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You Are a Monkey, I Am a Donkey

Kumar rocks. That’s just all there is to say. (Candace)

Annapurna Circuit: Day 2

Jagat to Dharapani

Distance: 15 Kilometers

Elevation climbed: 600 meters

Final elevation: 1900 meters above sea level

Calories burned: 2,100

Today was, hands down, the most difficult hike I’ve done to date.  There were certainly days on the Camino when I was cursing the world as I hiked up the steep hills in the heat with little water.  But at no time did I ever question my own safety, until today.

The upside of trekking the Himalayas during monsoon season is that you see wondrous waterfalls at every turn.  These things are powerful.  And what we would normally cross as little trickles through man-made irrigation systems and walking paths has turned into a series of full-fledged, water-spewing cascades.

And those walking paths?  Well, they are now more suited for knee-high wading, and the rocks have become extremely slippery.  And since nothing is worse than hiking in wet socks, we refused to take our chances, so we removed them and waded through the cold water on the slippery surface.  And in today’s sequence of challenges, Andrew even secured four leeches on his feet and ankles.

At times the water was so strong that I needed Kumar, our guide, to hold my hand and pull me to the other side. And, at the most intimidating water blockade, he took off his shoes and socks, dropped my backpack (which he has been carrying for me), and carried me across on his back.

He was singing a song at one point today that had one English line, “You are a monkey, I am a donkey,” poking fun at the trekkers and their porters.  I couldn’t help but dance to his tune, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t have made it through the day without him.

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