life on pine

annapurna photo journal: planning for a trek in nepal

Kate Parrish8 Comments

... that is truly as taxing as it is rewarding. for mountain & outdoor enthusiasts, in many ways the himalayas are the pinnacle. treks to basecamp in both the everest and annapurna region have become wildly popular in recent years – but due to timing we had to improvise and are glad we ended up on a lesser known trail. more specifics about our trek will be shared in the next post, but to start – here are some of our favorite photos from 7 days spent backpacking around the annapurna region. this land is spiritual and unique – it is hard to do it justice, but we hope our photos [and video] can help take you to this special place. 



D O  I  N E E D  A  S H E R P A? 
in our opinion, this is 100% a YES. guides are generally not expensive [ours was $25/day] and give you the opportunity to learn more about the region, have someone with you who speaks the language and knows the mountain, allowing you to change course whenever you want. we ended climbing over a snow covered ridge and slept in a small teahouse on a peak with only one other trekker... which was a refreshing change from the hundreds of people heading to annapurna basecamp (ABC). 

** three sisters is a great company to book through, as they promote female sherpas. we worked with kamala pun, who is an independent guide, and we would highly recommend her. 

W H A T  T I M E  O F  Y E A R  I S  B E S T ? 
we visited in winter [december – february] and experienced cool temps, sunny & clear skies and few crowds on the trail. we found this to be the perfect time of year for hiking anything below base camp. we did get snow as we climbed above 3,000M, but this made the views in every direction breathtaking. we also heard that early spring is beautiful to catch a lot of the flowers in bloom while the trail is still quieter before the summer season. based on the crowds we saw during the "off season" it seems like going during "peak season" would almost not be worth it. 

W H A T  G E A R  D O  I  N E E D ? 
** if you are not a big gear person, almost EVERYTHING is available for rent in pokhara or kathmandu. you can also buy gear for very very cheap [almost everything is knock-off]. when you're done with it, you can donate it or try to sell it to other trekkers if you don't want to bring it home. 

  • sleeping bag [the guest houses have blankets but, they're not that warm] – you can easily rent these 
  • cramp-ons [your sherpa may have or you can rent them] 
  • water purifier [our fav] & electrolyte tablets to stay extra hydrated 
  • instant coffee or tea – will save you a ton of money along the trail! 
  • healthy hiking snacks [bars, dried fruits, peanut butter, trail mix, etc] outside of a well-earned snickers,  there are not a ton of options available in the guest houses
  • travel shower towel & flip flops 
  • body wipes – sometimes i was way too cold to take a shower, these would have been a nice back up 
  • see our full list of gear here

H O W  M U C H  D O E S  I T  C O S T ?
we averaged about $25 a day for 2 people and were trying to stick to a budget. have plenty of cash! there is no way to get it once you're on the mountain. price break down: breakfast ($3/person), lunch ($4-7/person), dinner ($4-7/person), lodging ($4/person) & warm drinks like coffee or  tea (about $1/cup). this is all available on the mountain. 

D O  I  N E E D  T O  T R A I N ?
if you are a fit person, no. but the trek isn't easy by any means and there is a ton of uphill climbing as you would expect in the himalayas. as you get to higher altitudes, make sure to take it slow and drink a lot of water. we learned a tip from a nurse on the trek – 75mg aspirin tablets in your water twice/day to help with altitude sickness. yoga before and after in kathmandu really helped too.

H O W  M A N Y  D A Y S  D O  I  N E E D ?
we did our trek in 7 days and it felt like the perfect amount. any less, and you cant get up to high enough elevations, and that is honestly where the landscape holds true to the picturesque himalayan beauty. we met people who were hiking for 3-4 days, and unfortunately in that amount of time you are very rushed and can't get the true experience. anywhere from 7 – 15 days would be ideal. 

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