I woke up with a sharp throbbing pain in my left inner thigh at around 5 am this morning. It still felt very cold although I had on me 3 layers of clothing; thermal undergarments, fleece jacket and down jacket. The cold caused my muscle to constrict in its attempt to prevent heat loss and thus the uncontrollable pain began. Tiptoed out of the room as quietly as I could with my rucksack and sleeping bag but unintentionally stirred up the girl from Singapore. Ms. W wondered what was wrong with me so I broke to her gently that I had a pain in my leg before leaving the room.
Still drowsy from the lack of sleep, I sluggishly packed my stuffs before attending to the rest of my morning routines. Some moment later, the beautiful French and Italian couple staying next door that we all met yesterday night during dinner woke up, freshen up then quickly set off at approximately 6am. We only kept to each other last night as we had interesting enough topics to discuss among ourselves. Besides, the French-Italian couple exuded an aura of haughtiness.
My porter appeared in front of our room shortly after. I had breakfast before bidding farewell to the girls at 7 am. I knew we would run into each other again soon on the way to the base camp. The people one meet while going up will almost be the same set of people one will also see when descending.
Based on my unfavorable condition, my porter decided that we should just trek to MACHHAPUCHHRE BASE CAMP (MBC). There happened to be an avalanche on the way to the Annapurna Base Camp. My legs with a mind of their own might not survive the snow. Without crampons, I was at risk of slipping thus possibility of twisted ankles were taken into consideration. Despite having purchased a travel insurance with emergency helicopter evacuation, I was not prepared to break the bank for the time-being as I still had 3 weeks of pilgrimage with my sister. It was the best impromptu plan B we agreed upon at that point in time.
On the way to MBC, we passed by the Modi Khola valley. The valley was just so breathtakingly phenomenal. A wonderful place for picnic but also an avalanche prone area. The vegetation were unique and interesting in their own way. The Annapurna glacier could be seen from afar. The valley gave out an almost fairytale like vibe.
It was sunny and windy when we finally arrived at MBC. The weather was perfect enough to capture several shots of the fishtail shaped mountain up-closed. Surprisingly, the girls were waiting for me at the Gurung Co-Operative Guesthouse. We had morning tea together, took group photos and hugged before they resumed their journey to ABC.
I was neither ashamed nor regretted my choice. On the contrary, I believed it was meant to be. A pilgrimage is after all a spiritual journey to a sacred place. Macchapucchre is a revered mountain due to the fact that it has never been summited by anyone. Also, I can always return whenever I’m ready. Nepal is only 4 hours of flight away from home.
Life has a charming way of unraveling one’s purpose. We might begin a journey with a certain assumption and end up with an entirely different outcome.