徒步第二天 - 酷暑    Day 34

What kinds of things do porters carry on their back? From left: trekking and expedition supplies; food, utensils, appliances, everything needed to run a guest house in the mountain; and livestocks, which are mostly for the consumption of trekkers.

Porters, and many other matters in the annapurna mountains, are regulated by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Their load is a standard 45kg. Whereas a guide-porter can carry up to 10kg.

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10月8日 Bhulbhule -> Bahun Danda -> Gharmu

為了爭取在太陽直接射進山谷之前多走一點路,早上八時起程,雖然今天大部份時間都不是走在太陽底下,不過空氣潮濕,走起路來全身上下還是被汗濕透。今天整天在翠綠青蔥的山谷環境行走,路十分難行,都是山石堆成的路,不時要澗水及在陡直的山坡攀上爬下。雖然海拔很低,還不到一千米,卻也累得很,況且膝傷在前,每一步路走得異常小心,舉步前須瞧得清清楚楚。因為害怕再摔倒,走路時只顧目光朝地,根本沒時間看風景,加上九時多熱氣已開始襲人而來,就算停下來休息也只顧抹汗喝水。

山谷裡的村落及供應遊客的tea house的物資都靠背夫扛上山,問一個背夫,他說擔子足有45公斤。Ange 跟 Penny 嚇了一跳,連連替背夫抱不平,發揮西方人慣常的“人道精神”。其實背夫負重這情況在中國屢見不鮮,哪一座名山不是靠挑夫把旅遊發展起來?我也並非認同“應該不發展旅遊而讓挑夫不那麼辛苦”。不過當我們在為山上的物價越來越貴抱怨言、或暗地裡希望物價能便宜點的同時,又認為背夫被剝削了,是否有點偽善呢?背夫的生計、經濟發展的訴求、遊客的需要、還有bottle water破壞環境的問題,構成一連串永恒的衝突、不能解決的矛盾。

這兩天經過的tea house的餐牌全都一樣,只是價錢隨著海拔上升而已。弄一頓飯要上個把小時,山上供電也不穩,沒準整個晚上須靠蠟燭照明。熱水洗澡是沒可能的了,不過酷暑的環境,洗涼水澡也是挺舒服的。下午二時半我們到達今晚過夜的地方,Mike比我們早半小時出發,卻已經來了兩個小時。我嘆口氣跟Mike道,我真是低估了這條徒步路線的難度了!

今天九時睡覺,預備明天五時起床。

費用:食+住:736盧比 (US11.5)


Images captions (from top to bottom):

1. Lok is our lovely guide-porter. 29 years old, father to a 4 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. He studied economics in the University in Kathmandu, and therefore possesses a good command of English. After graduation, he decided to return to the mountains, where he belongs, and trained to become a guide on the annapurna range.

Lok started as a porter at the age of 15, then at 22, he earned the license to become a guide (the license is to be renew every 2 years). In these 14 years, he had circuited the annapurna over 50 times, fostered many "useful" relationships in the mountains, and is therefore able to get the best rooms with the best view for us :)

Lok is genuine in his appreciation and admiration of the nature. He upholds traditional family values, and is not shy to give me a lecture of the importance of cultivating the relationship between husband and wife.

Being the clumsiest person in the team, I was always far behind Ange and Penny on the trek. Lok would faithfully walk beside or behind me all the time, though walking slower than usual for him is tougher because he had to bear the weight longer.

I felt so blessed to have Lok to be my guide and porter. If you need someone to guide you through the Annapurnas, get Lok: lokgrg006@yahoo.com He checks emails may be once a week or two weeks, if he's on a job, he won't have access for at least 3 weeks. So be patient!

2. On the first 3 days, we trekked in subtropical humidity (200%!) , excruciating heat, and occasional storms. I started with 1 liter of water on my back but very soon, I have to maintain 2 liters to get me from one rest stop to the next, which is usually only one hour apart.

From the village of Tal (arriving on day 3) and on, every major village along the trek would have a safe drinking water station. The scheme was mandated and installed by ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project), funded by a New Zealand group, managed by the locals who receive training from ACAP. It is an effort to reduce plastic bottle disposal on the mountain by the trekkers, thus increase the sustainability of the treks, and also a mean for the locals to increase their income