Distance covered: 22km
Our plan was to adapt the next 3 days of our itinerary to fit into 2 days. This would mean a lot of long days. Today was our first. Germu to Dharapani, this is two little villages after Tal, the usual stopover for most trekkers doing Annapurna Circuit.
We had ordered our breakfast for 7am st The Rainbow Lodge. I had woke up wide awake at 12:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I thought my sleeping liner would be warm enough, as it wasn’t too cold at Germu, but I ended up getting my sleeping bag and using it as a blanket. Blankets were not provided.
We set off at around 8:15am heading down the stone steps to the metal footbridge across to Syange. The trail had us following the road again for the best part of the day. The sun was zapping our energy as the afternoon arose. Hiking in the heat, up, down, up, down, for hours was difficult. Along the trail we were surrounded by iridescent twinkling lumps of granite, it was a beautiful sight for weary eyes.
We stopped at Sattale for some tea and Momos. By now it was baking outside and we sought refuge from the sun. We would be adding time onto our journey by stopping but we were hiking further today and would need the energy and break. The Momos took forever! At one point we regretted ordering food because people arrived at the tea house and left while we were still waiting. Nevertheless, we were happy when they arrived and it didn’t take long to scoff them up.
On the way to Tal the trail opened up into a wide valley with a jade green river running through it. Various groups were getting their photos taken on the white sandy banks. We got chatting to 3 Australians who were also hiking independently, they were stopping at Tal for the night. We consulted the lonely planet guidebook and Maps.me to see if it was feasible to go on to Dharapani, and the trail seemed to be a very slight incline, flat, down a bit then up. It was 4km further but seemed to be within our ability today. We were very tired though so much so that a group of 3 small school children scurried ahead of us as we trundled onwards.
We stayed at the last lodge in town New Tibet Guesthouse and regrettably there was a large group in at the same time. We decided to get hot showers. Gas shower was 100rs and solar shower was 100rs too. The old boy at the tea house didn’t speak a word of English but showed me how to operate the gas shower. I was quite excited at the thought of a warm shower after long sweaty day of uphill mostly. I got ready to get into the piping hot shower and after about 5 minutes of warm joy huge flames burst out of the top of the shower and I let out a tiny frightful scream. In a panic I turned the shower off and stood there soapy. After a moments thought I tried it again just to wash the soap away quickly. I had about 1 minutes rinse time before the lightbulb exploded and the gas flames burst with a bang out of the top of the shower. I turned everything off with haste wrapped the towel around me and exited the room quickly. Death by shower, not the way I want to go. Allan’s shower was also cold.
We ended up waiting for everybody and their guides to get fed before our food came. Definitely avoiding lonely planet recommended tea houses for the rest of our trip, too busy and they prioritise groups over independent hikers.