The wind was blowing really hard the whole afternoon. The prayer flags were waving out all those prayers over the valley and it’s always a special time watching it wave it’s colors. The owner of the lodge is “Lama” and he always had this smiling face every time he sees us. He is also the cook and we had really good meals at his lodge. It didn’t disappoint us when he brought two large bowls of tsampa porridge out for breakfast.
Tsampa porridge is like thick pudding. Some trekkers don’t like it because they think it tastes like paste but I think it tastes like a legume kind of pudding. It’s made from roasted barley and then grinded into flour. It’s delicious and very healthy. The macro nutrients in tsampa is very balance as I’ve done some extensive research about tsampa because I just love that stuff. It’s known to help hypothyroidism and good for hormonal balance. I think it’s really a good baby food and it’s a main staple in the Tibetan people.
It was another beautiful day and we’ve seen a few trekkers heading out the same way, on their way to Manang. There was one trekker with his good friend who was also a guide and they both started from Kathmandu as well. The only difference is that they rode the bus to Besi Sahar then a jeep up to Chame which was about 670 m difference. Usually, a safe acclimatization climb would be from 300 to max of 500 and anything more would be a high risk for AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). That’s a really big jump in altitude in one day! The guide told us that they will go slow and see how they feel as they go up.
We left with a full stomach, packed up and ready to tackle the day.
The trekking from Upper Pisang onward was absolutely breathtaking! Every single village was a beautiful display of what life is at the mountains in the sanctuary. We saw some old ruins or old brick homes that were used by locals and now abandoned. We climbed this big hill up to the Gompa or monastery with a lot of mani stones and stupas along the way. The Annapurna mountain was facing us with it’s greatness and we had a rush a few times seeing the mountains so big. We realized how vast the mountain range is at Annapurna. It’s incredibly breathtaking.
There was a really steep and snow filled downhill to Munchi village. There were so much patch of snow that it was hard to find the trail but we finally did. As we were heading down this steep descent, we saw a French couple asking us which way to Braka as the snow kinda messed up the trail. Doug helped navigated as I got stuck in this thorny plant trying to hang on so as not to slip in the steep descent. We all finally got down safely and the French couple decided to take lunch at the river below. We crossed over some yak herding fields and a creek leading towards a wider dirt road.
We finally made it to Munchi and sat down to assess how we are feeling. It’s about six hours of some rough trekking so right after we had our seabuckthorn juice, we decided to check into the only hotel in Munchi. We were met up with the owner and he showed us a couple of rooms. We took the room with the view, however it’s not in the sun so it can get very cold in the evening and morning. The owner nicely gave us some thick blankets and told us that if we needed additional blankets, we can just ask him for more. There is no room with attached toilet and the toilets are sub-standard. I am going to have to haul some water up stairs before we go to bed so we can flush the toilet. There is no electricity at all so we had to use our headlamps. Our room is on the second floor and the shower with “hot” water is in the ground floor. We ordered lunch and enjoyed the heat from the sun at least until sunset. I ordered Tibetan bread with garlic soup and Doug ordered dhal baht. Doug seems to have a big appetite because he always gets two servings of dhal baht each time he orders it. The garlic soup was fantastic! Each tea house have their own version and this tea house roasted the whole garlic then added it into the soup after. It was really delicious with the Tibetan bread. I also noticed that the Tibetan bread in Annapurna are less greasier than those in the Khumbu valley.
Seabuckthorn juice is a berry found in the Manang area and very common on the menu of tea houses. It is orange in color and tasted very much like apricot juice.
We walked up to the benches and tables at the roof top and enjoyed the views while watching the trekkers pass by to head to the next town called Barak. Munchi is a central connection between trekkers NATT trail and the main dirt road going all the way to Manang. Some trekkers prefer using the dirt road and some prefer the higher NATT route, so it all comes together leading to Manang from Muchi.
There is a lot of snow right now and the high lake that Doug wanted to go to is closed due to too much snow. According to the tea house owners, the Throlung Pass is open now after being closed after that last snow storm. This is why we don’t see much trekkers because of a lot of snow so the tea house owner in Nahdi was right! We saw a few trekkers head back down as we were going up and not sure why. Some trekkers are still going up and we hope that the pass is open as well as safe!