Like every other October that passes by, this one was filled with buzz and excitement too. The mountains were calling and I was ready to roll. Not everyone answers to the calls from the mountains – but no matter how much we want to deny the desire to travel, there is an element of curiosity in all of us. Join us on this amazing trek to Mardi Base Camp within the laps of Machapuchhre and Mardi Himal (Mountain).
A four-day trek that commenced with three people soon turned into eight people. As they say, you will find heaps of like-minded people while traveling and so did we. The three of us bid our farewell to Pokhara and left for Mardi. We began this exciting adventure from Kade. The steep trails from Kade to the Australian base camp hinted a subtle clue of the challenges, which lay ahead of us. With no luck at witnessing the mountains from the Australian base camp, we left for Pothana. We rested our boots, filled our bellies and exchanged our keen eye to travel.
Soon enough, we were on our way to Deurali. We had our moments of discussion just like every traveling group – whether to stay here or to continue until our next stop. With the clock showing only 2 pm, hungry for wanderlust, we continued to walk along the trail and moved towards Forest Camp. Little did we know it would take us more than 4 hours with no tea shops to stop by in between Deurali and Forest Camp. Despite the foggy weather, the two other familiar faces were all we could see. Not another human being was seen during the whole hike. Fortunately, I saw a deer but that too vanished quickly. With the moon slowly rising, lights fading and poor mobile signals, we still had not reached our destination but with cellphone’s flash lights, spirits of wanderer and our thoughts screaming “Are we ****ing lost?”, we reached the camp with a wonderful delight of finally seeing another human soul.
Morning sunshine hits, eyes burn, legs get all restless and heart aches just to see her. Before we knew it, we were already parting ways with Forest Camp. They say everyday is a new day. Subsequently, the foggy forest diminished on this brand new day and with an increase in altitude the flora beautifully sprung out among the trails. Much to our joy, within just 30 minutes of our walk, there she was, smiling. With that smile engraved in our hearts, we were on our way to Low Camp. A large open space, few tea houses and cottages, trekkers, porters and backpackers and gracefully smiling Mount Fishtail. We knew we had reached our destination. We rested our backs, sighed in relief and awe, made peace with our bellies, captured some photographs and before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes to Low Camp. The altitude continued to rise along with the frequently changing weather and cloud patterns.
We were lucky enough to witness a gorgeous Annapurna mountain range from “Badal Dada” shortly as it disappeared among the clouds just a few minutes later. I felt more than lucky to behold the view of Machapuchre floating in clouds even though it was for a short period. Continuing along the trail, leaving the forests behind, trekking up the steep mountain path with yellow grasses, clouds rumbling beneath us – I felt nothing as my heart was too busy smiling. With a couple of hours of blushing, we arrived at the High camp. The mountains were still being sneaky, still playing ‘peek a boo’ with us but by sunset, she decided to show up. There she was. Glowing. We didn’t leave until safety warned us about the decreasing temperature, which forced us to hop into our warm blankets.With the excitement of seeing her up close and dreaming about being in her arms the following day, we went to bed .
With the first rays of sunlight, she was there just as we left her last night, waiting. With a few bottles of water, snacks and spirits of the mountain, we were up and running. The higher you go, the trails become much more adventurous and challenging than you expect it to be. To be honest, the weak-hearted would definitely question themselves,“What the hell am I doing here?”“this is so my last trek if I ****ing return back safely”. And then a thought comes back knocking; It’s better to look back on life and say, “I cant believe I did that” than to look back and say; “I wish I did that”.
Knowing the mountains are with you every step of the way, right at your viewpoint, your heart blushes with pride and joy. I was having the time of my life watching the mountains, feeling the clouds, letting my soul and spirit fly high. In the laps of the Annapurna south, Himchuli, Mardi base camp, Machhapuchre – you feel infinite like never before. You get lost and the best part is that you don’t want to be found. In fact, you’d much rather be here, forever, being lost. One fine feeling that was. Furthermore, I was awestruck with the view of avalanche towards the south of Annapurna, adding another chapter in my stories to tell. The time had come. It was difficult but we had to separate from her.
My religion is mountain for it’s not man made. We communicate volumes through its silence. As we walked along the Mountains, listening to its silence and echoes of our inner selves, we parted. You think going up is hard but wait until you hit this trail. Try coming down from base to high camp through heights that make your heart shiver, you will find out how wrong were you.With a brimful of mountain love, smiling eyes and a bucket full of stories to tell, we departed from High camp. While returning, we trekked along a different route from Low camp to Pokhara via Ghalel and Shiding.
With every trail I trek through, a thought passes by “I am too old to have only seen THIS LITTLE of the world and too young not to go see it now.” So go out, travel, dream, dwell, discover. If you don’t, then I will and I know I am pretty good at making YOU jealous 😀 After all what is life but one GRAND ADVENTURE. JAY GHUMANTE…
Check out the Trek Video, don’t miss the avalanche!