Over time I want to be able to share some of my favourite photos and memories on this site, for no other reason than I quite like them. This shot was taken in Nepal in November 2007, on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. Each day we’d start fairly early (8ish) and usually break around 11am for an early (and frequently prolonged) lunch at one of the many tea-houses that dot the route. This was taken at one such lunch-stop at a little village called Jinhu, a couple of days into the walk.
This photo is of Annapurna South (7,219m), looking north up one of several valleys that winds through the foothills of the Annapurna Conservation Area outside Pokhara, Nepal. Off to the right you can see Hiunchuli (6,441m), and if you know where to look, you can also find the peak of Annapurna I, at 8,091m the world’s 10th highest peak, and the first of the 8,000ms to be climbed (read Maurice Herzog’s famous account of the 1951 ascent in the gripping “Annapurna”). Annapurna I is nestled off behind the shoulder of Annapurna South, the bulge just to the left of the col in this photograph.
The flowers look suspiciously like Marigolds to me.
This image combines a few elements I’m quite fond of. Aside from the mountains (which goes without saying), the colour contrast from the sprinkle of orange appeals very much. I also love the lushness of the forest. Although most of my shots represent the rugged mountains we saw, fully half our time was spent passing through subtropical rhododendron forests, beautiful and peaceful and incredibly thick. Unfortunately the poor light and the closeness of the trees makes photos hard to take in there, and this was one of the few that captured a bit of that greenery. Finally, I’m partial to the layering that this shot has captured, and the overhanging fronds in the top left corner add to this.
I could go on about the beauty of the trails into the Annapurna Sanctuary- and chances are, over time I will. It’s enough to say for now that the range rated then and continues to rate now as one of my favourite places on earth. It is among the most peaceful, removed places I’ve visitied, and the scenery swings from the rich, cool, oxygen-soaked glades of impassable forest to the dizzying heights of ice-shrouded peaks towering six, seven and eight kilometres into the atmosphere. I am not usually a big fan of retracing my footsteps- once I have been to a place, I am usually satisfied to move on for a time. The Annapurna Sanctuary is an exception to this rule and I am gagging to get back. That, and the last time I was there my camera broke down, so I have a whole long list of shots I still need to get…