Journey to Annapurna Foothills: My First Trek and Overseas Adventure

Journey to Annapurna Foothills: My First Trek and Overseas Adventure

In 2012, with a heart full of aspirations and eyes eager for unparalleled vistas, I embarked on a journey that would transcend mere travel. Journey to Annapurna Foothills: My First Trek and Overseas Adventure. It wasn’t just any expedition; it was my inaugural foray into the heart of the majestic Himalayas and my very first step onto foreign soil. Every path taken, every summit scaled, was an ode to the world’s grandeur and a personal rite of passage.

In those untrodden trails and serene landscapes of Annapurna Foothills, I wasn’t merely seeking beauty – I was in pursuit of a deeper communion with the universe. This trek was to be both an exploration of the world outside and a voyage within, a dance between the tangible chill of high-altitude air and the intangible warmth of self-discovery. As I set foot on those deep valleys between the towering peaks, the tales of the Himalayas unfolded, not as stories told by others but as chapters waiting to be written in the chronicle of my life. My life’s first trek, the Annapurna Foothills Trek, changed my life forever. It was little known to me then that ten years later, from that day, I would turn out to be a pro solo female backpacker.

The Decision to Explore

So, one day, while musing over how life was slipping by in-office monotony, an urge to reconnect with myself emerged. I yearned for a respite and, thus, planned an impromptu leave for the final week of December 2012. Originally, my idea was to unwind at home, but destiny, as always, had other plans. An online article about the Annapurna Trekking struck a chord, and soon, I found myself dialling an old friend, an avid trekker. To my elation, a trek to the Annapurna Foothills, perfect for novices like me, was scheduled during my planned break.

Despite initial hesitations about being the sole solo traveller in the group, my thirst for adventure prevailed. By mid-November, my spot was reserved, flight tickets booked, and my preparation for the trek was in full swing, overshadowing even my gym routine. Admittedly, I harboured anxieties about the altitude and relentless uphill and downhill walks, but my determination overpowered all reservations.

Beginning the Adventure: From Kolkata to Kathmandu

The 22nd of December arrived swiftly. After some preparations, I found myself at Kolkata Airport. Here, I met our trek leader and a few fellow trekkers. A minor hiccup – our flight was delayed by two hours. While this tested our patience, our collective anticipation for the journey ahead was palpable. Landing in Kathmandu around 5 PM, I quickly secured an NCELL SIM card, a handy tip for those venturing into high altitudes. Our group then dashed to the local market for some last-minute essentials before retiring to our hotel, eager for the days ahead.

Driving through Nepal: Kathmandu to Pokhara

The next day, after a hearty breakfast, our convoy set forth for Pokhara. As we journeyed, the scenic view of rivers slicing through mountains filled me with awe. Their eternal flow resonated with my life’s philosophy: to move forward, undeterred. I was entranced by the Himalayas’ majesty, their towering presence reminding me of resilience and the importance of standing tall against adversities. Captivated, I mused, “Dear Himalaya, will you embrace me year after year?”

Our scenic journey was accentuated by the sight of Machapuchare, the ‘Fish Tail’ mountain, a revered peak in Nepali lore. Pokhara, with its vibrant marketplace, was a delight. Amid the plethora of offerings, I restrained myself, buying only two intriguing books. Our day culminated in a hearty meal and eager discussions about the forthcoming trek.

Trekking Through the Annapurna Foothills

On the 24th, the real adventure began. Starting from Phedi, our initial ascent towards the picturesque village of Dhampus was taxing. I soon found myself trailing the group, my lungs craving more air. Yet, upon reaching Dhampus, every strain was forgotten. The Himalayan vista, featuring prominent peaks like Dhaulagiri, Fish Tail, and Annapurna, was a sight to behold.

Post-lunch, our trek towards Pothana continued. The two-hour journey took us through pristine Himalayan forests, where the songs of vibrant birds enchanted us. The soft embrace of the setting sun illuminated our path till we reached Pothana. On arrival, the chill in the air made us yearn for warmth. While many sought hot showers and ginger tea, I, fearing the potential health repercussions of abrupt weather shifts, chose to embrace the ruggedness and avoid a bath.

Embracing the Elements and Wildlife Encounters

That evening, a spectacle awaited: a group of yellow-billed blue magpies perched on a tree nearby. As I observed them, the setting sun bestowed a surreal glow upon the Himalayas, a sight so breathtaking words could scarcely do justice. Still, I captured this in photographs, which I’ll share soon. The plummeting temperatures prompted us to huddle around a bonfire before we called it a night.

Christmas Morning and Continuing the Journey

The next day, Christmas 2012, began with an ethereal view of the sun’s first rays colouring the Himalayan peaks. As I soaked in the beauty, I also witnessed a mesmerising sunrise that reinforced the idea of new beginnings. Following breakfast, we embarked on the next leg of our journey, where I was fortunate to spot another magpie.

The trail led us through diverse terrains, from forested paths to an old suspension bridge at Bheri Kharka. During this trek, I had a brief, unsettling moment where I feared getting lost, but a combination of luck and faith saw me through. Our day culminated at Landrung, a tranquil village where we immersed ourselves in the splendour of the setting sun.

Ghandrung and Homeward Bound

The ensuing days of the journey included an uphill trek to Ghandrung, witnessing the sheer magnificence of the Annapurna Mountains and Machapuchare. Our stay at the Gurung cottage was highlighted by the warmth of Mr. Gurung, the mesmerising vistas, and the rich biodiversity surrounding us.

After spending a day rejuvenating and exploring the village, we descended to the Pokhara valley. The journey concluded with a shopping spree in Pokhara market, where I indulged in buying woollens for loved ones before finally heading back home to Kolkata.

Key Learnings from the Trek

  • Annapurna Foothills Trek is a good option for any beginners.
  • Preparing well in advance can help in acclimatising better.
  • Always carry an NCELL SIM when venturing into high altitudes.
  • Listen to your body: know when to embrace the cold and when to seek warmth.
  • Embrace the unexpected; it’s part of the adventure.

Reflections and Goodbyes

In all their majestic glory, the Himalayas were more than just a trekking destination. They became a mirror to my soul, reflecting the strength and resilience within. As I returned home from my first-ever Himalayan Trekking through Annapurna Foothills Trek, I carried with me not just memories but also lessons of endurance and the joy of exploration.

Dear reader, have you ever felt the call of the mountains? Or perhaps another adventure that stirred your soul? I’d love to hear about it. Share your experiences in the comments below.

Recent Posts

Popular Posts



Leave a Comment

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