Day 4:  To High Camp
(O/nt Altitude 4,100m/4 hrs approx.) Just a short, steep climb and we are out of the forest.  A ridge, now grassy and sometimes under snow, takes us up to High Camp which we shall reach at lunch time and where a second consecutive afternoon is spent acclimatising and awestruck by the views.  Annapurna South seems near enough to throw a rock at and Machhapuchare itself close enough to touch. (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Above High Camp
(O/nt Altitude 5,000m and beyond/5 hrs approx.)  Our breakfast will be earlier than usual.  Then with packed lunch we set off to reach our objective.  Conditions being favourable, our party should reach up to 5,000m and only the crest of Mardi Himal itself separates us from the south face of Machhapuchare.  The great ice fields and blue glaciers of the Sanctuary Wall lie below.  Annapurna I, highest of all is beyond, and around us, and an arc from horizon to horizon, from Dhaulagiri to the Ganesh Himal, are a dozen or more glistening snow-bound giants.  You are standing on a spot that has been your constant aim for days now.  A place, a time, a view that is almost impossible to equal – and you’ve earned it.  Whatever our achievement, by 1300 we need to descend, returning to the welcome steaming mug, the hot food, the shelter of High Camp. (B,L,D)

(If weather conditions require it, we shall descend through High Camp to trek on down to a re-established Low Camp to spend the night there.)

Day 6:  To Siding Village
(O/nt Altitude 1,750m/6-7hrs approx.)  After a relaxed breakfast, tired bodies make an unhurried decent through the shade of the forest and out onto terraced fields, down 1600m in all.  This is a different route down – down to the upper Mardi Khola, the torrent that has been the ice and snow of the Mardi Himal.  Although remote and still away from all the much-used ‘Tea-house’ trekking routes, our expedition now takes on the mood of the arm valley and the friendly villages.  Here we make our way along the banks of the Mardi Khola from the hill-side village of Siding, down through the lovely fields, past the simple farms and over the interesting bridges.  There is no doubting this is indeed idyllic Nepali countryside. (B,L,D)

Day 7:  To Pokhara
(O/nt Altitude 915m/6hrs approx.)  So the Earth does have flat places!  The path from Siding now follows the contour of the river valley gradually down between the pastures and through Tamang and Gurung villages.  Further on the trail skirts an outcrop – there’s the road, and there’s our transport, and soon we’re back in Pokhara at our Base Camp and a final celebratory dinner. End of Expedition (B,D)

MEAL CODES:  (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

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