The Annapurna Trek, in Nepal, was on Tanya’s bucket list since long, and after a lot of thought and discussion, she decided to take it. She wanted to do it solo and unsupported. Tanya knew she was going to really have it hard, but that’s what she liked; to survive through hardship, there is some sort of a pleasure in it.
“I am not a mountaineer. I have neither done the mountaineering course, nor do belongs to the mountains. But I love the mountains and that’s all I knew – a kind of love that I have never felt before and will never feel again. Mountains drive me to be me. Mountains drive me to go above my nerve, every time!”
The Annapurna trek was scheduled in May 2016. As per the plan, she arrived at Kathmandu, spend a day there, prepared for the trek, and left the next day morning for Pokhara. The bus ride to Pokhara is almost 6-7-hour ride from Kathmandu. Reached Pokhara and decided to start the Annapurna trek the same day.
- Day 1: Australian Base Camp
- This was the beginning of the much-awaited Annapurna trek, and she knew she was going to walk for the next 8 days at-least. That thought was really scary. However, she decided to take each day, and not count the number of days. This was the first time Tanya trekked in the dark and was something new for her. But surprisingly, she wasn’t feeling scared at all. In fact, she was quite fascinated observing the species in the forests which were very different from her experience of trekking in India. Since the trek began from a low altitude, it seemed more like a tropical rain forest. In an hour and a half, she reached the Australian Base Camp – her first pit-stop. Found a pretty nice lodge and good food.
- Day 2: Landruk
- The morning was quite cloudy at the Australian Base Camp, with no one going further up. Clearly, it was going to rain. However, she was high on energy and she had to keep going. Just an hour short of Landruk, it started to rain. It was like a thunderstorm and everything she had including her shoes got completely drenched in the rain. She walked in them with water pumping out every time she took a step. When she reached Landruk she found all her clothes in the backpack were wet too. She took out everything and put it to dry. The sun showed up for a bit, and the rest was luck.
- Day 3: Chhomrong
- She woke up at 5:30 am and saw the first view of Annapurna Main. This was a longer and harder day. She was in good spirits, but her shoes were still wet. So, she decided to hike in her floaters. The altitude started increasing and the terrain started getting demanding. The never-ending climbs started to begin and then the descends and then the climb again. Tanya reached Jhinu by lunch and it was a clear uphill climb to Chhomrong, which she was scared of. But she did it like it was a cake walk. It wasn’t that hard or maybe, she was stronger. She had her backpack all this while. Her confidence got a real boost.
- Day 4: Himalaya
- It rained through the day and, it was the hardest one. The rain made the trail slippery. It was a constant climb and she was not in her best shape for some reason. The altitude kept increasing. It was cold and damp. The moisture levels were high and the wet things wouldn’t dry. Her shoes were still wet, and there did come a point where she thought she just couldn’t go any further. She was breaking down. But she just kept going, thinking that a miracle would happen and she would feel more energy. She made it to Himalaya, extremely tired and everything wet. Tanya immediately changed all her clothes and just crashed.
- Day 5: Annapurna Base Camp
- Tanya woke up to a bright sunny day and decided to take it easy and slow as the altitudes were increasing. So, she began walking quite early and made it to Deurali in 2 hours. The next stop was MBC( Machcha Pucchre Base Camp). As she kept walking, the view started getting so breath taking that it completely kept her distracted from everything else. Nothing else mattered anymore as she was coming closer to her love – the mountains and that is all that mattered.
- She stopped for lunch at MBC with a straight view of the Annapurna South and it was breath taking. Post lunch she started her Annapurna trek, the last leg. A dream was coming true, and within less than 2 hours, she was there! She had tears in her eyes – she made it! She made it in one piece, in spite of all odds. These moments of life are what you live for. She forgot how tired she was. Tanya dropped her bag and picked her camera and just left to click. It was magic! The night sky was clear and she saw the moon rise. It was a miracle!
- Day 6: Dovan
- Tanya had to leave The ABC next morning. She was happy that she survived the night there as many couldn’t. The morning was bright and sunny. But as she was about to cross Deurali, it started to rain again, and she had to stop before reaching Deurali. It rained heavily and continuously. Taking a stop was a good idea and she also decided to take some much-needed rest. So, all she did was sleep!
- Day 7: Jhinu
- Since walking back is not so much fun Tanya decided to break some trekking rules and plug in her ear phones. It was also a walk and talk with herself, on her life reflecting upon her personal and professional goals and decisions. While she was lost in thoughts she happened to peep back just to get an amazing sight of the Maccha Puchhre ( Fish Tail literally).
“Love yourself enough to be happy, and choose happiness, every day!”
- On that thought and with music, she had happily made it to Chhomrong. She was quite fast. Jhinu was an hour away and so were the hot water springs. She made a friend in between, and they travelled together. Those times are her favourite – strangers who become friends!
- Day 8: Siwai
- It was the last leg, and it was harder than she thought. Maybe, she knew in her head it was the last leg. She just wanted to get done now. Reached Siwai in a few hours and she was done. Finally! She made it to The ABC and was back in one piece. Tanya had decided to get to Pokhara and shower first, then just treat herself and celebrate her bucket list achievement victory.
“Solo travels give me a feeling of freedom that nothing else does, I feel stronger and more of a survivor. We live in a country with women living under various conditions and societal pressures and I don’t ever want to be bonded because I always have a choice, and that’s the choice I make for myself because I am all that I have.”
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