Annapurna Circuit — Day 16

Sunrise

Bang! Bang! Bang!

“I’m up,” I mumble. I start to put on my clothes and notice my watch says 1:30 am. I notice light creeping through the thin plywood walls. “Jules, is it time to get up?” “No,” she says, “go back to bed.”

At 4:30 another knock comes. This time it really is time to get up. I dress quickly.

We start the ascent to Poon Hill. Up steps, and more steps, and more steps until an hour and a half later we are on top of Poon Hill, along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other trekkers. Not moving, it’s chilly, even cold. We make our way to a spot at the edge of the hill. The mountains are still dark silhouettes against the early morning sky. We huddle together to keep warm. Small patches of light hesitantly appear on the snow capped peaks. Minute by minute it changes, becoming more and more bright. There’s something magical about morning. Watching the sun brighten everything makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.

After a breakfast of lemon sugar pancakes and sweet hot chocolate, we set off. This is our last morning together as a group. Abby and Essie are heading off to do the Annapurna Base Camp trek. We pose for one last group photograph – trekkers, guides, and porters.

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