The high point
Maya reaches Ranipauwa giggly and hungry, eats well and sleeps right through the night, ticking all the acclimatisation boxes. But the next day, a gentle 100-metre climb to explore Muktinath Temple proves a hike too far and our chirpy child turns suddenly and uncharacteristically tired and teary.
Recognising the symptoms of acute mountain sickness, we retreat downhill. Just 15 minutes later Maya has made a stunning recovery, giggling and cracking jokes and running ahead. Her dad David piggybacks her back down the valley to our Kagbeni hotel. The drama is over but, with another eight days of trekking ahead, including a climb to Poon Hill’s famous Annapurna vista, we call a rest day and regroup.
Reaching Poon Hill’s 3210-metre lookout is literally the high point of the trip and eyeballing the Annapurna massif in clear, close view is a lucky break on this monsoon-season trek.
We walk back to Pokhara on the home run, carefully treading 1000 rainy, knee- cracking steps past waterfalls and swimming holes and through bamboo forest, nibbling samosas and apples as we go.
Our trek ends with a divine hot shower, fresh clothes, chilly beers and much-craved hot chips. We download photos and reminisce, even after only this short time wishing ourselves back on the trail to superb mountain views, intriguing cultures and accommodating teahouses in the world’s highest hiking wonderland.