Annapurna Base Camp Trek: If I Can Do It, So Can You! (Part 2)

Playing in the snow in Chandanwari
Demystifying the How Safe is Kashmir Question!
March 14, 2018
offbeat places to visit in kashmir tangdhar
Looking for Offbeat Places to Visit in Kashmir? Checkout Tangdhar in Kupwara!
September 5, 2018
annapurna base camp trek

That trekker in all black and a green backpack! :D

When I was trekking in Nepal, I knew for a fact that I am doing this to look good back home. You know how childish we can be with our motives. I wanted to snag some respect amongst peers and look cool. Fast forward two years from my Annapurna Base camp trek, it sounds obnoxious even to me but it was my driving force back then. Travel evolves you and makes you realize that the only person you please by doing all of this is yourself and no one else.

In the World of Fakes, I am Trying to Keep It Real



Now if you read the first part of my journey (read it here), you remember that I was lost and 5000 steps down on the first day itself. Sunset in mountains, especially in late November, happens early, which means I am racing against time. Unlike other western trekkers, I am least prepared to be on the trail. My bag was a fake North Face rented from Pokhara that gave little to no support to my back; I had no headlamp that could have illuminated the trail in the darkness, and literally no energy left to go anywhere but forward. Besides, if I can lose my way in broad daylight, I sure as hell don't trust myself in the darkness. With these pleasant thoughts brewing in my head, I sat heavy in the middle of the trail. But then I realized, the more I sat and contemplated, the more time I will waste. So I got up, brushed off and decided to get going. As I was going up, I counted the hairpin turns on the map to know how much more I have to go up before I can go down again.
“Tip: When you are trekking for days, don't micro-manage the distance. If you are tired, stop. Take sometime to catch your breath. Slow and steady progress is still a progress. I know that now, but back then I was a wreck.”
So I kept charging on. Just 30 minutes of slow walking brought me to a teashop. I was so happy to see the place that I didn’t feel the pain in my legs anymore. I went up to it looking for help. But not only was that shop empty, but there were two ways from there to Chommrong. Can this day get any worse? I sat there again, thinking which way to take. By the way, did I tell you that by this time my phone had conked off too? Yea, talk about “when it rains, it pours.” By now the sun had set behind the tall mountains and the last remaining rays lit up the sky just enough for me to see the trail. I was losing my shit. Getting lost that day was just half of the problem, finding Kailey was the other half. All I had was a maximum 40-45 minutes before it got completely dark and just then a miracle happened.

The Happy Reunion


A group of trekkers from UK came from behind and I joined them without wasting a second. They took a trail that went downhill. I went along with them. A father-daughter duo was a part of this group but they were from Spain. The daughter was obviously very fast but her father was old and slow so I matched my pace with him. They were kind enough to let me trek with them till Chommrong. Within 35 minutes, I was at the base of the village with other set of 500 stone steps ahead of me. I quickly went up as my lungs were bursting at the seams. Now even though I arrived at the village, I still had to find Kailey (the Canadian trekker with whom I began my journey).

I stood at the village entrance and for a minute forgot about my worries as I turned around to see where I came from, the orange sunrays painting the sky. But now it was 80% dark and I still had no clue where to go. Just then, on an instinct, I remembered earlier from the day that we met an Australian couple who said that they will be staying at Aparna Guesthouse in Chommrong. I thought, well if I can’t find Kailey, I can at least find the couple! I took a call of judgment and asked a few people around for the directions. They told me it was 1km from where I stood. I cursed under my breath and started walking in the direction they pointed to me. As I walked through the dark paths with no lights, my fear was almost palpable. Just then I see stone steps going down and the guesthouse I was looking for. As I got excited and began racing down the steps, I saw Kailey, the Australian couple, and their guide, Neema, shaking their hands at me vigorously! Eureka, I reunited with my friends from the trail and it was the happiest day of my life.

As I got there, they burst into clapping and welcomed me with a cheer. It felt like I had reached the finished line. It was still Day 2 and 6500 steps by now! I told them my tale of being lost and also realized that I lost the only jacket I had brought with me on the trail. I wanted to forget all of that and soak the last view of the mountains in front of me before it became completely dark. I sat staring at the mountains that I was chasing all this day, taking sips of rum that I have been carrying around with me from Pokhara. This was my instant fix in the freezing cold minus the jacket. I broke away from the reverie as they all started joking and laughing at my day’s adventures! And then arrived a piping hot thali of Dal Bhat, the wonder food that will keep me going for the next 7 days.

Tip: Dal Bhat may be expensive as you get higher, but they give you unlimited servings. It does complete justice to the money you pay because the food is always so amazing. There are obviously plenty of other options from pizzas to burgers to what-not. But I strictly recommend Dal Bhat for its blissful taste and satiating quality!


After chilling for about an hour or two from the time I came staggering into the guesthouse, we were ready to call it a night. I slept like a child and welcomed day 3 with as much excitement as trepidation.
“Dal Bhat power, 24 hour :D”

Chommrong to Bamboo


To avoid the incident that happened last night, Kailey and I decided that she will walk ahead of me, reach the next village, and stop at the first guesthouse until I arrive. Luckily, we both had an amazing understanding like that. She looked out for me the whole time and also told people on the trail to keep an eye out for me. Sometimes it was funny because a lot of people would show signs of recognition when I told them my name
“Aah! You are Kanika, the trekker in all black and a green backpack!” That was always hilarious and a great icebreaker.”
Day 3 started with more excitement. I thought that the worst is over, but naturally it wasn’t. With every passing hour, the trail became steeper, unrelenting, and longer. But by now, I had got my rhythm. Rather than feeling despondent, I took it nice and slow. I took fewer stops and tried to train my body for tougher days by walking more. On Day 3, we had to go up a village and go down another that was largely uneventful. I remember walking alone in the forest, feeling stronger and more confident about myself. I sang loudly and talked to the birds, enjoying the isolation. After about two hours of walking apart, I saw Kailey sitting at the fork on the trail. She was waiting for me, fearing I’ll somehow take the wrong trail again. She doesn’t trust me anymore (haha).

We started trekking up again and decided to break for lunch. It was a beautiful place with a clear view of Mount Fishtail (Machapuchre). This is the first time I could see the Annapurna range appearing closer. It felt strangely nice because it was a tough journey so far. I had some hot chocolate, a snickers bar and some nuts. This became my lunch on the trail for the remaining days. I realized that if I ate too much, I got lazy and found it hard to walk. Anyway, it was 2 PM by now and we decided to make haste. Kailey likes to walk fast and I like to take it slow. From here we decided to meet next at Bamboo.

As I reached Bamboo, sure enough Kailey was sitting at the guesthouse entrance and she already had the room situation figured. God bless her soul!

Tip: When you are trekking in Nepal, especially popular trails like Annapurna Basecamp and Everest basecamp, there are times when you may not find accommodation. Mostly people have guides who call ahead and book a place for their clients. This mostly happens during rush season. I was trekking there in late November and still the trail was quite crowded. Luckily for me, Kailey was always ahead and found us a spot long before I arrived, as was the case in Bamboo.

It is funny how difficult day 2 was and how relatively simpler day 3 became. I was able to handle most of my worries confidently, relying on locals for help a lot of times. We spoke the common tongue so it was always easy to start talking to them.

My Magic Potion was a Big hit

As I reached Bamboo, I quickly washed up and went to the communal area for some hot tea. I was warming up to my cup when a bunch of trekkers entered the common room.
I loved this part after the day’s trek, when you sit with other trekkers and talk about your experience from that day. I still had some rum remaining from yesterday so I poured it in my cup of ginger, lemon, honey tea. Me and my friends drank this when we were travelling through the mad cold of Spiti. It worked like a charm in bringing instant warmth and became a drink for our soul! A British guy saw me doing this and asked me for a swig. I gladly shared my tonic and he loved it! Soon everyone was drinking my magic potion. My rum spiked ginger, lemon, honey tea became an instant hit!

I was excited to check my step count for the day and was happy to see that I have outdone my fear. I had not only trekked close to 10kms that day but also climbed about 4000 steps adding to my total of 6500 from yesterday! Can you imagine doing this in your city lives? This can only happen on the mountains where the air may be thin but its clean.

You may be falling apart at each step but people only help you become better each day! I met a Belgian woman and the only Indian guy on this trail who changed the way I trek. We shall talk more about this in part 3 of this blog!

Meanwhile, tell me if you have you ever trekked in the altitude. Share your blog links, if any, in the comments for me to read your experiences!
Kanika Gupta
Kanika Gupta
I find beauty in all things natural, mountains are my soul and adventure is my passion. I hate being stagnant and my mind feeds on problems. I travel because I believe that change is the only constant in this universe. So embrace it, love it and celebrate it!

44 Comments

  1. Paola says:

    Looks beautiful! I would live to experiwnce it one day

  2. Maike says:

    Wow, this is so interesting to read. It sounds like a hard but amazing experience. Your pictures capture the landscape perfectly. So beautiful!

  3. The mountains and your photos are so beautiful and tranquil. I applaud your journey.

  4. Joy Generoso says:

    I’m not a trekker but I commend you for making it. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience. Keep doing what you love!

  5. Mohana Das says:

    Power to you girl! I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to trek the Annapurna Trail but I can almost experience it through your beautiful writing and photography.

  6. Sarah says:

    Wow!! What an adventure! Kudos to you for taking each step even when it felt futile. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

    – Sarah @ http://www.our21stcenturyodyssey.com

  7. Annalisa F says:

    I appreciate you shared that you started travelling to impress others and after a while, your travels totally shaped your mind and made you understand how great it is to do it for yourself! Travelling healed me too, and trekking in the Himalayas as you did (but in different locations) was such a challenge! I’ve got nice a backpack now, but when I look at the photos with the crappy fake backpack I feel proud of myself 🙂

  8. It is such an incredible & wonderful experience for you ! Trekking several hours a day on high altitude to reach the base camp of Annapurna is probably not an easy feat for a regular individual. I guess it is important that you are physically and mentally-prepared for this journey. Gorgeous photos 🙂

  9. I absolutely want to do this trek! I’ll admit, I have definitely felt that way before, even on a tough day hike. But it is always worth it! And finding your friends again definitely helps.

  10. Jade Shannon says:

    This is something I really want to do – its huge on my bucket list. Good for you for pushing through!!

  11. Katie says:

    I don’t think i could ever trek this, it just sounds like it is way too much. Plus i am terrified of steepness. This always puts me off trekking. Well done to you for doing this!

  12. Harrjsh says:

    I’ve always wanted to see everest as well. Hope I can do it in the future :). It looks amazing!!

  13. Bobohaha says:

    you are so brave!!! seems like you were doing a solo travel. I like doing a solo travel but definitely not for hiking alone. All the best!

  14. Lord says:

    Absolutely beautiful views! I’m sure it would be really worth the climb. This post has inspired me to go trekking! <3

  15. Julia says:

    Well, you certainly gained my admiration for doing this journey:) I myself I’m not much of a trekker, one day during Spring in the mountains is the best I can do.
    However I think nature can only be enjoyed if you go right to the heart of it and experience it fully. What you did I think is really close to a full experience of a nature. Of course, it comes with risks maybe, and you need to be very conscious of your limits. What’s next on the list? 🙂

    • Kanika Gupta says:

      Thank you Julia! I am currently exploring the length and breadth of Kashmir and loving every second of it! It is such an incredible place with so much to do. Thanks for reading my blog. Your comment made my day 🙂

  16. Aha, this looks like a wonderful trek to hike!

  17. Catherine says:

    Wow, those views are absolutely incredible! Definitely worth the exhaustion of hiking/trekking!

  18. Heather says:

    Nepal seems like such a magical, untouched place that is not visited often. I might be wrong, but that’s what makes this place so interesting to me. Love the photos, thanks for sharing your adventure!

  19. Vesna says:

    Amazing photography and great tips all the way. Enjoyed reading the post, thank you for sharing.

  20. Nele says:

    Such beautiful pictures! Definitely worth the track!

  21. queenie says:

    I loved reading your post! It must have been so hard at the time but when you think back on it, you feel so accomplished! I have never hiked this trail but last year I hiked Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia and its over 4000m high in altitude. Going up was hard because some parts were just straight up. But I had the most difficulties coming back down – my knee didn’t want anything to do with hiking after a few hours! ha! But I can still say it was one of the best experiences in my life! Thank you for sharing and definitely inspired to do this trail too! 🙂

  22. Wow! You inspire me. I always wanted to do a hike or a trek, but have always been super intimidated like this. Thank you for inspiring me that i too can do it!

  23. Sometimes the most challenging travel experiences are the ones that teach us the most. Your perspective not only gave you a vantage for incredible photos but also for self-reflection. That is what travel is all about.

  24. Kylie says:

    Wow, it looks like an amazing journey! I think I would have cried if I saw a tea shop and then found it to be shut!

  25. Christina says:

    You really tip for slow and steady is helpful as we are going hiking to Machu Picchu in 2 weeks. That is awesome that you were able to remember where they were staying and that you happened across that family hiking. The photos you captured along the way are amazing. A really inspiring story.

  26. Mateja says:

    Such a beautiful read and storytelling about your adventures in Nepal. Love your photos as well. Hope to be able to do the trek in the future, that would be a dream come true <3

  27. Federica says:

    I have read the first part of your adventure and was looking forward for the second. I am not an adventurous person and I don’t do trekking. Said that your posts are enchanting and rich of beautiful photos. Thanks for bringing me in a place I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise

  28. Richa says:

    Annapurna Base Camp is something I’ve been dreaming of doing forever. Reading your story does give me hope that I can do it 🙂 Do you not have to take a guide with you to the base camp? I did not know this can be done by yourself.

  29. Kristina says:

    Oh my goooosh these pictures! They are simply stunning. This was really inspirational actually.

  30. Bushra says:

    Very beautiful views and interested post. I enjoyed the reading

  31. Sergio says:

    I’m actually planning on taking this on solo come October! Geared up! I cannot wait! Loved this read. Great work.

  32. Indu says:

    Your blog comes to me at a time when m itching to travel. Very nicely written and nice pics. It transports you to those places atleast for a brief moment. Waiting for the 3rd part.

  33. Mahesh says:

    What is the cost of dal bhat in Annapurna.? don’t laugh but it’s require to me . I am just asking because I am setting my trip about budget.
    I read your experience it was amazing.if you possible please can you share Annapurna circuit trail map.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *