Friday, May 23, 2008

Around Annapurna 2008: Day 14

Trekking the Annapurna Road. Nikon D300, 18-200mm at 95mm, 1/320 f/9, ISO 200.

April 29: Kalopani - Tatopani
The road is now complete between Kalopani and Tatopani. That night in Kalopani, I heard the roar of a motorcycle outside my guesthouse. It was the first time I’d heard a motorized vehicle at night on the trek and it seemed out of place in the small Himalayan village.


The dilemma of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) is to merge the need for progress for the people of Nepal with the demands of trekkers. No one likes to walk on the road. Not only is it just plain ugly, trekkers have to compete for space on the narrow mountain road with vehicles traveling at unsafe speeds.

Alternative routes are slowly beginning to open up. The future of the Annapurna Circuit may be on a trail that deviates significantly from the present Annapurna Circuit trail… and that’s fine. The trail is already different from my first Annapurna Circuit trek 20 years ago, but the essence of the experience is the same. Trekkers will still come to share that experience.


Strangely, more people decide to take the road from Kalopani to Tatopani than the old trail which lies on the other side of the river. Walking on the road is easier and faster than walking the old trail. Given the choice between taking the easy but ugly road, or harder but more scenic trail, many choose the road.

Dhaulagiri Lodge: Rooms **1/2 Food *****

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