The daytime weather was often shorts and short-sleeves warm, while the evenings were always down jacket crisp and cold.
Along the way we encountered a few unfortunate souls who needed to turn back on account of altitude or microbe-induced illnesses. There were relatively few trekkers doing the Manaslu Circuit and after a few days of hiking, a pleasant sense of comraderie developed amongst our small intrepid community.
While trying to remain mindfully present-focused, it was difficult not to anticipate the big challenge ahead - namely the crossing of the 5,160 metre high-altitude pass, the Larke La. There were morale-sapping stories circulating of how the pass had been made impassible due to heavy snow fall and how the stone huts at Dharnashala were eventually overwhelmed with trekkers which in turn lead to food and fuel shortages and an eventual decision by the owner to shut the establishment down entirely. Our guide remained optimistic and shepherded us along. Indeed, the snow subsided and the place opened up one day before we arrived! The 5 AM start in -17º C was nevertheless magical with one zillion stars lighting the way. The problems really only began on the way down. The topography on the descent was a treacherous massive skating rink. Everyone was sliding and falling, sometimes dangerously close to the edge. I had one especially harrowing brush with what could have been an "into the void" -type encounter. Bracing myself with my trekking pole, I said a spontaneous prayer of thanks upon hauling myself up.
The Himalayan views were mind-bendingly spectacular. The people we met in the villages were consistently warm, hospitable and gracious. Looking forward to a return visit.
Happy Trails Everyone.