Trekking Experience of Carlijn to Annapurna Base Camp

Trekking Experience of Carlijn to Annapurna Base Camp

Just back from a six-day trek, in which I survived in nature. More than a week ago I left by bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. A nine-hour bus ride that I can best describe as follows: at the end of the ride I felt like a beaten banana milkshake as if all my limbs had been pushed to the wrong place by all the bumbling over the largely unpaved, and occasionally even collapsed roads. 
Still, I enjoyed the bus ride, I finally went to see more of Nepal. We drove through mountain scenery, along with huge rivers and past rice fields. We passed through very small dusty villages and then continued driving through the wild nature. The bus ride was absolutely beautiful!

Then I did a six-day trek with Lhakpa, the guide with whom I did the trek. In those days we practiced many Nepalese together and I had a wonderful time. Where the time went so fast in Kathmandu, with always busy days that kept following each other, I experienced the country and nature even more intensively here. I enjoyed Kathmandu and lived every day, always having fun. But here between the big mountains I really found peace and time for myself. I feel stronger and even though the trek was occasionally really heavy and spicy (word joke because you eat a lot of peppers). I felt myself becoming one with nature and that gave me a power that actually is incomparable. The trek was beautiful and I know for sure when I come back to Nepal I will make another trek. Preferably to Everest Basecamp. It seems indescribable to stand at the foot of the largest mountain in the world, especially since the Annapurna mountains have already made such an impression on me. Can’t wait to come back to Nepal! One thing that I keep in mind, I’m not making the next trek in the rainy season. 

Along the way we often encountered other trekkers, who also walked with a guide. Especially because we are walking in the rainy season, for example, some roads have almost completely disappeared due to the rain, the weather is very unpredictable, and first aid is sometimes three days’ walk away. This is the reason why they recommend to really go with a guide. It was also very nice for me. Lhakpa has been a guide for more than 26 years. The people on the road are like his family to him. We eat in the nicest mountain villages with friends, the owners of the guesthouses, all know him and he also has a chat with many of the guides along the way. I do my very best to follow the conversations between Lhakpa and the other guide. It is difficult, but I start to pick up words or sometimes even sentences. Because Lhakpa is going to talk to the guide, I often get into a conversation with the hikers of the other guide. I enjoy listening to the stories of others during such a walk. I am very curious about Nepalese culture, but I also like to hear where the other travelers come from and how things are arranged in their country. One time I was suddenly talking to two women from Spain about the influence on Gibraltar’s economy if the Brexit goes ahead, another time I was talking to a young lawyer from Portugal about the refugee issue. Topics that I am also very concerned within the Netherlands, but I realized how cool it is to suddenly hear the opinion of someone from another country, who has a different view on this issue. I often get into a conversation with the trekkers of the other guide. I enjoy listening to the stories of others during such a walk. I am very curious about Nepalese culture, but I also like to hear where the other travelers come from and how things are arranged in their country.  

Very funny that I actually only think about now. I was over my language bump. I would like to take a trip back in time for the explanation of my language bump. Before my trip my level of English was dramatic. I’m quite a perfectionist by myself, so if I don’t actually speak a language yet, I always avoid speaking it so that I don’t have to make mistakes. The first three days of Nepal were therefore quite tough. I really had trouble finding the right words and making myself understood. Most of the time I spoke in half sign language and I threw through my sentences in German, French and sometimes even Latin words to express myself. After three days, however, I had almost crossed that threshold. Totally surprised about my own abilities, as if it had been turned on, the English words came out of my mouth fluently. I no longer had to think again, but I spoke fluent sentences. Then, of course, I started with the Nepalese language lessons. I never thought I could ever learn a foreign Asian language. However, it appears to be a matter of not thinking and doing! So during the trek, I dared to speak Nepali words and to have entire conversations in English. Something in me made that I could let go of perfectionism and just dare to talk. Because of this, I was over my entire language bump. Along the way, I met four German boys with whom I started to speak in German. I then helped an elderly French couple translate a problem they had along the way with the guide who only spoke English. I told in French that I have family living in northern France and for me, they wanted to speak a bit slower than the normal French-speaking pace so I could just understand them! Then I came across two Spanish ladies from Catalonia. I said: buonos dias, commo estas? ”They were super happy that I spoke to them in Spanish, they started a story back in Spanish. To which I laughed and told them that I don’t speak Spanish at all. The only thing I can do is sing “head, shoulders, knee and toe” in Spanish. I tried to explain, but they didn’t quite understand. That’s why I decided to just sing it. At that time they understood that I meant that I did not speak any Spanish, and they happily participated with “head, shoulders, knee, and toe”!

The first three days of my trek everyone walked the same route. It was the Poon Hill trek, to the viewpoint of 3200 meters. On day three, you would get up at four o’clock and walk a long way up to see the view at sunrise. The nice thing about this was that you always saw everyone who started on the same day back en route. You always greet each other as you pass and Lhakpa and I always said, “Hello see you on the road again.”

On the fourth morning we left the village on the left. While all other travelers actually left the opposite side of the village. They all walked to Gandruk and from there they went back to Pokhara by jeep. At that moment I was only halfway through my journey and from that moment I went to Annapurna Basecamp. Before we took the mountain path best friend of Lhakpa came out. He came from a guest house with a breakfast room full of windows on all sides, so that we could see everyone who was still eating breakfast at the time. We said goodbye to the friend because from here he would go to Gandruk with the two Catalan girls. When we walked past the breakfast room the two Catalan girls stood and waved at me. Suddenly everyone went inside and waved. I recognized almost all the people who were inside the last few days. Even though I felt that pulling was also quite alone, this was a moment when I realized how many friends I had made along the way. I saw the four German boys, the Portuguese lawyer and the old French couple. Where the French woman waved to me, moved, like grandma can do. I got a lump in my throat, but waved back enthusiastically. The feeling that happened to me then was a wave of warmth. This is one of the nicest moments in my trek! like grandma’s can. I got a lump in my throat, but waved back enthusiastically. The feeling that happened to me then was a wave of warmth. This is one of the nicest moments in my trek! like grandma’s can. I got a lump in my throat, but waved back enthusiastically. The feeling that happened to me then was a wave of warmth. This is one of the nicest moments in my trek!

The last three days were heavy. Along the way we hardly met any more people and the weather was getting worse. We walked all day in the rain and clouds everywhere, just zero views of the beautiful mountains that apparently really had to be around me. My bond with Lhakpa, however, became very strong. Lhakpa is really like a brother to me! We had a lot of conversations, we made many jokes and taught each other songs. If I come back to Nepal again, the first one I would like to see is Lhakpa! 

The trek was a very special and beautiful experience for me and I can recommend it to everyone !!!

Certifications & Affiliations

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Registered with: Company Registration Office, Government of Nepal

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Licensed by: Nepal Tourism Board & Department of Tourism

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Proud Member of Trekking Agency's Association of Nepal

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General Member of Nepal Mountaineering Association