From Chame, we decided to take the Upper Pisang route versus Lower Pisang. Our guide Min told us the views were much better from the upper route but it was much longer than the Lower Pisang route. He recommended taking an extra day and staying at Ngawal. We need we had extra days at the back, so we took two days for Upper Pisang. We’re glad we did because this was one of our favorite sections of the trek!
Above a certain altitude, the deciduous plants give away and you enter a pine forest. The contrast is pretty amazing. I felt like we could have been hiking in Colorado and the pine smells were so fragrant.
You also pass by bright green wheat fields on the way which was a beautiful contrast with the blue sky.
Right before you get to Ghyaru village, there is a killer 40 minute uphill climb that we had to do in the hot sun. I think this is where I started feeling sick from the altitude since Ghyaru is at 3,670 m/12,040 ft. Many people will start to feel the effects of altitude starting at 3,000 m. At this altitude, you only breathe in about 70% of the oxygen you would normally receive at sea level, and when we would get to the pass, we will only be getting 50% of oxygen per breath. You really feel it on the uphill, constantly being out of breath.
Good thing there was a fantastic view at the top for my reward! We could see the peaks of Annapurna 2 (7937m) and 4 (7525m).
By the time we got to Ngawal for lunch, I was not feeling well at all! Nothing to do except wait it out and see if you feel better in the morning. I didn’t start taking the Diamox, because we had a rest day in Manang coming up to help acclimate and I wanted to see if I would feel better by then.
In Ngawal, it snowed all night, so we had a snow covered morning!
It was beautiful (but cold!) watching the sun come up over the mountains and amazing to have such an incredibly close view of them. Every morning we usually got up at 6am to get an early start and be at a village for lunch.