Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

Yak horns serve as amulets when leaving Manang.
Feather Faith
Elder prays with a Buddhist prayer wheel at the edge of the path to Yak Kharka.
religious policy
Inscription on a polished stone claims the birth of Buddha in Nepal.
Flags of Buddha.
Colorful banners mark the predominant religion throughout the Annapurna Circuit.
Parallel Meanders
Winding lines of a tributary of the Marsyangdy River and the trail leading to Yak Kharka.
Gunsang Hotels
Hotels mark the entrance to Gunsang.
Chess - Check
A pair of friendly walkers and chess players compete in an outdoor game.
nepalese cattle
Yak rests against the grand backdrop of one of the Annapurnas' sharp peaks.
On my way
Turkish hiker Fevsi crosses a suspension bridge from the route.
by gravity
Low-flow river slides from the highest lands of the Annapurnas.
Nepalese Mount
Traditional saddle on a horse worn by a Manang resident.
Neon Version Yak Kharka
Collection of promotional signs upon arrival of Yak Kharka.
Shadows to Gutters
Hikers enjoy themselves on a hill in the vicinity of Yak Kharka.
Nepalese cowboy
Guide prepares to ride on his way to Manang.
Ultimate Purchases
Sara Wong and Josua buy yak cheese and other goods at a store in Manang.
wait in the sun
A roadside tea house owner awaits more hikers.
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.

The night, the altitude and the anxiety. The anxiety, the altitude and the night, whatever the sequence, from a certain height on, the trio walked hand in hand.

Little used to 3500 meters and the strenuous incursions at 4500, during sleep, our bodies began to give signs.

In the last night's sleep in Manang, with the departure scheduled for 8:XNUMX am, the heartbeat felt strange: the apparent arrhythmias, the exacerbated pulsing, as if the heart were trying to escape through the mouth. And the unavoidable fear of any tantrum victimizing us.

Once again, the apprehension with the amount of water we had drunk and the last-minute reinforcement of the liquid that, afterwards, our revolting heart was not enough, forced us to go to the bathroom two, three, four additional times.

In this amalgamation of emotions and apprehensions, we sleep little or nothing.

We wake up at 6:30 am, just in time to pack our backpacks for the walk and then for breakfast and Manang's last shopping.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka, shopping

Sara Wong and Josua buy yak cheese and other goods at a store in Manang.

Final Preparations and an Inevitable Carrier

We leave the Himalayan Singi hotel at 8am. On the way out, we found the porter we had hired the morning before. In principle, we were against using a charger as a mere facilitation of the effort required by the Annapurna Circuit.

We should, however, take into account that the photographic equipment we carried alone had more than half of the eight or nine kilos considered recommended.

Aware of the tragedy that took place in October 2014 in the Thorong La canyon and which we will cover in the episode dedicated to its crossing, we were also equipped with the warmest, -20º (and heaviest) sleeping bags that we planned to use if we saw each other there. retained by some weather.

Far from being inveterate mountaineers, we walked with too much weight, that was the reality.

We didn't count on the charger to carry us all the load or for the entirety of the journey that was missing. The idea was that it would only help us with the excess weight and only from Manang to Muktinath, especially when crossing Thorong La.

We wanted, by all means, to avoid giving up due to any hernial collapse of the back. In fact, it took us a week to try to prevent him with long stretching sessions at the end of each walk, and whenever we remembered to reinforce them.

Accordingly, we had planned for the porter to take us a backpack with that extra weight. We would carry the photographic equipment and, each one, his backpack with the nine, wherever it was ten or eleven kilos, considered safe.

The day before, in order to hire the porter's services, we simply asked in a hotel opposite ours if they knew anyone. To which the man on duty replied: “Get here. I have one here.” We follow him until we pass through a side door. Outside, we see an extension work on the building where four or five men and women worked.

The boy called one of the workers. He spoke to him for a few moments and introduced him.

Don. From Construction Worker to Annapurnas Sherpa in Five Minutes

His name was Don. He was by far the smallest of the workers we saw there. It would, in fact, have to be one of the smallest, smallest adult residents – let's call it what we like – of the manang city.

As easy as it was, we didn't want to give in to the temptation to turn his stature into a prejudice or cause for disquiet.

Don turned to clumsy English. He confirmed his availability for the next three days, we assumed that, at the expense of the construction work, he would earn much less than what we would pay him. Even if, by way of commission, the hotel for which he worked took part in it.

Let's return to the morning of departure. We salute Don.

We inform you that, before leaving Manang, we would stop at one or two shops and stalls in order to buy some more chemical heaters, providential against chilblains and burns, should the temperature drop in Thorong La, or if we saw each other there. in worse trouble.

When we hand him the backpack he was supposed to carry, Don can barely hide his surprise. It was normal for backpackers to share the expense with porters and, as such, pass them enormous volumes, weighing twenty and even thirty kilos.

Confronted with a pack a little more crowded than ours, Don looks around for the whereabouts of the remaining cargo. In vain.

Farewell to Manang and the Tracking of the Group on the Front

We closed the purchases. The group we've been following since Brakka (Braga) he had been gone for some time as we pointed to the far west of Manang.

The farewell to the city moves us to take some last photos of its streets, its people. A few residents say goodbye.

When we passed the Buddhist-Tibetan portico that blesses the village, the vision of its earthen houses towering above the flow of the Marsyangdi River caught us above all. We photograph it from different perspectives.

Finally, Manang became a blurred vision.

A Rocky Potato and a Game of Chess in the Middle of the Walk

At one point, we passed a group of peasants squatting in a parched, rocky field. We were surprised to find that they had already filled two large traditional Nepalese baskets with harvested potatoes.

Annapurna circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka, Buddhist prayer

Elder prays with a Buddhist prayer wheel at the edge of the path to Yak Kharka.

In the immediate vicinity, an old man dressed in modern feather costumes rotates a hands of prayer, sitting in the generous morning sun and watching the strangers walk towards Thorong La.

On the way out, the artefacts of the Buddhist-Tibetan faith of the Nepalese in these parts continued to abound: multicolored banners that waved in the wind, yak horns at the base of centuries-old stupas.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Yak horns serve as amulets when leaving Manang.

In its successive meanders on the half-slope, the Annapurna Parikrama Padmarga trail leads us to the second tea house on that stretch, already with a Chullu West Hotel in sight.

Right there, on a table placed on a propped extension of the path, a blond couple, looking from somewhere in northern Europe, played a game of chess, accompanied by the fetish drink of the Annapurna Circuit: ginger tea with honey.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

A pair of friendly walkers and chess players compete in an outdoor game.

We welcome you. We continued to recover from the lag we were having in relation to the group. And gaining a head start on Don who had stopped to greet a family on a previous deal, with the promise that he would soon catch up with us.

Finally, Group Joining and the Remaining Walk to Yak Kharka

We joined the group at the Chullu West Hotel in Gunsang village. We enjoyed part of your break, still with enough vigor to need to extend ours.

From then on, we were integrated into the platoon. Packed with delicious cavaqueira in English and Portuguese, the languages ​​most used by the two Brazilians, three Germans, one Turkish, one Spanish and one Italian, the members of the group.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Turkish hiker Fevsi crosses a suspension bridge from the route.

We crossed the first suspension bridge of the day, for a change no longer over the Marsyangdi River which, after more than a week of keeping us company, faithful to its course, left us.

On the other side of the bridge, a black writing on a polished stone proclaimed in English: “Buddha was born in Nepal, not in India!".

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Inscription on a polished stone claims the birth of Buddha in Nepal.

Minutes later, another one, this one, more signaling than claiming, indicated the way to the Tilicho Lake.

The Emblematic Passage through the Detour to Lake Tilicho

This lake located to the west of Manang, at almost 5.000 meters of altitude, is another of the magical places that usually uneasy walkers of the Annapurna Circuit.

It emerged more than once in the group's conversations, as a more remote and extreme acclimatization alternative than the Ice Lake and Milarepa Cave to which we all ascend from Brakka and Manang.

On each of these occasions, the incursion to Tilicho Lake was put aside. It was March.

Nepal's winter just faded away. The lake remained semi-frozen, surrounded by snowy slopes that the gradual rise in temperature made prone to avalanches that not even the native yaks would survive.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Yak rests against the grand backdrop of one of the Annapurnas' sharp peaks.

However, in that wide valley we were entering, between the bases of the great Annapurna III (7555m) and the Chullu East mountain (6584m) we could see almost nothing but snow on the far ridges to the south and north.

We continued towards our final destination, along a tributary of the Marsyangdi and up to Yak Kharka (4018m), without any problems.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Low-flow river slides from the highest lands of the Annapurnas.

Josh and Bruno, one of the Germans and one of the Brazilians in the group, had gone ahead and completed the 10km stretch half an hour earlier.

Entry into Yak Kharka and the Traditional Hotel that Welcoming Us

At around one in the afternoon, when we entered the village, the duo had already decided on the choice of rooms, so we limited ourselves to installing one of the humble rooms at the Thorong Peak Hotel.

With the stay resolved, we indulge in a pleasant and invigorating lunch. Belly full, sleepy, the group disperses. Some just sunbathe on the benches in front of the hotel.

We complete part of the almost obligatory stretching session and organize the clothes and photographic equipment for the missing route.

At the end of the afternoon, we all get together again for an acclimatization tour in the direction of Ledar, a village at 4219m. There were always two hundred extra meters above the 4.000m that, after the Ice Lake and Milarepa Cave, we were getting used to the organism again.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Hikers enjoy themselves on a hill in the vicinity of Yak Kharka.

By this time, Tatiana, one of the two German girls of Russian descent in the group, was beginning to complain of headaches and other still contained but classic symptoms of the group. mountain sickness. In her case, it was urgent to confirm that she was recovering for the next morning.

Until then, we were still immune to altitude but not the fear that it might hit us without warning.

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka, Knight

Guide prepares to ride on his way to Manang.

An Extension Almost Just Because Yes to neighboring Ledar

Thus, we walk towards Ledar, again with Annapurna III insinuating itself above two other vertices of lower slopes.

We pass by Himalayan View, a hotel removed from the strategic center of Yak Kharka that the sign at the entrance located in Upper Koche, in addition to enticing the most fatigued hikers to complete the horse route, in smudged English: “You can get horse to ride from hear to Leader Base Camp & Throng Top."

Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka

Collection of promotional signs upon arrival of Yak Kharka.

The sun soon left the valley. In the shade, beaten by an increasingly icy wind that made our faces ache, we anticipated the return to Yak Kharka's hotel.

As was the case every night, we sat around the salamander in the dining room, sharing the usual Nepalese snacks.

In the meantime, Don had reappeared. He lived with the Nepalese employees of the hotel. We realized he was drunk. Fully aware of how much alcohol generated and aggravated Altitude sickness, then yes, we feared for what this might represent in his ability to ascend and cross the Thorong La Gorge.

In his benefit, he had the benefit of having lived in the 3500 meters of Manang for a long time and, certainly being more than used to travel at higher altitudes, we supposed that, in a good part of them, with alcohol in the mix.

We didn't understand a word of the ethylic English that Don babbled to us.

To compensate, our hearts seemed to have always been right.

We felt fit enough to face the Yak Kharka – Thorong Pedi course that followed, as well as the supreme ascent to Thorong La.

Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a Chame, Nepal

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: 2nd - Chame to 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-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: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit - The Painful Acclimatization of Ice Lake

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.
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 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.
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.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Thorong La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, photo for posterity
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 13th: High camp - Thorong La - 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.
Music Theater and Exhibition Hall, Tbilisi, Georgia
Architecture & Design
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Ceremonies and Festivities

Defenders of Their Homelands

Even in times of peace, we detect military personnel everywhere. On duty, in cities, they fulfill routine missions that require rigor and patience.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Color Maneuvers
Seul, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
Martian Scenery of the White Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Vairocana Buddha, Todai ji Temple, Nara, Japan
Nara, Japan

The Colossal Cradle of the Japanese Buddhism

Nara has long since ceased to be the capital and its Todai-ji temple has been demoted. But the Great Hall remains the largest ancient wooden building in the world. And it houses the greatest bronze Vairocana Buddha.
Terra Nostra Park, Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
Vale das Furnas, São Miguel (Azores)

The Azorean Heat of Vale das Furnas

We were surprised, on the biggest island of the Azores, with a caldera cut by small farms, massive and deep to the point of sheltering two volcanoes, a huge lagoon and almost two thousand people from São Miguel. Few places in the archipelago are, at the same time, as grand and welcoming as the green and steaming Vale das Furnas.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Eternal Spring Shrine

Taroko George

Deep in Taiwan

In 1956, skeptical Taiwanese doubted that the initial 20km of Central Cross-Island Hwy was possible. The marble canyon that challenged it is today the most remarkable natural setting in Formosa.

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.
Viewpoint Viewpoint, Alexander Selkirk, on Skin Robinson Crusoe, Chile
Natural Parks
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Solovestsky Autumn
UNESCO World Heritage
Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Mother Island of the Gulag Archipelago

It hosted one of Russia's most powerful Orthodox religious domains, but Lenin and Stalin turned it into a gulag. With the fall of the USSR, Solovestky regains his peace and spirituality.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Balo Beach Crete, Greece, Balos Island
Balos a Seitan Limani, Crete, Greece

The Bathing Olympus of Chania

It's not just Chania, the centuries-old polis, steeped in Mediterranean history, in the far northeast of Crete that dazzles. Refreshing it and its residents and visitors, Balos, Stavros and Seitan have three of the most exuberant coastlines in Greece.

Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, , Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Devils Marbles, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path
Alice Springs to Darwin, Australia

Stuart Road, on its way to Australia's Top End

Do Red Center to the tropical Top End, the Stuart Highway road travels more than 1.500km lonely through Australia. Along this route, the Northern Territory radically changes its look but remains faithful to its rugged soul.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.