We are currently camped just outside the picturesque village of Sikles as we stare up at the massive Lamjung Himal which towers over us. It is currently day 13 of our 15 days trek east along the southern Annapurna range.
Two days ago we left from the last settlement of the valley to climb 4500 feet to reach Tara Hill. Tara which means star in Nepali lived up to its name, with the nearest settlement being a days walk away and only consisting of 100 people, there was hardly any light pollution. Alone on Tara Hill we gazed at the far off galaxies and pondered our place in the world and in turn the universe. The blisters and aching backs seemed much less significant.
But let us not forget the effort that was required to reach this state of bliss. In the two days leading up to Tara we climbed over 6500 feet, battled swarms and swarms of leeches, and truly experienced early monsoon weather. After arriving to the top of Tara and just as we were finishing setting up our tents, as if it were on command, the skies opened up to a torrential downpour of rain and hail, winds tested our veteran tents and hail pelted us as we dug trenches to keep our tents from flooding.
After several hours the storm began to subside and we were greeted with spectacular views of the mountains. Enough hail was left on the ground and tents for an intense snowball fight as well.
Today is a much needed (and deserved) rest day as we dry our clothes and tents and enjoy the sunny weather. Tonight we will be thanking our nearly 20 porters and support staff for their gruelling work over the course of this expedition by throwing a party, we will be the servers and dish washers.
Tomorrow we continue to head down away from the mountains and snow of the Himals and with each day closer and closer to our homes and families abroad.