I had no other chance than going to Nepal and doing the Annapurna Circuit

Annapurna Base Camp

As I was searching for my next hiking trek the same way I always do (google “best XY in the world”), I had no other chance than going to Nepal and doing the Annapurna Circuit. So after a hell of a bus ride to Besisahar, two friends, me and our 12 kg backpacks were ready to start the trek. Since I’m not the biggest fan of hot temperatures, I was hoping that the Himalayan weather would be colder, which it was not, at least not in the first 4 days. In return the trek was showing it’s beauty with diverse trails and stunning views of the Manaslu and Annapurna II and III. All of those amazing mountains, forests, fields and rivers easily make you forget how long and exhausting the days actually can be.

On the 5th day the clouds came, causing great temperature for hiking but we had to forfeit some of the probably great views. We arrived in Manang, but so did the rain, which shouldn’t stop for the next day. Luckily Manang was recommended as a place to rest for better acclimatization, so we didn’t have to hold through the rain. Instead we spend the day with proper coffee, great bakeries and most importantly yak cheese and salami. So good! Manang also offers a daily lecture on Altitude Sickness. It’s free but you can donate afterwards for a good cause and even test the oxygen level in your blood. Even though we were now rested, we could already feel that the air is thinner at 3500 m.

Instead of continuing on the main trek, we decided to head to the Tilicho lake, that is with about 4900 m above sea level inside the highest lakes in the world. This extra trek adds another 3 days of breathtaking views, especially the gorgeous lake itself, but also a challenging accent of around 1000 m. Luckily you can leave your backpack at the lake’s basecamp and just take a daypack. After the trip to the lake it was time to get back to the main trek. The Throng La Pass is already close, but the lack of oxygen makes every step harder as you go further up. Finally, after several days of hiking and around 4500 meters of accent , we arrived at the ocean of prayer flags at the amazing Throng La Pass. We celebrated the highest point of the circuit with a small bottle of Jägermeister, which, in retrospect, wasn’t the best idea, considering the hour-long decent to Muktinath. Here the celebration continued with one or two beer too much… I started to feel a bit jaded on the following decent, which is no surprise after 14 days of impressive landscape. From Jomsom we took the bus to Tatopani, to end our trip in the hot springs. Well deserved! So all in all, the Google search results for the best hiking treks in the world didn’t exaggerate. Thank you so much for a great time, Annapurna Circuit!

Matti Althoff