Days of Solitude

by Daniel Hofmann

It’s been almost two months now since I trekked to the Annapurna Basecamp and Poon Hill. It was a special journey for me because it’s something you don’t see every day and I met some special people along the way. I was bitching a lot about the many steps I had to climb — my travel companions can definitely confirm that — but pushing through was probably one of the best choices I made during my travels through India and Nepal.

The Annapurna Basecamp Trek is a tourist favorite, but I went there in the cold season of January and I didn’t encounter many of them. With one exception: because of their holiday season I met several groups from South Korea. Most of the time, though, I could enjoy the silence of solitude. What surprised me the most about the trek was the sheer amount of forest I had to walk through. When you see pictures of Nepal, the snowy mountains are a dominant theme so I didn’t expect areas that reminded me of a rainforest. Unexpectedly beautiful!

There was a lot of trekking up and sliding down, only to hike up again. The weight of my photography gear on my shoulders wasn’t helping either, but when I saw the porters carrying sixty kilogram cages with living chickens up the mountain, I knew that I should stop whining about my backpack — I still did at times. At the end it was worth every step because standing on a thick layer of fresh snow surrounded by gigantic mountains and nothing but the sound of avalanches in the distance was just pure magic.