13.04.18, Kande – Pothana
We were out before dawn at 5.45 to see the views of Annapurna and Machapuchre (Fishtail Peak) across the water for which the Fish Tail Lodge has a reputation. The weather was perfect for it – clear and soon quite warm so that we could breakfast outside by the lake at 7.00. We had repacked our luggage taking only what we needed for the trek in bags with us and leaving our cases in the hotel. At 8.15 everything had been ferried with the raft across the narrow stretch of water to the road and packed onto the roof of our minibus. A very steep road brought us up a ridge above the lake giving fine views and this was followed for some distance until the bus started making strange noises, lost power and ground to a halt. Fortunately we were only a few hundred meters from Kande, the starting point of the trek, so we set off from there, leaving the bus to its fate. It was a good job that this had not happened the day before!
20 years I had organised a similar trek but including the Annapurna Sanctuary. At that time we walked along part of this ridge but now it is all a paved road. After leaving the road the route took us with various downs and ups through forest and some fields to a wayside restaurant at Damphus 1650m for lunch and soon afterwards we reached our overnight destination, Pothana 1900m. This was a village of tourist lodges typical of several which we would be visiting. There was still time for a short excursion up a hill behind the lodge where there were a few Rhododendron still in bloom to be seen. The mountains were however no longer visible and the sky looked quite threatening. We were safely inside again when a storm started, but the sky cleared again in time for us to see the sunset. Machapuchre looked particularly impressive against the darkening sky. It was actually New Year’s day according to the Nepalese calendar and the dining room was decorated with large colourful lanterns.