Trek Day 3 Poon Hill – Tadapani

by Annalise on March 11, 2010

I woke at 5:00 a.m. hoping to see some stars from my guest house window. If there were stars, yesterday’s fog would have lifted and there was reason to climb up to Poon Hill to watch the sunrise. If no stars, thick cloud and not much chance for that scenic sunrise. After straining for several minutes, wondering if it was my optimism and near-sightedness that was creating stars or if they were really visible, I clearly made out Orion’s Belt if only briefly. I got up, woke Robin and we both got geared up for our second hike to Poon Hill.
Day 3 Trek

We started out of the village first under the necessary light of head lamps and not too much later by the dim hue of dawn that began to develop. Doing it in the dark, we were glad to have done the hike the prior afternoon so we knew where the snowy sections were and just how long the steep stairs would last. There was clearly still cloud but we could see breaks passing overhead. Near the top we began to come across our earlier trekking friends including Keith the Irishman and Aaron and Ellen from Portland. Upon arriving at the hill, we saw that there were already about 20 or 30 people there and that we were all going to be rewarded by a clear view of the peaks, the clouds bank now completely settled at a lower elevation.

There was a real sense of anticipation as everyone milled about waiting for the sun to join us. People went up to the lookout tower and then back down around the hill taking photos of the already gorgeous panorama. Finally the first blast of orange/pink light landed on Dhanlagiri, the tallest mountain on the horizon at 8197 meters. Slowly the sun continued to drape this glow on the remaining, closer peaks and the show became increasingly awe-inspiring. The cameras were very active now among the crowd of now almost 60 people who’d collected. We took our share of shots, enjoyed a hot cup of milk tea from the friendly ladies in the little tea hut and then just sat to enjoy the vista before skipping down the trail for breakfast and trek out. What a lovely start!
Day 3 Trek
The trek to Tadapani was only 4 hours and without any extraordinary elevation but we wanted to stay the night at the Tadapani guest house recommended by our friend Alexis. The whole of the day’s walk was in perfect cool trekking weather with bright sunshine as we moved through the hills within the Rhododendron Forest. We came across several tiny stops with guest houses and inevitably a table of Tibetan souvenirs of jewelry, yak’s wool blankets, carvings and more. We were very near Tibet there and most of the inhabitants of these valleys are of Tibetan dissent. It was funny, we’d be walking along a forest path, turn the corner and there would be this long table of gleaming articles for sale. Out of sheer appreciation for their having carted these goods to these locations, I did a bit of shopping… not enough to weigh down the pack but a bit.

That afternoon and evening in Tadapani we enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the recommended guest house. We learned that the village of Tadapani was really only about 25 or 30 years old as a settlement, having been established as a natural stop along the Annapurna trekking circuit. In the high season the dozen or so guest houses, each with 8 – 20 rooms were full prior to noon and so more houses were under construction still. The site was clearly chosen for its relatively large plateau and view of the mountains to the near north.

We had our lunch in their look out tower where along with our meal they brought a large bucket of hot embers and set it under the table to heat us and the room. It was delightful. Robin remained in this little elevated cocoon to enjoy the latest book he’d discovered in one of the many book exchange shelves of the guest houses while I strolled about with my camera to capture more. For dinner we once again we received the heat pot for under the table, ate and visited with the other guests before heading off to our beds uncertain of the distance we would cover the following day but grateful for the views we’d enjoyed so far.

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