We spent about two weeks walking in the Himalaya before heading back to Kathmandu. We went to a region not too far from Kathmandu called Langtang / Gosiankunda so we fortunately missed the deadly avalanche.
The trek was pretty incredible: stunning scenery, great company, good weather, and delicious food. For the most part, the weather was incredibly good – good temperatures and clear skies. We hired a porter-guide, Sandesh, to help us along the way. We really lucked out, he was a great guy and we enjoyed spending a little over two weeks with him.
The scenery speaks for itself. Never have been around such incredible beauty; I hope to come back again in the future. There’s an immense tranquility at the higher elevations – no planes, no car noises, no Harley Davidson noises, no pollution, no/very few people, no cell phones, no radios, etc. It was so wonderfully awesome to completely avoid all the annoying sounds of humanity, I was quickly brought back to the numerous times I took off into the Black Hill and found my little corner of clarity in nature. The experience was a great reminder that I greatly enjoy being disconnected and having my own tranquil space free from the pollution of others. It was also great that I was able to share this experience with Jacquelyn; she has never hiked in this high of elevation, which is an experience in itself. It’s really hard to describe hiking / walking / trekking above 14,000ft: the sun is brighter, sounds carry further, there’s less pollution, and things just seem so much better!
We met all sorts of people on the trail from many different countries. tree huggers (literally came across a group of Brits hugging a huge tree, they asked me to take a photo of them), individuals trekking by themselves, huge groups of trekkers and porters, older individuals (70s-ish), people with very little gear / preparation (no sleeping bags, no coats, but just jeans and a sweater), and people with every last accessory (including matching bandanna). We did not meet many people around our age (early 30s) and those we did meet were all in Nepal for a short time because they had to get back to their jobs. We met a new group of people we didn’t quite enjoy being around and those are Israeli tourists. Quite a loud and obnoxious bunch seemingly oblivious to those they are around.
In order to pass the time, Jacquelyn and I read books and played cribbage. Before we left, we decided to have a cribbage contest which we aptly called “the Great Himalayan Cribbage Championship”. We decided the winner of the tournament would get to spend $40 or more at a restaurant of their choosing at a date of their choosing. Here in Kathmandu, a $40 dinner for two is quite luxurious. We played during the course of the trek and I was completely victories, utterly defeating Jacquelyn with exactly one victory to her zero. It was a great victory and I will reminder her for years to come.
The biggest surprise was the Nepali people. Talk about a bunch of very strong, very tough, very friendly people. For example, Sandesh, our porter-guide, is probably 5’3″ and I think I have somewhere around a 120lbs on him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could bench press me. No matter what, he always had a smile on his face and was ready to go, even after eight hours of hiking misery and two family tragedies (uncle and cousin killed in Annapurna avalanche, child in ICU) during our trek.
We, at least me, didn’t have the huge, life altering, experience that many other people claim to have while trekking in the Himalaya. In fact, I feel pretty much the same as when I arrived. Sure, it was pretty, sure it was great to experience all the cultural difference, and yes it was very rewarding hard work, but it was just another awesome experience we’ve had on our trip – not a life altering experience which completely changes the way I think about life. I am OK with this, I didn’t think anything was wrong with me to begin with so there’s no reason why I needed the life altering experience :).
I broke up the photos into two groups. One group of 83 photos shows the various experiences on the trail. The next group of photos are artistic (if you can call it that) photos of the things we saw on the trail, pretty much mountain views. The second album of full of pretty stuff but no real content.
After the trek we went back to Kathmandu and hung out for almost two weeks. I’ll write about that later.
Enjoy the photos!