Nayapool, Birethanti and Ulleri; Nepal
I have always wanted to visit the Himalayas, but when I arrived in Nepal, I was disappointed to learn that most trekking packages cost about three to four hundred American dollars. It seemed quite exorbitant for a four day trip, but everyone assured me that the price was necessary; it included the cost of the trekking permits, gear, and a guide.
I mulled it over for a few days, and then started thinking: was it really necessary to hire a guide? Couldn't I devise my own route and carry all my own gear? (Now would be a good time to insert that I was getting over two unrelated illnesses, I hadn't worked out in months and I didn't have any gear. Also, I had no idea just how difficult trekking through the Himalayas would be. Brilliant.)
It turns out that you CAN trek through the Himalayas by yourself! The Annapurna Circuit is a moderate trek, and the path couldn't be more clear, because there's only one path through the mountains. If you hired a guide, his only function would be to point at various arrows confirming your path and tell you to keep walking. Yep. Worth every penny.
My trek was four days and three nights. I got a late start, since I didn't realize that you needed trekking permits, and it took an hour for the travel agent's office to fill them out. I was a bit worried about getting started in the late afternoon, but I met two awesome travelers, and we decided to do the trek together, since we were visiting the same places.
Read on for more details!