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Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 4 Khangsar

Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 4 Khangsar

Thorang La Pass
Thorang La Pass sign

 

If you missed day 3, you can click here.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Day 4 Khangsar was the most memorable day of the trek.  I had an amazing time, because we hiked up to Milarepa cave and had phenomenal views of the Manang valley.  In addition, we saw Annapurna 2 and 4 at superb vantage points.  We could see from Lamjung Himal all the way to Tilicho peak, which is where we are headed to next.  Kick back, relax and get out your pins, because you are going to want to pin this post to your Pinterest.

Hiking to Milarepa cave

annapurna 3
Annapurna 3

We woke up at 6:30 and started walking to Milarepa cave.  The morning air was crisp and cool.  It stung our noses as we inhaled.  Our fast pace left heavy foot prints on the trail and dense clouds of exhaled air floating behind us.  The trail head was a half hour walk toward Mugie.  We passed Braga gompa and a pasture with grazing yaks.  The sound of the yak bells rang loud like tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture.  We crossed the Marsyangdi Nadi river, crossed a pasture, and started our ascend up Annapurna 4.

After 20 minutes of hiking we could see Pisang Peak, Tilicho Peak, Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, and Thorong Peak in the distance.  We could see most of the valley, which was becoming increasingly smaller.  Braga gompa stuck out among the villages and trees.  We continued climbing through a thick pine forest and snow.  In addition to the wonderful views, we found the ruins of an old village along the trail.  It was cast aside in favor of less remote locations.  Furthermore, just past the ruins was a desolate stupa in the middle of the forest.

It was at this time that we began to see deer and sheep tracks in the snow.  I was so excited.  Unfortunately, we did not see any today.  We did however, see Annapurna 2 and Annapurna 4 as we came to a clearing.  They seemed to jump out at us saying “surprise!”  The mountains were so close, I thought we could summit them and be back in time for dinner.

Milarepa Cave

Milarepa Cave
Entrance to Milarepa Cave

Some people believe Milarepa was a witch who went to the cave to practice black magic.  Other people believe he was a saint, because he had the power to transform hearts.  This song, Song to the Hunter , is an example of changing an evil person into a good person.   I could not find any hints as to which belief is correct.  However, I did find a beautiful area with more fantastic views of the Annapurna mountains.

The cave was locked when I visited.  The monk with the key stays at the cave in fall.  If you want to see inside the cave, you will have to visit from October to December.  I do not think there is much to see inside the cave.  There is a lot more to see outside the cave, which is where I spent all of my time.  There is a stupa further up the mountain.  It takes 1 hour to get there, but you have a phenomenal view of Annapurnna 2 and 4 when you arrive.

Returning to Manang and checking out

The majority of the trail coming down was slippery from the snow melt.  You need to be very careful hiking down.  I highly recommend wearing crampons if you do the hike in the snow.  The views were so spectacular.  After we reached the road side we continued walking towards Manang.  We passed a few groups of people that were eating apple pie.  They should read my blog!  After packing our bags and eating breakfast, I asked for the food bill.  You could imagine my surprise when I received a room bill too.  I asked the owner to remove the fraudulent charges, which he did with a little resentment.

Trek to Khangsar

We finally left the tea house at 12:00.  Only another couple of hours and we will be in Khangsar.  The hike out of Manang was delightful.  The entire way to Khangsar, we had excellent views of Annapurna 2, Annapurna 3, Gangapurna, and Tilicho Peak.  We walked along the river in a dry sparsely forested landscape.  My guide pointed out some blue sheep.  I didn’t get a good look at them so, I’m not counting it.  We crossed Thurong Kola and hiked up a steep ravine.  At the top of the ravine was a plateau where you can see the Marsyandi Nadi river and the Thurong Kola meet.  There are also a few old building that resemble dilapidated castles up there.

We rested and watched other people hike over the bridge and up the ravine.  After a few minutes rest, we started hiking again.  We reached Khangsar at 3:30.  I still had some time, so I hiked to the stupa at the top of Upper Khangsar.  On the way, I ran into a heard of 20 blue sheep.  They were beautiful.  The sheep were digging the soil and eating the salts.  I was able to get surprisingly close to them before they ran away.  I made it to the stupa and took a few pictures.  There is also an abandoned village up there.

When I arrived back at the Maya Hotel & Restaurant, it was time for dinner.  I ordered vegetarian curry and mashed potatoes.  However, I received vegetable soup and mashed potato soup.   I was so disappointed.    Read this article on what to expect before coming to Nepal, so you will not have this happen to you.  Despite this blunder, I had an excellent stay at this tea house.  The owners were fair, and  the rooms were clean.

You can click the link here to read about day 5 of the trek.

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