Trekking Around the Annapurna Range via Phu, Nar & Tillicho Lake
The Annapurna circuit is one of the world’s classic treks, and as a result it’s also one of the most popular. Annie and I decided to go there in the off-season, mid winter, when most of the lodges are closed, and the night is cold. However, the trails are not crowded and if luck is on your side, the weather offer a formidably sky-blue! We planned to be on the trail for 20 nights, with 10 nights of camping. I hired 4 porter/guides to carry help carry food and camping gear for now 6 of us in total.
A few highlights: On day 4 we turned off the main trail and headed north into a restricted permit area near the Tibet border where the breathtaking villages of Phu and Nar are located. The extremely narrow and precipitous Phu river valley was an ancient salt trade route to Tibet, and is definitely not recommended for those with a fear of heights! To get back to the main Annapurna trail we hiked over the Kang La/pass at 5,390m. Beyond the village of Manang, and with the weather in our favor, we decided to take a less used and more demanding trail to our end point at Jomson via spectacular azure-blue Tillicho Lake (at 4,950m., our highest campsite), and over the Mesokanto La/pass (5,120m.). The descent from this pass is quite precipitous and we used a simple rope in some parts, but gladly didn’t need to wear our crampons. Like so many of Nepal’s longer treks, this was an adventure that that we’d readily take on again!