Amidst the cool breeze, our footsteps echoed atop Annapurna Base Camp, scattering relics of memories we have made on this very trip. From our first ride in Kathmandu to our last dinner together, every laugh, yelp, and tear only brought us closer. This trip not only gave us the experience of a lifetime but also helped us form memories that we will never forget.
Groggy from the first flight to Kathmandu, our journey officially began. From that day onwards, we were greeted with flashes of colours that symbolised the bright Nepali culture. We had only met each other – most training hikes were cancelled because of the weather – but little did we know about the relationships that would be formed and forever remembered deep in our hearts. The weather was chilly; something we were not quite used to yet. But the heartiness of the city radiated warmth from within as if welcoming us into the exuberance of its culture. This was the true beginning of our adventure.
As we dived deeper into the pits of Nepal, we found ourselves in Pokhara; the gateway to the Annapurna Circut. This city was like no other. Instead of bustling streets and traffic, we were met with sounds of cheer and laughter, followed by jovial music and dancing. Nepali culture was so different yet so similar, and we felt as if we were a part of their community. After that 10-hour bus ride, it felt relieving to finally be able to appreciate the unique culture of Nepal.
Panting up the steps to Sinuwa (2340 M), we knew these were the first-ever steps towards our destination. We didn’t know what to expect; the weather was warm, the sun was immense, and the uphill never seemed to end. Every step upward was met with another full set of steps. But determination and perseverance radiated off of everyone; no one was ready to give up. The beginning might be tough, but the ending will always be worth it.
Night fell quickly, and we were engulfed in the foreign darkness that was Deurali (3200 M). This day was particularly tough, but the day before prepared us for the exhaustion. With sweat beading our foreheads, our day began with a path uphill. Pumping with adrenaline, we were buzzing with excitement. After all, this path would bring us to waterfalls and streams and into valleys with people and music and lodges. It was a day of exploration and a day of tenacity, which soon turned into a night of comfort and unity.
Annapurna Base Camp (4130 M). Our final destination. The first sight of snow brought sparkles to everyone’s eyes, especially after the anguish from the night before. Altitude sickness began to hit everyone like a pile of bricks. Initially, it was the headache, then the dizziness, then the retching. No medication could fully relieve us of the torment. But it was not over yet. Our goal stood right in front of us, and backing out would become our sole source of future regret. And so we pushed into the snowy mountains ahead, fingers firmly gripping our hiking sticks, our feet plunging into the ground.
This trek of expectations quickly turned into a journey of resilience, drive, and memories where every step took us deeper and deeper into the true depths of ourselves. We found strength when we needed it, trust when we never expected it, and faith when everything seemed to feel hopeless. In the end, it was the process of self-belief which pushed us to our potential, forming unbreakable friendships with our groups, connections with our supporters (guides and porters), and relationships with ourselves.
Written by Group 4, Annapurna Base Camp 2023