Where We Be
A lone rhododendron on a steep hillside makes quite a colorful statement
Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal (Days 21-22)
Snowy mountains framed by rhododendrons -- a definite highlight of hiking in Nepal in April
We fully enjoyed our walk through the rhododendron forest
Between Ghorepani and Tadapani the rhododendrons were in full bloom and absolutely stunning
During these two days we crossed on a connecting
trail over to the Annapurna Sanctuary trail. This
entailed a lot of ups and downs: as soon as we
descended into a valley, we climbed right back up
the other side to a ridge, only to descend again,
only to climb again...well, you get the idea.

On the first day we descended for several hours
through a truly lovely stretch of rhododendron
forest -- the highlight of this leg of the trip. We
really hit the peak of the rhododendron bloom. Our
second day was every bit as up-and-downy as the
first. It can be a bit demoralizing to struggle to the
top of a ridge, huffing with the exertion, only to
lose all that elevation going right back down again.
But we persevered and eventually reached the
town of Chomrong, which should be dubbed "the
town of two thousand steps." The actual total is
something like 1,800 stone steps from the very top
of town to the river valley far below. Chomrong is a
lovely town -- one of our favorites -- and it is
something of a nexus on the Annapurna Sanctuary
trail. From here to the top of ABC (Annapurna Base
Camp) required another three hard days of hiking.
From this dramatic viewpoint near Ghorepani, a haze obscures the lower portions of the mountains so they appear to almost float in the heavens
Sunlight and haze make for an unusual image of high Himalayan peaks
Washed-out background, but a rare photo of the two of us!
We hiked under showy rhododendron blooms like these for several hours
All along the Annapurna trail are small teahouses like this one offering sustenance, from masala tea and dal bhat to Pringles, Snickers, and Cokes
One of the astonishing things about this trek is the huge changes in terrain -- from alpine to jungle in a day! (Day 22)
In 90 minutes we dropped 800 meters (over 2500 feet), then crossed a river and climbed right back up the other side
A rare sign pointing the way (that said, the trail is usually quite obvious)
Do we have to?
A young kid stands on the back of one of its elders to reach a green shoot
A dark storm moves down the valley, bringing heavy rain before moving on
We descended stairs into "middle Chomrong" to arrive at Chomrong Cottage, our home away from home both on the way up to ABC and on the way back
Robin enjoys a hot pot of masala tea on the patio at Chomrong Cottage, one of our favorite lodges of the trip
We dreamed about this chocolate cake! As we hiked up to ABC, we talked about getting to have it again on our return to Chomrong.
We became friends with the wonderful owner (left) and the cook's daughter who served us food (right)
Looking back up the stairs at Chomrong Cottage as we descend to the river valley some 1,000 steps below -- knowing
all along we'll have to climb back up this same interminable staircase on our return ("But hey, there's chocolate cake!")
And down we go! Of course we had to gain it all back up again before reaching Tadapani (Day 21)
On the way to Chomrong, we descended through terraced fields, actually passing right through the patios of some farmsteads
Pringles, Snickers, Cokes, Mars Bars -- boy, have they got our number!