Woke up at 5am this morning and hiked 45 minutes to the top of Poon Hill to see the Annapurna Range at sunrise. It was cool to see the morning light illuminate the majestic peaks, but it somehow didn’t live up to my expectations. That’s one of the ill effects of traveling this much. We’ve seen so many amazing things that beautiful sights like this morning lose their magnificence. Nonetheless, it was still a beautiful morning. We descended, ate breakfast, and took our time getting started.
By 9am, we were on our way down the mountain and out of Ghorepani. Before we were even out of town, we ran into another Maoist checkpoint. This time, Joylani and I were well ahead of anyone else. As they told us to stop, we just kept walking saying, “We paid.” “Show receipt, show receipt!” they shouted, but we just kept walking and saying, “Paid, paid.” Feigning a weak understanding of English and walking briskly, we got through the checkpoint without payment or incident. Although we’ve gone through so many checkpoints, it still pisses me off. These ideologically-bankrupt bandits trying to extort money from us to pocket themselves. The other infuriating thing is that we passed Nepali police within five minutes before and after the checkpoint, but they do nothing because they get a cut of the Maoists illicit activities.
The next four hours were a continuous downwards staircase. Apparently someone counted the step between Ghorepani and Tikhedhunga and came up with 3820 or 3280- I can’t remember. Anyways, it seemed like we were going deeper and deeper into the valley forever. The only thing more ridiculous than going down the thousands of steps was seeing people come up. I can’t even imagine attempting to climb so many steps in a day, for the steepness seems impossible. Arriving in Tikhedhunga, I took the new best shower of the trek and am now writing and chilling in shorts and a t-shirt in the warm sun.