Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

Buddhist clue
Buddhist banners add color to Ice Lake's semi-cold shore.
Buddha's balcony
The capricious geology of the Annapurnas. A slope "streaked" by erosion scales the highest peaks of the mountain range.
The Long Marsyangdi Valley
More Buddhist flags branch towards the trail to Ice Lake, with the long valley of Marsyangdi in sight.
Parking at the heights
Ice Lake owner's horse awaits homecoming.
different strands
The capricious geology of the Annapurnas. A slope "streaked" by erosion scales the highest peaks of the mountain range.
last storage
Couple about to leave Ice Lake, returning to Braga (Brakka) or Manang.
Return to Braga
Hikers at the beginning of the trail back to Braga (Brakka).
enlightened Buddhism
Buddhist stupa on the shore of Ice Lake.
ice lake tea house
Signpost signals hikers the comforting arrival at the Ice Lake tea house.
Way back
Sara Wong at the beginning of the return to Brakka, deep in the valley of the Marsyangdi River.
Iced Lake in View
Aged indication of the Ice Lake, a lake that is frozen for most of the year, at an altitude of 4600 meters.
On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.

It is already part of the common sense of the Annapurna circuit.

stay a few days in Braga or Manang was essential for us to realize if we were really in physical condition. It would be ideal to try it out on one of the courses that depart from the banks of Marsyangdi to places high up on the slopes on either side of the valley.

Ice Lake was one of the most recommended. The rail started right there in front of the houses of Braga. As much as we calculated what it would cost us, we couldn't dodge it.

We had ordered breakfast for 7am. We've already woken up twenty minutes after that. Just in time to see the ever-rising Teutonic group leave the front of the New Yak Hotel, pointed to the path we would take.

We ship breakfast in three times. We went back to the bedroom and repacked the backpacks with more this and more. It's almost nine when we leave, with that Portuguese feeling of being late, even if no one has set schedules.

We went through the base of the monastery of Braga, we followed the contours of the village and entered its houses into the house, as we had done the day before. In one of the shady alleys, we find a first sign indicating the final destination. We take this direction until the path makes us leave the houses behind, uphill.

View from the trail to the Ice Lake above Braga.

The capricious geology of the Annapurnas. A slope “streaked” by erosion scales the highest peaks of the mountain range.

De Braga (Brakka), Up the Mountain

Shortly after, we came upon the main trail that backtracked towards the Monastery of Karma Samtem Ling and towards Ngawal, the village from which we had arrived in Braga.

The further we travel, the more panoramic the view becomes of Braga and the kind of geological groove that sheltered it and the main valley of Marsyangdi. We saw it snaking from Manang and further upstream.

We back off little or nothing. A sign painted on a rock alerts us that it was time to step up in earnest. We cut to the slope and began a zigzag incline up it.

Two hundred meters later, our costly advance is stopped by a long line of older walkers that occupied the entire narrow path. We passed them agitated by a breathless discussion of whether we should hurry or wait stranded at their pace, we didn't know how long.

It ended up winning the law of what was ahead. We overtake them in obvious overheating. We catch our breath as much as we can and calm down. We returned to our normal stride, for the rest of the route with no more traffic worthy of record.

At a certain height, the rail snaps to a protruding edge of the slope. The position of this edge reveals a more open landscape than ever, both to Manang's side and to the opposite.

The First Panoramic Scale of the Rail

Sensitive to its contemplative blessing and that it would be the perfect place for a first, longer rest, the natives installed a long multicolored clothesline there, flowing with Buddhist flags.

Buddhist banners, Ice Lake trail, Annapurna circuit, Nepal

A string of Buddhist banners mark a vantage point across the Marsyangdi River Valley, overlooking Manang and beyond.

We sat down on smoother rocks, devoured the first energetic bars and praised the somewhat esoteric privilege of being able to appreciate such landscapes. From Braga, which was just below, we could only see a point closer to Marsyangdi.

By way of compensation, the entire valley to the east was exposed. Manang's most modern houses on its eccentric alluvial plateau, Lake Gangapurna a little below in intimate contact with Marsyangdi.

The next day, we would walk parallel to the river, until we settled in Manang. But forward, as we saw it, the river valley forked. We wanted to see for sure which of the passes following Manang would lead us to the longed-for Thorong La Pass.

To the naked eye, it was still too complicated to notice. As such, we have suspended the study of the valley. With our thighs cooled, we took a few last photos and returned to the climb.

Marsyangdi River Valley, Annapurna Circuit,

More Buddhist flags branch towards the trail towards Ice Lake, with the deep valley of Marsyangdi in sight.

New Stop. The Very Audible Symptoms of Mountain Evil

A quarter of an hour later, we stopped again at a similar point higher up. Overlooking the valley, but also the viewpoint of former Buddhist flags. At that very moment, the line of hikers that we had passed arrives at the resting point.

The wind blows towards us. We hear two or three of them cough helplessly. We knew it was a bad omen and we felt safe that it hadn't happened to us yet. We guessed that your guides would not allow those three of your clients to proceed.

What happened spilled over or what we expected to happen. There were even two of them, and it seemed to us that one of them could go down with the trio with symptoms of mountain sickness. The other, so we thought, was able to continue with the rest of the group. Even today we still don't understand why. Instead, the two guides and the ten or twelve hikers they led came down.

We continued without any setbacks. Uphill.

Eventually, we are caught up in the sudden vision of Annapurna's supreme snowy summit, jagged by a ridge above our plane.

A flock of wild deer that grazed on this ridge served us as a stopover for the overwhelming mountain that crept there. We were so excited by the majesty of its summit that we almost forgot what our legs suffered.

We resume the steps. Mine, more than burst and recover, Sara's, almost always uniform and well measured.

Ice Lake Restaurant on the way up to Ice Lake, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Signpost signals hikers the comforting arrival at the Ice Lake tea house.

The Soothing Vision of Ice Lake Tea House

We covered another few hundred meters. Halfway through a new ramp, the trail reveals a house. Finally, we had reached the “Ice Lake Restaurant, Tea & Coffee Shop”, so indicated a white and blue sign placed in a corner, next to the tin roof.

Opposite to the horse that the owner rode every day to take off between his home in the already distant valley and the establishment where he earned his living.

A cold wind blows so we sit inside. The owner welcomes us and installs us. We ordered ginger, lemon and honey teas accompanied by chapatas with yak cheese.

We savored them with the doubled pleasure of the effort and got into conversation with the native who has to do in the kitchen and is not looking forward to it.

As much as we felt like dragging the reward, we didn't hold back for more than twenty minutes. With the withdrawal of the large group below, we had the feeling that no one was following us.

The sign outside the building also announced that we were 1:30 am from Ice Lake.

Being the last ones down was always to be avoided. Okay, we got moving once more.

Ice Lake Restaurant Owner's Horse, En route to Ice Lake, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Ice Lake Restaurant owner's horse awaits homecoming.

We to Arrive, Almost all to Initiate the Return.

At that hour or so (it didn't reach 1:30 am) that it would take us to the top, we crossed paths with the rest of the day. All groups had left much earlier than us. Each descended from the lake in their own way and in the way that their health and fitness allowed them.

Sara Peréz and Edo, the Hispano-Italian couple with whom we had lived before, were descending at great speed, without any problem. We also met the Germans. one of them was with mountain sickness, dizzy, with headache and difficulty going down. Two of them accompanied him. Two others had lingered higher up.

In an additional stretch, we entered a section where the trail was muddy from the daytime snow thaw. The dark mud forced us to refrain from stepping.

It didn't prevent, more pause, less pause, more photography less photography, from reaching our final destination.

Signposting the Ice Lake, at the entrance to the lake, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Aged indication of the Ice Lake, a lake that is frozen for most of the year, at an altitude of 4600 meters.

Finally, the Frozen and Longed Ice Lake

Almost five hours after Braga's match, we had conquered the 4.600 of Ice Lake. So proved a white and gold stupa, decorated with Buddhist flags.

Stupa by the Ice Lake, above Braga (Brakka), Nepal

Buddhist stupa on the shore of Ice Lake.

Much more than the lake itself. As the name suggested, and in March, the lake was little more than a snowy surface with diffuse boundaries. Just there, we found a couple taking their last photos, hurrying to start their way back.

We realized then that we were the last ones. Aware that many of the storms on the circuit arrive, fulminating, towards the end of the day. Unwilling to be caught by one of them, alone, at that altitude, on a narrow trail with kilometer-high precipices on the right, we enjoyed the surrounding scenery.

Hikers by Ice Lake, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Couple about to leave Ice Lake, returning to Braga (Brakka) or Manang.

We took a deep breath. We make the last images, ours and those of the couple, moving away on the tiny white ground, against the overwhelming background of the Annapurnas. After this usual ritual, we inaugurate the descent. Graced with the mercy of gravity, we speed up and speed up.

The Hasty Descent Back to Braga

We have the thighs, the calves and all the strong muscles from the previous walks and climbs which allow us to brake in a short time.

We see dark clouds approaching from Chame's sides, aimed at Manang's sides and their tone displeases us.

We had already enjoyed the view on the way up.

Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Hikers at the beginning of the trail back to Braga (Brakka).

We choose to descend in near-race mode, at least until our knees react to the overload and start to ache. We passed the couple who had left before us.

And by another small group. It had been five hours going up. There were only two going down. Back in Brakka, we received the deserved reward.

We had gone up and down without any symptoms of mountain sickness. We were much more acclimatized than before for the 5.416m crossing of the Thorong La Pass.

We immediately celebrated by comforting ourselves with ginger teas with honey and lemon and a couple of Tibetan breads.

Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Annapurna Circuit: 5th - Ngawal a BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Bhaktapur, Nepal

The Nepalese Masks of Life

The Newar Indigenous People of the Kathmandu Valley attach great importance to the Hindu and Buddhist religiosity that unites them with each other and with the Earth. Accordingly, he blesses their rites of passage with newar dances of men masked as deities. Even if repeated long ago from birth to reincarnation, these ancestral dances do not elude modernity and begin to see an end.
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

This section of the Annapurna Circuit is only 1km away, but in less than two hours it takes you from 4450m to 4850m and to the entrance to the great canyon. Sleeping in High Camp is a test of resistance to Mountain Evil that not everyone passes.
Annapurna Circuit: 13th - High camp a Thorong La to Muktinath, Nepal

At the height of the Annapurnas Circuit

At 5416m of altitude, the Thorong La Gorge is the great challenge and the main cause of anxiety on the itinerary. After having killed 2014 climbers in October 29, crossing it safely generates a relief worthy of double celebration.
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Big Freedia and bouncer, Fried Chicken Festival, New Orleans
Ceremonies and Festivities
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Big Freedia: in Bounce Mode

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and jazz sounds and resonates in its streets. As expected, in such a creative city, new styles and irreverent acts emerge. Visiting the Big Easy, we ventured out to discover Bounce hip hop.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Fogón de Lola, great food, Costa Rica, Guápiles
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
China's occupation of Tibet, Roof of the World, The occupying forces
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
unmissable roads

Great Routes, Great Trips

With pompous names or mere road codes, certain roads run through really sublime scenarios. From Road 66 to the Great Ocean Road, they are all unmissable adventures behind the wheel.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
Fort Galle, Sri Lanka, Ceylon Legendary Taprobana
Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Fort: A Portuguese and then Dutch (His) story

Camões immortalized Ceylon as an indelible landmark of the Discoveries, where Galle was one of the first fortresses that the Portuguese controlled and yielded. Five centuries passed and Ceylon gave way to Sri Lanka. Galle resists and continues to seduce explorers from the four corners of the Earth.
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Kukenam reward
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Lonely Walk, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Namibia, dune base acacia
Sossusvlei, Namíbia

The Namibe Dead End of Sossusvlei

When it flows, the ephemeral Tsauchab river meanders 150km from the mountains of Naukluft. Arriving in Sossusvlei, you get lost in a sea of ​​sand mountains that compete for the sky. The natives and settlers called it a swamp of no return. Anyone who discovers these far-fetched parts of Namibia always thinks of returning.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, giraffes
Natural Parks
PN Bwabwata, Namíbia

A Namibian Park Worth Three

Once Namibia's independence was consolidated in 1990, to simplify its management, the authorities grouped together a trio of parks and reserves on the Caprivi strip. The resulting PN Bwabwata hosts a stunning immensity of ecosystems and wildlife, on the banks of the Cubango (Okavango) and Cuando rivers.
shadow vs light
UNESCO World Heritage
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Zorro's mask on display at a dinner at the Pousada Hacienda del Hidalgo, El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

Zorro's Cradle

El Fuerte is a colonial city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. In its history, the birth of Don Diego de La Vega will be recorded, it is said that in a mansion in the town. In his fight against the injustices of the Spanish yoke, Don Diego transformed himself into an elusive masked man. In El Fuerte, the legendary “El Zorro” will always take place.
The Dominican Republic Balnear de Barahona, Balneario Los Patos
Barahona, Dominican Republic

The Bathing Dominican Republic of Barahona

Saturday after Saturday, the southwest corner of the Dominican Republic goes into decompression mode. Little by little, its seductive beaches and lagoons welcome a tide of euphoric people who indulge in a peculiar rumbear amphibian.
Detail of the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam, India.
Guwahati, India

The City that Worships Kamakhya and the Fertility

Guwahati is the largest city in the state of Assam and in North East India. It is also one of the fastest growing in the world. For Hindus and devout believers in Tantra, it will be no coincidence that Kamakhya, the mother goddess of creation, is worshiped there.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Creepy Goddess Graffiti, Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, USA, United States America
The Haight, San Francisco, USA

Orphans of the Summer of Love

Nonconformity and creativity are still present in the old Flower Power district. But almost 50 years later, the hippie generation has given way to a homeless, uncontrolled and even aggressive youth.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Newborn turtle, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero

The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.