Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: Day 8 Dovan to Machhapuchhre Base Camp

Dovan to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC)

We had an early start as today we had a long walk, ascending all the way to MBC, going from Dovan at 2580m to MBC at 3700m. The early start was no hardship when we looked out and saw a glorious view of Machhapuchhre, showing its very distintive fish-tail shape from this angle.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

At Dovan the trail is high above the river with thick stands of bamboo blocking the view of the rushing Modi Khola and waterfalls on the other side of the river. The path crossed several small streams that flowed into the ravine.

We were reminded of the holy significance of the Annapurna Sanctuary by signs such as this one we passed.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

The path here is rocky and altogether more rugged than it has been previously. However, we were reminded that it is still the main route for everything being carried to the higher tea houes, when this guy passed us carrying three 5 metre long pipes!

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

The views were gorgeous and the steady climb didn’t feel too hard with such wonderful scenery all around. We continued up through the forest, stopping at the lodges at Himalaya Hotel for our morning tea and then further on past Hinko Cave, where the first expeditions to the Base Camp used to camp.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

From the cave we could see the lodges at Deurali, but they were still a fair way off, with more hiking through this landscape that is riven with landslides and avalanche tracks.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Unusually we met our porters at Deurali when we arrived for lunch. Most days they left as we were eating breakfast and we didn’t see them until we arrived at that evening’s accommodation. Neil snapped a photo of the young, chatty Saurab just before he left to continue his walk to MBC.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

After lunch at Deurali we climbed more steeply, the path weaving amongst boulders. As we left the forest behind the landscape became more rugged and the usual afternoon low cloud swept in creating a wild atmosphere. The cloud was not constant and we caught brief glimpses of Machhapuchhre and the neighbouring peak of Hiunchuli.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

We came upon MBC quite suddenly. One minute we were looking at a cloud-filled ravine, then we saw the buildings appear just in front of us. We got settled in for a cold and cloudy afternoon/evening, but were delighted when the clouds opened up later to reveal the Fishtail peak. Having seen this peak a few times the past week, it looked even more majestic close up and was particularly grand when illuminated by the setting sun.

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Annapurna Trek: Day 8 Dovan to MBC

Although the tea house had electricity, there was no heating in the lodge, except for the under-table gas burner and the temperature soon dropped when the sun went down.

More photos here on Flickr

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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