The weather continued to play hide and seek with heavy rains lashing in the night. For the first time in the trek I had difficulty in sleeping. Not sure whether it was due to rains or altitude. But to our relief, rains subsided in the morning.
|View from our hotel in Pisang|
It was a surprise when we looked outside from the windows of our room. The weather was clear. The white mountains of Annapurna massif all hidden from clouds until now were clearly visible. Also the mountains which we had seen in brown on previous day were covered with snow!!
We made a brief visit to Upper Pisang to savor some great views of Annapurna peaks.
The clouds had cleared to provide a straight and clear view of Swarga Dwar, a massive rock mountain of 5000 feet.
The most prominent peak in Pisang is the mountain that bears its name, the Pisang peak. At 20,000 feet, it stands apart from the surrounding area.
Our journey was slow thanks to numerous photo stops. It was simply not possible to walk faster without enjoying the views. The trail climbed to a forested ridge which provided great views of the Hongde area.
Imagine the feel when you see an airstrip after trekking for six days!! It was Hongde airport which provides an easy way to get in and out of Manang. At present, no flights land at Hongde for reason unknown to me.
While the Hongde airstrip was visible from the ridge, it took us nearly 90 minutes to walk down to Hongde village. Considering an airport, we expected a “posh” village but Hongde was just a collection of few small houses. We had to register ourselves at the Police check post here.
The walk from Hongde was pleasant with little gain in altitude. The views were excellent throughout the journey. We were awed by the beauty of Annapurna massif. The trek was becoming interesting with each minute.
|Me and Subbu|
We had our standard lunch of Dal bhaat at Mungji and then continued our walk. We walked next to Marsyandi River. The change in scenery was clearly seen. The dense forests we started six days earlier had given way to coniferous forest. Now as we neared Manang, the hills were all dry and brown. Only greenery we see was the shrubs and grasses that grew in the area.
We stayed at Marsyandi hotel in Manang. The rooms were provided for just Rs 100 which included hot shower and mobile charging with a condition that we need to dine in their restaurant!!
|Dry areas near Manang|
The first phase of the trek was over as we reached Manang. Though weather was not fully in our favor, the trek so far had been good. Altitude plays an important role in the coming days. We were now at 11,600 feet which required a day of acclimatization in Manang before we proceed to higher areas.