the spectacular Muldai Viewpoint. Our guides just smile and shake their heads at our plans, sensing a storm would soon sweep over the ridge, bringing the temperature well below freezing. The guides set off for the warmth of the fire in the camp 30 minutes up the trail. We pull the hoods of our jackets tightly around our heads to protect our faces from the cold wind, feeling invincible. With the eight-thousanders just within reach and countless stars lighting up the sky above us, we settle in for what is probably the most beautiful night of our trek, despite the icy cold.