Five things to know before doing Annapurna Circuit trek
Trekking along the Annapurna Circuit is absolutely thrilling and life changing experience considering the natural, cultural and spiritual experience it provides through the snow-capped mountain ranges, bright red rhododendron forests, mighty Thorong- La pass, Tilicho: lake at the highest altitude, Muktinath temple, natural hot spring and culturally rich ethnic communities and their settlements.
While it might seem fascinating just to pack the backpack, tie shoe laces and commence the journey, there are some crucial things to be considered before starting this wonderful trek.
1. Plan the trek in the right time of year
Seasonal changes have massive impact on where, how and when to hike in Nepal. Weather conditions for Annapurna circuit trek are ideal during October – early December or late February – April. The weather during these two seasons is generally clear and dry, and so it’s not too cold when heading into high altitudes. Trekking at other times of year may be risky due to heavy snowfall in winter and slippery path during monsoon.
However, these two seasons are also the busiest times to be on the trail, with many other trekkers from across the world heading into the Himalayas. So, you might need to book your hotels beforehand or make a plan with a travel agency.
2. Be prepared physically and mentally
As the three rules of mountaineering suggest “It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. And it’s always harder than it looks.”, the Annapurna trek is long, tiring and physically and mentally tough. So, be prepared to walk in boots continuously for days, to live on limited supply of clothing, to sleep on hard beds all the while living without internet. You might try altitude trainings, working out in gym and long walks to be sturdy enough for the trek.
It might sound intimidating, but as with every step the scenery in front of you changes and the mountains reveal something new; rolling clouds, the breathtaking terrain or the smiling locals and you stand mesmerized by the magnificent peaks at the highest point of trek, you’ll feel that all this trouble was worth it.
3. Do not underestimate the altitude sickness
We might take altitude sickness lightly, but it’s real and can happen to anyone, no matter how fit a person is. Make sure you take necessary precautions as you ascend the mountainous trail from 2500 meters onward. Stay prepared by taking medicines for altitude sickness such as Diamox. Aside from that, just take it slow, stay hydrated, and before you move off the trail, know the symptoms so that you’re aware of it, if you feel the effects.
In addition to that have a well-stocked medical kit consisting of band aids, water purification tablets, anti-bacterial cream, anti-nausea tablets, rehydration salts, paracetamol, anti-inflammatory tablets, sanitary pads, etc. for unexpected moments and emergencies.
4. Pack light; take only what you need, leave the rest behind.
As the trek is long and tough, you might want to keep your backpack as light as possible, either you carry it yourself or hire a porter to do so. Take only the bare essentials such as good quality sleeping bag, warm jacket, waterproof hiking boots, hiking pants, thermals, medicines and head torch. You can leave the heavy make-up kit, laptop and other unnecessary heavy items behind.
5. Be positive, take it slow and enjoy the journey
Trekking in Annapurna circuit will challenge your limits. You might want to drop your bags down, stay standstill, stubborn in the way and even return, but the most important thing is to stay positive and keep going. eat well, look after your body, take it easy and slow and you’ll complete the trek just fine. You’ll realize that you made a right decision by planning this trek and by staying throughout the trek when, after a long tiresome walk up along the steep slopes, you stand in front of awe-inspiring Himalayan panorama and enjoy the view it offers, not to mention all the learnings you acquired throughout the trek.
The jaw-dropping views, warm hospitality of local people, unique culture, amazing bonding with fellow trekkers, the never-ending trails and the satisfaction of taking rest at resting spots will make this trek a memorable journey for lifetime….