Thursday 4 November
Bhulbhule to Sange (1136m)
Itinerary: DAY 4 Sange (1,136m) Continue to Ngadi (930m) with views of Manaslu, Peak 29 and Lamjung Himal. Then crossing a suspension bridge over the Musi Khola we gradually climb to a ridge top
Our first full day on the Annapurna Circuit. Routine is a 6 am wake up call - "Tea, coffee" and we get tea in bed. Then, water for washing is brought in two bowls, steaming.
We dress and pack the kit bag and day sack. Then breakfast is leisurely - banana porridge, toast and omelette. Porters receive their loads and the tents are taken down. We set off at 8 am, in the shade of the valley, through the village where Sanjeev pays a 'Trade Union' toll at a small booth.
The trail is a busy one, with trekkers, porters, mules and locals ploughing up and down. There is much of interest - large spiders sit in the centre of big webs, luckily higher than the path. Bird song can be heard above the river near an overhanging cliff.
There were a few long waterfalls. The ripe rice fields saw activity of cutting the stems, threshing using buffalo etc. Between the fields, soya beans were being picked and laid beside the path. When the sun reached the path at 9 am, the rice fields glowed yellow and it became quite warm.
Many tea houses line the route, with names such as 'Sore Back Restaurant' or 'Himalchuli View Guest House'. At about 11:30, a stop for lemon tea - this was a delaying tactic to prevent us from arriving for lunch too early.
We watched two 'buteos' - large birds of prey circling above.
A descent follows lunch and views are of lovely terracing all along the valley. We have lost the snow capped Manaslu that could be seen for a lot of the morning.
The path is good, but involves undulations, frequent stream crossings, and stepping between steps or boulders. Much of today has been deep in vegetation, with lots of trees and shrubs to be seen.
Crossing one stream, Mark spotted a green 5-inch long praying mantis, which didn't take too kindly to Martin's stroking!
Camp was reached at 4 ish, our yellow tents across the river from Sange. A large suspension bridge leads across to houses nestled close in to the hillside. Martin and I explored briefly before our washing water arrived, followed by tea, then dinner at 6:30. Tomato soup and prawn crackers, then vegetable spring rolls and other veg. We splashed out on beers.
NB Chortens seen today, around which you walk on your right hand side.
Which came first, the chicken man or the egg man? (Relating to porters carrying live chickens or trays of eggs.) In this case it was the chicken man.
Then UNO - Lindy won - in bed for 9 pm.