April 2010. Manang, Nepal
It was the fifth day of my trek around Annapurna. As on all previous days I started pretty early, at 6am, to avoid the sun and the heat which can be quite tiring at that time of the year. The plan for the day was to get to the village of Manang as soon as possible and spend the rest of the day getting used to the altitude. It was essential, as I was heading towards Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters (17,769 ft), which as you can appreciate is quite high.
Manang happened to be stunning. The village itself is rather typical Himalayan dwelling, but the location makes is a real gem. It lays in the big valley surrounded by snow peaked mountains. All of that makes this place one of the most picturesque parts of trek around Annapurna.
I got there around midday. I checked in to a guesthouse, had a quick lunch of fried noodles (standard menu item on the trek) and set for exploring the village. It is a rather small place, so after about 30 minutes I had it all covered. The day was still young, so I decided to visit a nearby lake. I knew about it from my friends who had visited Manang a few months earlier. They had loved the place and told me I had to see it.
It was only 20-minute walk from the village, but because most of it was up hill (and Manang is on 3,519 meters or 11,545 ft) I was quite tired by the time I got to the lake. But then it was.
At first it seemed quite ordinary, but there was something magical about the place. The water was blue. Very blue. I quickly discovered why that was – the lake was fed by a melting glacier. And because glaciers have huge concentration of oxygen they tend to get really blue. The water was slowly seeping through the rocks and the dirt which created this amazing contrast pattern.