Days 1 and 2: Depart Pokhara & Trek to Chansu
(O/nt Altitude 900m/5 hrs) then to Sikles (O/nt Altitude 1,700m/6 hrs approx.)
Rendezvous in Pokhara at Himalayan Encounters’ Base Camp for breakfast. During the first 2 days we have trekked up alongside the Mardi Khola River into this high, pastoral world – a world of friendly villages, terraced fields, alpine meadows and rhododendron forest to Sikles which is set before a back-drop of snow-clad peaks. A short steep walk up through high pastures above a delightful Gurung village reveals many of the giants of the Annapurnas. Annapurna IV (7,525m), Annapurna II (7,937m) and the monolithic hulk of Lamjung Himal, with its dozen or more summits; All are impressively above 6,500m while sliding down from the heights of Annapurna II is the huge icefall and glacier, the origin of the Mardi Khola. (B,L,D)
Day 3: To Tara Top
(O/nt Altitude 2,900m/6 hrs approx.)
From our campsite above Sikles, we trek westwards with the snow-capped peaks to our right. Soon after lunch we make the steep climb up to our night’s perch; a grassy wooded knoll that we know as Tara Top (Starlight Top) at 3,025m.
This is the vantage-point for spectacular 360-degree views that include most of the Annapurna massif - not to mention half of central Nepal including the Himalayan foothills dropping away towards the Ganges and the Indian plains. Frequently clear skies at dusk and dawn leave indelible impressions of sunset and sunrise on photographs and memory alike. (B,L,D)
Day 4: To Bhurjung Khola
(O/nt Altitude 1,000m/6-7 hrs approx.)
Our return journey follows a wholly different route. This is a trail roughly following the 2,500m contour through the shady forest of rhododendron hung heavy with lichen and moss, wild flowers on the sunnier banks and wild orchids attached to the branches above us. Finally we descend steeply to Bhurjung Khola village, where we camp near the little school with now distant views of Machhapuchare. (B,L,D)
Day 5: To Pokhara
(1 hr trek approx.)
We follow the tumbling stream to the edge of the Pokhara valley to be met by transport, which will return us to our Pokhara Base Camp. End of Expedition. (B, D).
MEAL CODES: (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)