Poon Hill
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Himalayan Swimming Holes: AKA Icy Waterfalls
On the second day of our trek to Poon Hill in the Annapurna Sanctuary, my friend Brill and I stumbled upon this absolutely gorgeous waterfall pulsing through a deep, green canyon. It was the early morning—about 7:30 when we first got to the river and it was quite cold outside. About 53 degrees cold. And then we dipped our feet into the water and it was quite cold. About 53 degrees cold. Yet somehow, after much heated discussion, Brill and I established that jumping into this waterfall was quite simply something we had to do. Forget the frigid water, forget the frigid air—we didn't come to Nepal to stay warm and safe and dry. So I stripped down to my board shorts and hopped up on the little ledge on the right. I dropped to the ground and pumped out 20 pushups—doing whatever I could to jack up my body temperature. And then I jumped. The water was ice. Absolutely freezing. I surfaced immediately and stroked hard for shore. Adrenaline ripped through my veins. After about 20 seconds, I stumbled onto land—swearing loudly, cursing the brutal cold, laughing at my shaking hands. And I felt so darn alive.
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Sunrises and Massive Mountains
On the third day of our trek into the Annapurna Sanctuary, my friend Brill and I woke up at 4:30 to summit Poon Hill. Our goal: to watch the sun rise over the legendary Himalayas--specifically Dhaulagiri I and Annapurna I--two of the world's ten tallest mountains. We got off to a bit of a slow start as we struggled to find enough clothes to combat the biting cold. To make up for it, we blitzed up the hill--gasping for breath and shedding layers as our body temperature soared through the roof. After about thirty pressing minutes, with the sky all the while lighting up the trail at our feet, we emerged at the summit. And were greeted to this breathtaking view. The morning sun peeking its orangish rays over Annapurna South. For about an hour, we rested on the summit, embracing the yellow orange painting the sky, reveling in the serenity of the wind-swept grass and colorful prayer flags, marveling at the 8000 meter high peaks. We descended Poon Hill with spirits as high as the Himalayas--so ridiculously grateful to be witness to Nepal's incredible beauty.
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