This week I got to go on a three day trek in the Annapurna circuit. The trip was sponsored by the Trekking Agency Association of Nepal, and brought along a handful of journalists along with around 30 owners of trekking agencies to showcase the state of the trails and infrastructure in the Annapurna range.
The area is in excellent condition, with extremely minimal damage from the earthquake on the 25th of April. What most of the nice folks who own guesthouses and trekking agencies and depend on guiding and trekkers for their livelihood need is not aid supplies, but tourists. So, if you think maybe you want to go on vacation soon but haven’t decided where, this would be one hell of an option. One owner of a local restaurant in the lakeside city of Pokhara told me that each tourist that visits Nepal provides work for at least ten Nepalis, from trekking guides to taxi drivers and waiters and guesthouse owners.
The trek was gorgeous, and I would advise recommend going to anyone. Unlike backpacking in Montana, when you trek here you don’t have to pack along a tent and food if you don’t want to. Every hour or so along the trail you will encounter a small village, which usually has a few guesthouses where you can stay for the night, take your meal, or enjoy a cup of tea while you dry your clothes out over the fireplace. Even during the rainy season, it is an extremely comfortable way to travel. You can take advantage of all those things for around 1,000 Nepali Rupees, or $10 a day.
I made some great friends, and realized further yet how damning the image painted of Nepal by the international media after the earthquake has really been.
I hope all is well back home. It was nice to be back among some large mountains, and makes me look forward to some backpacking once I return home.