Where We Be
Chimang, with its picture-perfect, off-the-beaten-path location, was worth the steep detour (Day 17)
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal (Days 17-20)
Cute pup who came over to say hi
Picturesque meadow with stream near Chimang (between Marpha and Tukuche)
Snow-clad Dhaulagiri, seventh highest mountain in the world, rises up behind terraced rice fields

The last four days of our Circuit involved some of
the steepest descents and climbs of the entire
trek. We descended 1,300 m (4,200 ft) down to
Tatopani and its convivial hot springs only to climb
1,600 m (5,300 ft) back up to Ghorepani. Halfway
through this climb, we left the road behind for
good (hooray!). We count Ghorepani as the
endpoint of our Circuit because from there we
took a link trail to the Annapurna Sanctuary,
heading deep into the middle of the conservation
area instead of circling around the perimeter.

The highlight of this stage of our journey came on
the first day, when we took a steep detour to visit
the town of Chimang, perched on a hillside and
offering some of the best views of the trek. Snow-
clad Dhaulagiri rose up behind terraced green
rice fields, with Chimang nestled in the corner. At
the early morning hour we arrived, it was
breathtaking. Chimang itself was charming and
completely unspoiled by tourism. Just about
everyone we met called out a hearty “Namaste!”
and seemed genuinely surprised to see us. It was
nice to visit a town well off the beaten tourist path.
Chimang was completely unspoiled by tourism -- it was our most off-the-beaten-path experience of the whole trek
Temple in the distance framed by snowy mountains, on the way from Marpha to Kalopani (Day 17)
My "trekking beard" lasted for the 31 days of our trek, only to be shaved off by a barber with a straight-edge razor in Pokhara
We ventured off-road whenever a reasonably obvious shortcut presented itself, picking our way across the floodplain
We enjoyed walking along this flat, flagstone-paved section of trail near Kalopani, our destination for Day 17
At Kalopani Guest House, we got a magnificent room for 500 rupees ($7 US) with wood paneling, stone walls, carpeting, two beds with ultra-comfy mattresses,
an attached bath with tiled floor and hot shower, western toilet, and electric power (but still no heat), probably our most cushy room of the whole trek
At dinner they shoveled hot coals into brazures underneath the
large table, making it very warm indeed beneath the tablecloth
Lovely morning view looking back at the snow-clad mountains as we left the town of Kalopani on our way to Tatopani (Day 18)
We looked across the Kali Gandaki Gorge and saw this perfectly flat, sunny plateau sitting atop a sheer cliff; by some measures,
this is the world's deepest gorge, separating major peaks Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Annapurna (8091 m) to the east
Down, down, down for 4,200 feet, all along road, from Kalopani to Tatopani -- thankfully, this was our last day along the road
We took a lunch break with a splendid waterfall view
Profusion of red rhododendron flowers near Tatopani
Inviting stretch of trail between stone walls near Tatopani
Closeup of beautiful but thorny flowers draping the stone wall
Not my photo, but it perfectly captures the convivial nature of the hot springs at Tatopani, where we spent a relaxing afternoon
Small temple by the river on the morning of Day 19
We climbed steeply past terraced fields on a hazy morning towards the village of Shikha
I've really come to like Nepali farming villages with their terraces, domestic animals, barefoot children, and simple homes
Every single day of the trek we saw men and women carrying impossible loads up and down steep slopes
The norm in Nepal: steep stone staircases! (Start of Day 20)
Porters' rest stops like this one are placed strategically alongside steep sections of the trail
Don't mess with these chickens -- they look mean!
Each evening, women "herd" a hen and her chicks under these woven baskets -- a portable hen house!
Unusual trees on the way to Ghorepani (Day 20)
Almost every menu has amusing misspellings -- we particularly liked this one!
The area around Ghorepani was chock-full of rhododendrons in bloom in early April
Intricately carved Newari windows and doorways are an architectural
highlight when hiking through towns along the Annapurna Circuit