Day Two: A Hard Day Trekking Bahundanda To Tal On The Annapurna Circuit
Second day on the Annapurna Circuit and it was certainly one of the hardest and definitely the wettest. Day two will take us from Bahundanda to Ghermu, Ghermu to Jagat and finally Jagat to Tal. The total journey from Bahundanda to Tal consists of 17 kilometers of hiking over 9 hours (excluding a stop for lunch) and an elevation increase of 390 meters.
Though, I will go through it in detail, so if you are planning your own Annapurna Circuit adventure you will know exactly what to expect on day two.
Bahundanda (1310 m) to Ghermu (1130m): 5 km hike which took 2 and a half hours
Ghermu (1130 m) to Jagat (1300m): 3 km hike which took 2 hours
Jagat (1300m) to Chamche (1385m): 4 km hike which takes 1 hour
Chamche (1385m m) to Tal (1700m): 5 km hike which took 4 and a half hours
Waking Up In Bahundanda
Waking up in Bahundanda I felt pretty good. The beds were comfortable enough for what they were and a big thick blanket kept me warm overnight. There was a small amount of rain trickling down over the valley, so no one rushes, hoping that it will pass before we head off.
Breakfast to start the day for me is a bowl of porridge. I am still trying to keep the diet pretty bland after yesterdays experience. Everyone basically decides they are going to do their own thing, leaving at different time. No one is really in a rush to do the trail, with some people just trying to get off the beaten track and others wanting to do plenty of side trails.
Bahundanda to Ghermu
With no sign of the rain holding up James and I decide to head off and begin the first stage of our day, from Bahundanda to Ghermu. Today is the first full day of trekking and with no real end goal in sight we walk on irrelevant of the weather.
Heading through the empty village of Bahundanda, its seems like a ghost town. Making our way through to the other side of the village we enter onto grass paths mixed with stone staircases. We come across a gorgeous look out point under a tree which makes the perfect excuse for a water break. The view to the valley below is incredible, with the deep green contrast against the flowing blue river.
Continuing along the small local path we make our way down trying not to slip. This path is basically just mud puddles in the rain and loose stones being used as steps. Passing through green fields and local houses the rain starts to calm down.
The trees clear momentarily to a metal bridge to cross over. It sits high above, with steep cliffs on either side and the water running fast. Over on the other side we continue following the path until reaching the village of Ghermu.
Ghermu to Jagat
After heading through Ghermu we walk a little further before crossing over a swing bridge which takes us to Syange. These two villages are only ten to fifteen minutes from each other. Though, Syange is on the same side of the river as the road. Here is where the Annapurna Circuit infamously merges with the road.
The views from the road may not be too exciting, though it is a lot easier on the legs than having to tackle loose rocks and stairs on the trail. A few vehicles pass every now and then where we are forced to move out of the way. The road is fairly steep as over the 3 kilometer journey from Ghermu to Jagat we ascend nearly 200 meters. Though, meeting a couple horses along the road certainly help lift the spirits.
There are plenty of lovely restaurants and guesthouses perched on the cliff side overlooking the river and numerous waterfalls when walking from Syange to Jagat. This would certainly be a cute spot to stop for lunch, though we decide to head on until the center of Jagat.
It is a relatively easy walk on the road, especially as it is only 3 kilometers. Though, the incline means we did need to stop for water breaks every now and then.
Jagat To Chamche
Arriving in Jagat we find a decent looking guesthouse and stop for lunch. It feels so good to sit down and eat hot food. I order a portion of fried noodles. Though, I have never had much of an appetite after excising, so James eats the majority of my meal.
After looking at the price of bottled water we decide it is time to start using our water purification tablets. They certainly do not taste the best, but this is a good way to save money while on the trail.
With newfound energy after a little bit of food we continue along the road. With dense forest on one side and the rushing river on the other the road does not take away from the beautiful scenery. The 4 kilometer trek does not take long when following the road and we quickly find ourselves in the village of Chamche.
It is now two o’clock and we have two options. The first is to stay in Chamche and continue on with the circuit in the morning, even though it is relatively early in the day. Then the second option, to continue on the circuit to the small village of Sattale which should be one and a half hours from Chamche. Considering we still have quite a while until dinner time and nightfall we decide to bite the bullet and trek on.
Chamche to Tal
Instead of following the road, the circuit goes down a small path with a steep descent to the river. We cross another swing bridge which brings us to a huge field of ‘ special plants’ growing freely. A couple of trekkers are having a break here, enjoying the view, but we continue on.
Looking over the river we notice our friends, they had obviously missed the circuit turn off in Chamche and continued along the road. In hindsight that was a smart move, though we did not know that just yet.
Around 3.30pm we arrive in Sattale to find it is literally just two buildings. They are completely abandoned. At this point we are extremely low on water and have at least another 2 and a half hours before the village of Tal. Learning this certainly brought our spirits down. Though, so far the path had been relatively easy and it seems pointless to turn around.
We continue on and as luck would have it, we get lost and have to back track about 15 minutes. With frustration taking over and having already hiked 7+ hours at this stage, I embarrassingly enough have a mental breakdown. I am hungry, thirsty and it is beginning to get quite late in the day. Something which I have always said is that my partner James keeps me sane on our travels and that is certainly proving true in this moment.
Turning the corner I notice something which makes me breakdown even more. A massive landslide which basically blocks the whole valley and there is only one way to get past it, go over. The trek from Bahundanda to Tal is known for being notoriously steep towards the end, but I did not imagine this.
Just before the climb we notice a man closing up the doors of a shop situated below. We convince him to let us in where we buy a chocolate bar and drink for some energy before the last push. Time for the hardest part of the day, climbing a literal landslide. Massive boulders cover the path and we trek up in silence, determined not to waste energy.
At the top we notice the village of Tal below and at that moment it begins to rain. We quickly climb down, determined to arrive before we get utterly soaked.
Staying In Tal
Wondering into the village of Tal our friend from the night before greets us on the outskirts. They had saved us a room in the same tea house as them. Also, they took the road and arrived an hour before us, so if you are planning to do the trek keep this option in mind.
The cost of the room is free as long as we purchased dinner and breakfast there. They also have complimentary WiFi and a wonderfully hot shower which we are super stoked about. I do not remember the name of the lodge, but it was a big blue building in the middle of the town.
For dinner we grab a cup of tea and have so called ‘mac and cheese’. These ended up being vegetable fried pasta with cheese sprinkled on top. You come to learn that meals on the circuit are often not what they appear to be.
We all spend the rest of the evening taking turns using the shower and playing cards in the comfortable common room. We head off for an early night because there is not too much to do here once it gets dark and it has been one hell of a day trekking from Bahundanda to Tal.
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