November 01 , 2008: Today Lynn’s Poon Hill Gang found our very own Poon Hill....

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Shari Gent

Today Lynn’s Poon Hill Gang found our very own Poon Hill. We were awakened at a comfortable 6 AM by our gracious Peak Promotion crew with a cup of hot tea or black coffee and had a tasty breakfast of Tibetan bread and eggs or fruit porridge (oatmeal). We then stepped outside to enjoy a fine view of the “white mountains” – Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak, Annapurna, Annapurna South, and Fish Tail (in that order from left to right). Soon we started on our way to Tadapani.

We had ups and downs all day, but first the ups. Although we missed the 5 am call for the two-hour hike up Poon Hill, the views that we had were equally spectacular. In fact, according to Mingmar, one of our guides, we hiked to an elevation of over 10,000 feet. Fish Tail was our constant companion. This mountain has never been completely scaled, although some Germans tried in the 1970’s. Since then, the government has declared the mountain to be “sacred” and no one is permitted to climb it. After enjoying the view from a drink stand on the outskirts of Deurali, we started our descent. Soon clouds of fog began to move across the face of the mountains. Ming Mar commented that “the mountains are shy. They must be covered up now.”

We descended lower into a river valley and sooner rather than later stopped for lunch in the town of Deurali where many of us, thinking of family and friends, did some shopping. After an extended 2-hour lunch, we continued our descent into a peaceful forest along a river on a sometimes muddy path. Many wild flowers including gentian violets brightened our path. We crossed the stream several times. After having cold drinks and catching up on a little more shopping in Banthanti, where we had originally planned to have lunch, we crept up a muddy path. There used to be monkeys in this area of Annapurna Park, but they have been scared away by people. We took a wrong turn which Mingmar skillfully discerned was an animal path, just in the nick of time. As we
began our gradual climb to our hotel at Tadapani, we passed the horseman leading an empty horse, and heard the happy news that one of Lynn’s Poon Hill Gang had arrived safely. We soon gratefully arrived, a little tired but also rejuvenated by the spectacular views and peaceful forest walk we experienced that day.