Spectacular View of Dobato: Annapurna Family Trekking Day 4

The day before, the third day of our trekking journey took us from Ghorepani (2860m) to Poon Hill (3210m), back to Ghorepani, and finally to Dobato (3426m). Experiencing higher altitude trekking was very challenging and l was extremely exhausted. (Please read the previous blog post; then you will understand how difficult it was.)

Let me share the story of our 4th day on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek as my 50th birthday present from my husband. Our guide, Mr. Ram, had informed us the night before that it would be a relaxing and easy day, and we could start whenever we felt ready. However, we ended up waking up at 7 am, feeling fairly rested but hungry. I got up to check my ankle, which I had twisted a little during yesterday’s trek, but it seemed to be fine.

But it was bloody cold! Mornings in the mountains were always so frigid! I quickly dressed our son in a fleece, layering a down vest over it, and then did the same for myself. As I stepped outside, I was greeted by a truly breathtaking view!

Oh, my goodness! I couldn’t help but think that we had made that long trek just for this view! For the first time, I felt truly glad that I had come. Honestly, Poon Hill was okay, but it lacked the sheer magnitude of this sight. This is truly worth marvelling at!

Yesterday, when I arrived at this guest house, it was already dark and quite foggy, perhaps we were even within the clouds, so I couldn’t see anything. But now, with this clear blue sky and the majestic Annapurna mountains in view… this was what Nepal trekking was all about!

While seated at the dining table enjoying lemon tea with my son and coffee with my husband and Rex, we couldn’t stop talking about the incredible view. I ordered my new standard breaky, a mixed vegetable omelette. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the menus were the same but varied slightly depending on the owner’s arrangement. Here, it was surprisingly delicious! The omelette contained potatoes and tomatoes, and the slight charring added a nice touch. Absolutely delicious!

At breaky, Mr Ram told me that the reason yesterday’s climb was so difficult was because the altitude was higher and the oxygen was thinner, and the reason we came to this altitude was because of ABC (Annapurna Base Camp). Apparently, it’s to get used to it.

My husband elaborated, mentioning that by ascending to higher altitudes at least once, the body would adapt and metabolize oxygen more efficiently, making the rest of the journey easier.

I see… but Mr Ram, I wish you had explained that to me earlier as I said to my husband. But my husband replied, Mr Ram did explain it to us when we were leaving Ghorepani. Sorry, I was the one who didn’t listen….haha

As our guide Mr. Ram had mentioned earlier, it was going to be a slow day. Following breakfast, we began our usual morning routine of packing. We were informed that we wouldn’t need any thick jackets today because we were going downhill. It dawned on me: I’m going downhill today… hehehehe. Naturally, I found myself packing a little bit happier.

As we set off, I found myself on a lovely trail once again. I’ve always loved treks like this, walking with a spectacular view on my left. The air was chilly, clear, and crisp. Naturally, I found myself humming along as I walked.

Once again, Mr Ram walked alongside our son, holding his arm on the rough path or steps. Our son didn’t have any sense of avoiding the rocky terrain and he would then fall even though he was conscious. Mr Ram told us that he was surprised by our son’s lack of awareness. Sorry, we hadn’t realised he was that unaware… haha. We truly appreciated Mr Ram’s support and care throughout the trek.

Nepal’s Animist Beliefs Exist On Trek

As we were walking down along a relatively gentle trek, we encountered what appeared to be a gate. Nepal’s religious landscape is a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, quite similar to Japan in its spiritual sensibilities. Animism is basically a worship of nature and has many expressions of respecting and fearing nature spirits and nature itself. During the trek, you’ll often come across shrines and other symbols that show respect for nature, reflecting the belief in animism.

Inside the shrine, branches with leaves were placed as offerings, likely to seek daily safety during the trek. Mr. Ram also taught my son to offer leaves.

While I was capturing photos, a gentle breeze passed through.

After taking a short break, we continued our trek downhill towards our next destination, lunch!

Nepal is a truly hospitable country. We exchanged ‘Namaste’ greetings as we passed each other. Some people simply smiled, while others climbed up and down the mountains effortlessly, carrying their luggage on their backs or balanced on their heads.

If you heard a bell sound, some mules were carrying a heavy load on its back.

We slowly descended the mountain and arrived at a guest house for lunch. At this point, it was clear that our guide Mr Ram, had carefully selected guest houses for our daily accommodation and meals. Overall, they were quite nice.

Mr Ram took our orders for lunch, dinner and breakfast, and we wrote what we wanted down on pink paper most of the time.

After placing our lunch orders, it took another hour for the food to be prepared. It was very slow, but we actually really enjoyed this gentle pace of trekking. As we walked we, all being middle-aged, whispered to each other that we should have more trips like this. hahaha.

After a while of walking, we arrived at Chuile, our accommodation for the night. The altitude here is 2309m, meaning we descended about 1100m. It’s amazing to think twice the distance you came down from the top of the mountain.

The photo below was taken from above.

Our accommodation for the night was called Hotel Rainbow Attractive, but it was a really small village with only a few hotels.

Altitude Sickness Without Knowing It?

As usual during our trek, when we got close to the guest house accommodation, the porter boys quickly headed there and left our luggage in our room. Even our sleeping bags had already been removed from my luggage and placed on our beds.

When we arrived at the guest house, if there was a warm shower available, I took a shower before it got cold, changed into loungewear, and headed to the dining room. My husband and Rex had already ordered beer and were chatting there. Sometimes, our son was outside wandering around with our porter boys (so nice!). Then our son and I typically ordered some lemon tea and started chatting together. While we were relaxing there, I used Wi-Fi to check emails. With a 5-hour time difference between Australia and Nepal, Nepal was further ahead, so we called our eldest son to check on the dog’s food.

I had totally forgotten about it, but I noticed that the pain in the back of my neck and headaches had naturally disappeared.

‘Oh, my neck pain and headache are gone!’ I said.

And then Rex said, ‘Oh, did you have neck pain and a headache too? Mine is gone too!’

But Mr Ram looked surprised and sounded panicked, ‘What!? That’s a symptom of altitude sickness! If you feel sick and vomit, you’ll have to go down the mountain! Even altitude medicine is not working.’ He was shaking his head…. so I should have told him the night before then.

Oh my goodness, I asked my husband, ‘So, what will happen in the end?’ He told me that in the worst cases, your brain would swell, and you could die.

So before I knew it, I was experiencing altitude sickness.

Well, Rex and I both thought we had just slept in an awkward position and twisted our necks. We both started laughing, but Mr Ram was the only one who looked a little worried and wasn’t laughing.

Anyway, we were still alive and able to descend the mountain without any trouble due to altitude sickness, so it’s all good! We had dinner together with Mr Ram and chatted in the guest house lounge room. Time on the mountain passed slowly, accoumanied by loveable beautiful people.

Ah, it felt kind of like paradise…

To be continued…..Day 5.

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