While his guitar gently smiles! Dinesh Wagle poses with Matt’s guitar at Kang La Pass. Pic by Matt
Nagwal: Today, as I am writing these lines, we are in Nagwal. We arrived here some two hours ago. Main attraction of the day was undoubtedly the 5300 meters high Kang La (bhangyang) pass. We started the trek early in the morning, around 5:30, nearly 1.5 hours ahead of normal schedule. It was obviously cold in the morning and as we headed upward and met encountered the first rays of sun, I replaced the down jacked with wind jacket.
Dinesh Wagle at the top of Kang La Pass Pic by Wanda
Now after crossing over the pass, I tend to forget all the pains and struggles that all of us had to go through. Being at the pass was simply superb. The majestic view of the Annapurna range is indescribable. I must use the word beautiful though that’s not enough. I think the painful and boring process of walking was obviously forgettable. At one point I was utterly disappointed to learn that the pass was still far away. I thought the pass was just behind the hill that I was climbing. No, that wasn’t. It was just a beginning of another uphill. So disappointing I was disappointed twice. I hated the trail. I wasn’t enjoying the scene because my concentration was in the walking. That was when I was barely moving and hardly breathing. I wanted to sleep there. I didn’t want to see upward because the pass was still far away.
But there was something that was pushing me upward all the time. The internal force. The desire to be at the top. Also the fears of possible descend back to Chame via Nar. What if I can’t walk? I might have to go back, all the way to Nar and Meta and Chame. That would be disastrous.
Wanda, Carole, Matt and Dough were already at the top as we approached a small lake just below the pass. Just below? Only for the eyes, it took more than 15 minutes to reach at the top from that point.
The Kang La Pass Show 1: Three women bared it all at the TOP of the pass. Here in the photo, Matt is seen (can you see him?) capturing the image.
As I reached at the top, I started loving the same trail. I was feeling great. Such is the nature of love and hate in such highs. You love the trail that you hated a minute ago. You start enjoying the scenery that you didn’t want to enjoy a minute ago. Now, as I was at the top, I was adding my voice and we were screaming at others who were still trailing behind. That was fun.
There were two other attractions at the pass, thanks to out team members.
First, it was the pair of Gyanu and Matt stripping off for the camera. Facing the Annapurna Range on south-west, the duo threw away their shirts and pulled down pants amidst roaring laughter from trekking members. Then there was a team of Annapurna Angels (Wanda, Jenn and Carol) that exposed their breasts to the brightness coming from the Annapurna range and the camera operated by Matt. Some might say Matt took such a long time to take photo but I would say no! I must have been difficult to shot photo in such a height with mountains all around.
The Kanga La Pass Show 2: Two men bared it all at the top of the pass.
I also tried to capture the scene (well, the scene would include Matt taking picture, not the subjects of his photos) and for that I had to delete an image to make space in my card. Enough with the photo-ups. Now the super steep moraine path that starts right from the Kang La pass and descends down to Nagwal. Down from 5300 meters to 3600 meters, that too in less than two hours! The trail seems so dangerous while walking over it but when you look upward from Nagwal, it doesn’t seem as dangerous. This is the specialty of trails in the highlands. You have to go there to experience the top.
Tonight was the night of farewell. Margriet, Carol and Dough will be leaving for the Annapurna circuit (crossing over the Thorang La) where as rest of the team will climb down to Khudi. Shyam Bhatta, the fabulous cook, made a beautiful cake baked by using two different pots (it was quite challenging, he said). Drinking and dancing were on the card. Gyanu, the sardar, distributed Raskhi to all folks. Boys started singing in the tunes of Madal. The ceremony was beautiful though I could sense that the Rakshi was starting to work more than Gyanu and his team of singers.