if I was to describe a trek that changed my life that’d be the Annapurna Community Trek to Mohare Danda (aka. Mohare Hill) in Nepal.
After spending a couple of days fighting jet lag in Kathmandu and Panauti, we headed to Pokhara stopping for a Trishuli river rafting adventure in the way.
The next day, we drove from Pokhara to Galeshwor – five kilometers from Beni, in the Myadgi District of the Annapurna Himalayas – where our five-day adventure was getting started.
Annapurna Community Trek
DAY 1 – Trek to Bas Kharka
And so after a tasty lunch, we said goodbye to the paved roads and started walking towards Bas Kharka, our first stop at 825m. Soon I realized I wasn’t as ready as I thought for a trek in the footsteps of the Annapurnas, as the path consisted of a sort of endless stairway made of stones.
Would it be right to leave the expedition before causing any more trouble to the rest of the group? A diplomat, a Nat Geo photographer, a travel agent and a couple of travel bloggers were also in the pack; supported by the guide and three porters. And I wasn’t the fastest at all. Especially uphill, my pace was slow. I wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
Yet to my surprise, I wasn’t the only one hit by exhaustion. Tiny stops here and there to catch the breath and drink some water, a few smiles and even cheery tunes out of a random smartphone and a hell lot of sweat later, we made it to our first community-run lodge.
What a sweet moment, you guys! The volunteers at Bas Kharka’s dining hall welcomed us with sweet tea and a homemade dinner right in time to witness the sunset over the valley we had just left. Epic times.
Hopes were high again, I even washed some clothes! How cool was to get closer to the highest mountains in the world?
That night – and the following ones – we’d be sharing very basic yet comfy twin rooms across different homestays, built by the local community in an environmentally friendly way, using local materials and labor. The happy camper inside me fell asleep sooner than ever, I bet I was even smiling. After passing the first-day test, I was feeling confident again: I could do it!
Read more: A beginner’s guide to trekking in Nepal
DAY 2 – Trek to Nangi
On the second day of the trek, we made it to Nangi (2250m), another tiny village where we spent the free afternoon getting to know some locals such as the school teacher, a very interesting man. His students were playing soccer in the town’s youth group playground while it was pouring rain. We all got soaked, it was fun.
DAY 3 – Trek to Mohare Hill
On the third day, I woke up before sunrise to catch a glimpse of the nearby peaks before the clouds covered them given the day before we had only heard how wonderful the views were from there.
A couple of pancakes and a black coffee later, we started walking towards Mohare Hill (3300m). It took us most of the day and, along the way, we saw a variety of landscapes that blew my mind. From rhododendron forests to Narnia like prairies, rolling hills, pine trees, and waterfalls; nature managed to leave us all in awe for a while.
I knew close-up views of peaks such as Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchhre (the sacred Fish Tail Mountain that cannot be trekked) were possible, but I wasn’t expecting to find the pristine forests and vast pasture hills we stepped across that day. Neither the leeches, that paved the last part of our path and had us literally running during a couple of hours while trying to keep them away from our boots, socks, and tasty blood. But that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s just say that the end of May – also, the beginning of the rainy season – perhaps isn’t the best time of the year to carry out a trek like this if you are as afraid as I am of those little f*ckers.
DAY 4 – Trek to Tikot
After reaching Mohare hill the previous day, we had to descend 1km before reaching the narrow streets and tiny blue roofed houses of Tikot (2300m), our hometown for day four. Once leeches were left behind, our life became way easier and I remember this day’s trek as easy as a walk in the park. Downhill, our main worry was to avoid slipping in the muddy terrain. And deciding whether it was proper to have more than one beer on arrival, as the trekking was soon coming to an end.
DAY 5 – Trek to Tipling
The fifth day saw us descending even more stairs than the ones we trekked the first day and the steep path from Tikot to Tipling (900m) gave us some more stunning vistas of Kali Ghandaki river and its valley as a goodbye present.
Soon we would be indulging again in large meals and fancy hotel rooms, driving along busy paved roads, being disturbed by the constant noise of Pokhara and Kathmandu, exchanging quick hellos and goodbyes with random stressed-out individuals instead of meeting yak herders, local farmers and wise villagers, breathing a not so fresh air, going back to our messy and spoiled lives.
Mohare Hill – The most challenging yet rewarding trek of my life
Although it was only a five-day adventure, the Annapurna Community Trek to Mohare Hill was filled with demanding and long uphill trekking days with up to 1200m of vertical ascent, challenging encounters – as the rainy season was getting started in late May, we had leeches paving the way a couple of days – and, in the end, more beauty than I could take. To be honest, I cannot wait to go back to Nepal and continue exploring the Annapurna and Himalayas ranges, the tallest mountains on earth.
Yet, I know I won’t be able to do it alone. Unless you are a hardcore trekker (which I am not, as you might have grasped already), choosing an experienced company is key for a successful multi-day trekking like the mighty Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar. World Expeditions have got many awards as a responsible travel company and take care of every little detail as well as very important matters such as animals’ well-being and porters’ welfare. And these issues, that most of the companies out there don’t even pay attention to, are key. There’s no other way to travel today than doing it in a responsible and sustainable way. Are you with us?
Disclosure: I wrote this article as part of the #BestMountainTrek campaign in partnership with World Expeditions, a trekking-focused tour operator that offers several multi-day treks in Nepal.