Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

We retraced the trail we had taken five days earlier coming from Chomrong. This part of the trek involved numerous sections with steps, which are equally relentless in either direction as there isn’t much difference in elevation between Chomrong and Bamboo. However it was a lovely day and was an interesting walk, passing through both rain forest, then agricultural land with farms, and people at work.

Our porters about to set off ahead of us
Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

With being autumn we saw crops which had been newly harvested and they were being sorted, dried and getting ready for storage – even if we didn’t always know what the crops were!

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

From Sunuwa where we stopped for morning tea, we could see Chromrong straight across the valley, but we had to descend to the suspension bridge over the Chromrong Khola then climb back up several hundred metres.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

We stopped at the tea house at Chomrong which we had stayed in overnight several days ago. Here we picked up the spare clothing and laundry which many of us had left behind to lighten the load for our porters. The porters had waited for us here and we repacked out kit bags.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

From Chomrong it was a steep descent down to the Mhodi Khola valley and to our tea house at Jhinu Danda.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

My first impression of the Jhinu Danda was it was bright, brash and busy. So different to the bleak, but majestic, isolation of two days before at ABC.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Jhnu Danda, for all its business, had one very big positive – the local natural hot springs! As soon as we’d sorted our rooms, six of our group grabbed our bathing suits, towels and soap, etc and headed down to the springs. The springs were about 20 minutes walk down from the village and were wonderful. The ‘changing rooms’ were a very basic metal hut, while the spring water was diverted into three small pools built from stone slabs and concrete. Basic, but wonderful! The water was hot and we were delighted at being able to bathe in an unending supply of hot water. Our guides and porters also made use of the facilities.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

After our meal, our leader Keshar invited the porters to join us and we thanked then all (and gave them tips) for their hard work for the past two weeks. Also our three assistants, who had done a brilliant job at keeping the group together, while making sure we all were able to walk at a pace that felt comfortable to each of us.

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

This was followed by general merriment as Keshar produced one of the local drums. One of the porters played while several of us trekkers and porters gave it a whirl on the dance floor!

Annapurna Trek: Day 11 Bamboo to Jhinu Danda

More photos here on Flickr

Advertisements

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

The next morning we woke to intermittent views of the mountains from the terrace of the tea house. The cloud was swirling around the cloud forest on the slopes, alternatively revealing and hiding the snow-capped high tops.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

From our tea house at the upper end of Chomrong Village, the trail descended the long stone staircase through the village, passing the German Bread Bakery, with its impressed window display of cakes and on to the wholesale shop which sells virtually everything. This is one of these ‘last-chance-to-buy’ places, so it is THE place to stock up before going any further up the valley towards the sanctuary. I resisted buying any chocolate biscuits since I was still carrying my ’emergency’ power gels, muesli bars, and Kendal Mint Cake, packed in case I got a stomach upset and was off my food. So far, so good.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

After the long descent we crossed the suspension bridge over the Chomrong Khola. Like many other suspension bridges in the area this bridge was funded by the British Gurkhas.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Of course, with dropping down to the river, we than had more ascent up through more small farms.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

The path passed through jungle of oak, hemlock and rhododendron trees.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

After lunch we climbed out of the side valley to re-enter the main Modi Khola Valley, where we followed a rocky path through the bamboo forests to Bamboo Lodge. This bamboo is cut extensively to make
‘dokos’ – the carrying baskets as used by some porters – and woven mats for floors and roofing.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Although we were getting near the upper reaches of the river with fewer villages, the path was still busy with trekkers and porters. The porters were carrying bags for the trekkers, but they were also busy carrying supplies to the tea houses. Everything from food to gas cylinders had to be carried in on someone’s back.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

At 2505m we reached Dovan,a clearing in the forest where there are several teahouses. Our tea house was perched on the edge of the steep-sided valley with the constant background music of a waterfall crashing hundreds of metres down to the Modi Khola.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

The usual afternoon cloud descended over the big mountains, but we again got intermittent glimpses of Machhapuchchhre.

Annapurna Trek: Day 7 Chomrong to Dovan

We took the opportunity for one last hot shower for a few days as the facilities lessen the further up you go. Also it was getting to the point where we didn’t want to remove clothes to shower anyway as it was cold. A quick change of clothes and Wet wipes were sufficent at this stage!

More photos here on Flickr

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

After our very early start the previous day, this morning we had a bit of a lie in. However I was awake before the guides arrived with my tea and as soon as I’d finished that I went out on to the grassy terrace to do a short yoga session. It was warm enough for my bare feet today and it was a most wonderful setting for this. I performed Sun Salutations facing the early morning sun and the 8000m mountains. Wonderful!

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Our daily routine involved packing our kit bags before breakfast, so the porters could sort the bags and get them ready for carrying as soon as they had eaten. We had been asked to keep our luggage to 10kg or less and the porters carried two bags each, plus what else they carried for themselves. The porters usually walked straight through the morning to an early lucnh break, then arrived at the overnight stop several hours before us.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

The walk today involved a long descent through the forests and farmland to the Kyumnu Khola, a tributary of the Modi Khola. We could see the river from very early in the walk as we looked down the steep-sided valley.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

We passed scattered farms with the narrowest of terraces where crops had recently been harvested. The corn was strung up to dry outside the houses. By hanging the corm in a place visible from the paths, they was also as a show of wealth.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

When we we still a hundred metres or more above the river we could see shepherds rounding up a large number of sheep and leading them down the opposite hillside. They were guided towards the suspension bridge and driven across.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

We too eventually reached the bridge over the Kyumnu Khola and from here we had a steep ascent up to Chomrong, at 2,170m, another Gurung village and the last permanent settlement in the valley.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

On the way we paid a visit to a local school, Shree Ghurjung Primary School. This school has been supported by trekkers from Exodus for a few years and Keshar, our leader, is well known to the staff. This is a government funded school. but the funding doesn’t cover all the teachers’ salaries. The donations are used to fund two extra teachers. Also, all other costs are expected to be covered by the village families; meaning libraries and books are extremely scarce.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

The school consisted of 4 very basic classrooms for the 4 classes of children from nursery to about age 12. I was surprised to see the condition of the classrooms; they were just bare stone walls, open windows with no glass, and cold and dark, but the children appeared to be working hard.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

The nursery teacher told me she had her own baby with her

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Continuing our ascent from the valley we passed more farms with various crops spread out to dry.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Memorial decorated with prayer flags and dried flowers

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Keshar had also arranged for us to visit a house in one of the villages we passed through. He gave us a brief explanation of some of the daily rituals, and we were invited inside for a brief look. He explained that many of the families in the rural villages live in extended family units. One of the duties of the daughters-in-law is to re-grout the stone terrace, every morning, with yak dung mixed with water.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

According to our trip notes: “From Chomrong we have good views again of Annapurna South”. When we arrived the views were obscured by the cloud, but we had brief tantalizing glimpses of the mountains over the next hour or so when the clouds blew about.

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

Annapurna Trek: Day 6 Chuili to Chomrong

See more photos from this day in my Flickr album.