Way to Mustang


In my last post, I was telling you about the impressions I had when visiting Kathmandu, this time we set out into the mountains to see the former Himalayan kingdom of Mustang.

There are two possibilities to get to there from Pokhara, which is the next larger and 130 kilometres distant city in the region: either a twenty-minute flight with a propeller-driven plane or an eight-hour ride by jeep.

In the end, it turned out to be a twelve-hour journey through dense tropical forests in a 6,000- metre-deep canyon, which is known as the world’s deepest ravine. On our way, we pass countless rope bridges and wade through giant riverbeds between the mountains until we finally reach Tukuche, a small settlement on the edge of the Annapurna massif.

However, there is no much time to rest. Well before sunrise, I am already back on my feet to find myself in a dry riverbed shortly thereafter. That does not bother me since I am rewarded with a view that is simply breath taking: I mean, seeing the Alps and the Rocky Mountains is one thing, but looking at the Himalayas is a completely different story!

When peaks that are seven or eight thousand metres high start glowing around you, everything you have ever experienced appears to be so much smaller in the face of these dimensions. The more everything is growing around you, the smaller you start to feel. In this situation, the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM helped me to bring even the most distant mountain peaks within reach.

The final destination for today is Muktinath, a several thousand-year old pilgrimage on the 3,600-metre high Annapurna Circuit. Green forests are slowly getting rarer and the climate is rapidly changing: from Jomsom onward, we find ourselves in the middle of endless sandy deserts, barren mountain massifs as well as less and little oxygen and biting wind. Beyond that, the heat makes breathing even more difficult.

As a result of the many breaks we were forced to take today, we only made it to Jharkot, a settlement in front of Mutkinath. Being incredibly old and built aligned with the sunset, everything looks like a Tibetan-inspired movie set. This is why the lighting atmosphere here is stunning!

Back on our way, we do not manage to get very far: it's pitch black, there is no reception and our Jeep gets stuck almost entirely in the mud of a river bed.
Suddenly, 30 soldiers appear out of nowhere, partly fully geared partly only wearing flip-flops. After one hour of pushing and pulling, we are free and can cheerfully move towards our third
blog entry where I will take you with me on a 100 kilometres hike to Annapurna Base Camp and back.

This blog was initially published here: SIGMA BLOG (German version).

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