November 20th 2009: Day 15
There has been such extraodinary contrast between the 1st and 2nd halves of the circuit. After crossing the Thorong La pass, many see the 2nd half as a largely featureless dusty walk back to Pokhara. Many either take a bus back or, better yet, take a plane. For many of us, there’s a curious tug of war in our hearts. Our bodies are tired and broken, the landscape is cold and depressing, and every day as we hike along we are well aware that comfort is just a bus ride away. And so the question becomes: do I succumb to the lure of comfort, or do I press on for the full experience of the Annapurna Circuit?
But then I find myself asking is comfort what I really want? Would I really want to be in Kathmandu any sooner? For what? Just to eat food and bounce around like a tourist in gift shop pinball machine?
Hell no! These mountains are most definitely the jewels of Nepal. To be in their presence is to feel small and shudder at such tremendous works of evolutionary art. My view as I write this is the jagged beauty of Annapurna jutting out from behind a lush green evergreen forest.
To remain on the Circuit unfolds the remainder of the story. Every day we enter into radically different landscapes. From Muktinath’s barren tundra, you come upon Kageben’s massive river valley, into Marphas windy plains. Then you come upon the pleasant alpine environment of Kalopani, just a day before you reach the tropical paradise of Tadopani. Eventually I arrive at a firm decision: I will continue walking.
I’m so grateful for sun and warmth today. This is first time in over a week that I can actually say I’m comfortable. I’m taking refuge on the roof of this guesthouse basking in sunshine with journal, a book, and a bottle of water.
In Marpha, I picked up 1000 Splendid Suns. I’m loving the book but am appalled by the things that I read. One sentence causes me to put the book down for a while and daze off into the sunshine.
“I will use a flower petal for paper
and write you the sweetest letter”