So, we made it over the top just in time to avoid heavy snowfall. We found a “hotel” with running water (the rumours of hot water had once again been greatly exaggerated) we ate and we slept.
We started by reading books, blogs and articles, progressing to discussions with hikers, bikers and locals on the trail. All of whom (amongst other very useful things) advised us to rise and finish early each day.
Starting the circuit in March is cold and starting our days when everything was still dark and frozen was not an appealing idea. So we settled into relaxed start times some time between 7 and 8am each morning, allowing for trekker’s breakfast (which usually included potatoes on toast) a large pot of black tea …oh and the inevitable packing faff.
With more than 2/3 of our self imposed full circuit under our ever tightening belts, we were cycling and walking well into the afternoon as a matter of course. Now that the big scary pass was completed, we were both more than a little confused by advice to start early.
So, the day after the high pass, we are on the way down, everything as you might hope, the sun shining, the views amazing and the track although still very rough was indeed downhill.
Queue our entry to Mustang Valley, the deepest gorge in the world, local time 10.30 am.
Think post apocalyptic, parched earth, dry riverbeds, mini tornadoes and an ever increasing wind gusting to the point where it is strong enough to blow you to a standstill on a 1 in 4 hill. The “start early, finish early” advice was at last making sense.
Despite being covered from head to toe (long sleeves, winds stoppers, dust masks, gloves and sunglasses) for the entire ride, when we finally take shelter in Old Jomsom we discover we have faces like chimney sweeps and the top layers of skin are peeling from my arms.
Top tip; if you are ever walking or cycling the Annapurna Circuit we recommend you get your miles in before 11am while you are in the Mustang Valley.
Thank you to everyone of you lovely people who have already donated to our chosen charity CAN
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