Friday, November 24, 2006


This whole blog concept is new to me - an online journal for all to see - interesting. I am wondering if you are finding this interesting! The categorization concept helps I suppose... SO - the topic of this post is a highlight/summary of my Nepal Trekking Journey.

I had arrived in Kathmandu with very little sleep - body slowing down and my mind was finding it difficult to make any decisions. However, it was Friday and I needed to deal with some logistical issues before the weekend if I was going to optimize the time here. So, I "pulled some triggers" as my good friend Paulo would say. I lined up the guide, booked a bus to Pokhara for Sunday Nov 19, and booked a return flight for Thursday, Nov 23. Pradip - my guide - would turn out to be a huge bonus. English Speaking, always smiling, always positive, and genuinely interested in me and helping me to achieve the goals I had set out for. And - young and strong enough to keep up!

THE GOAL: Poon Hill Circuit out of Pokhara in three days.

I was told that that trek takes 5 or 6 days. I decided that us Jackson Hole folk weren't like those "normal" people and went for it.

The bus ride to Pokhara was about 7 hours long. I slept most of the way as my sleep patterns were crazy and I has only gotten about 2 hours the night before (plus it was Saturday night in Kathmandu!) I made my first (and hopefully the last) major error of the trip. I got out my camera from the top of the bus during lunch and left the wide angle lens on the top of the bus. Yes - I know Stephen - it was your lens to start out with. And yes, I still owe you a wide angle lens! Umm... Geanie? So- I was a bit distraught for about 10 minutes that I would have to film without that - but hey - I made do with the stuff I had. Okay - S*&% happens - and it WILL HAPPEN - so get over it quickly and move on with the resources you have.

Day 1:
45 minute ride to Nayapul
15 K (about 9.5 miles) and an elevation gain of about 5500 feet
My first minor point of conflict came at the Maoist Checkpoint about 10 minutes into the walk. 350 Rupies ($5) "Okay - Great - I wonder how many times this is going to happen" I thought to myself. I purposely didn't bring much cash because in the back of my mind I had thought about getting robbed, as was indicated in the what I had read about this particular trekking stretch.

The trail wove through mountain villages and along a beautiful river.

At one point, I was walking down a narrow cobblestone pathway and a herd of sheep (the small kind that has the horns) came running through. I was filming the shot and as I looked up one of the sheep launched - that is - flew through the air just past my shoulder and I nearly pitched off the trail and down the mountain side. The Sheppard are classic Nepali mountain travelers with the switches - and they have the whistling and herding calls down! (Benak - you would be impressed).

We stopped for a tea break just before a major climb. The tea houses are all over the place. Not obtrusive - quite cool really - and in typically very scenic and convenient spots.

Pradip and I hammered out the ancient stairway - straight up about 1500 feet.

At the summit we chilled out and had lunch - I ate Nepali curry and the view was outrageous - terraced hillsides, sweeping mountain views, snaking river below.
I interviewed a local village Nepali girl there on her perspective on Self Actualization and happiness. "Don't worry, Chicken Curry" was one of her responses. Sweet. Very simple - love life always - be with friends and family. Nice.

The trek continued through Rhododendron forest - i got one other interview with another Nepali local along the way. His big thing was business - "when business good - i am happy." I hear that!

I arrived in Ghorepani about 4:00 - yes - we had dialed the first day in about 7 hours, with an hour lunch break. And it didn't seem as if I was rushing either. Just walking - head up, observing, and stopping and messing around with the camera a bunch as well.

Dinner and the evening was quite fun. i hung out with folks from Holland, Germany, England, France and of course, Nepal. I interviewed them all about trip question.
For dinner I was feeling great and wanted to get into the local Nepali flavor - bad idea. I had garlic soup and Dal Baht. I thought things were fine. I went to bed around 9:30. Around midnight my stomach was making shapes and sounds like something out of Aliens and that happened all night. The shared bathroom facilities were horrible and it was one of the longest nights I have had in a LONG TIME. I slept about 1.5 hours total. Good one.

Day 2
I forced myself out of bed at 5:00 for Sunrise Hike to Poon Hill. I made it through that and saw a clear sunrise with the Himalayas in the distance. Annapurna and many other beautiful mountains made their first major impact on me. I thought to myself - that is doable - I could climb that. I also felt the cold on my hands and said, I don't want to lose my fingers. Anyway, I felt sick again and headed down.

1.5 hour power nap, some medicine from Pradip, and off for the rest of day 2...
The day was long and hard. I felt sick most of the morning and that was the steep climbing. I made it through without eating anything until mid-day, when I had a chocolate pancake. Beautiful trekking - lots of interesting sites - including lots of Mountain Monkeys. The local porters carry everything with straps on their foreheads. I mean huge 200 lb deals where all the weight is on their heads...

Anyway, by the time we got to Ghandruk, I was completely exhausted and slept for and hour, up for dinner, which I was able to keep down - thankfully - then for 11 hours straight.

Day 3 was a very peaceful and amazing trek out through the Nepali landscape. It is nearly impossible to describe, but I am certain I have some amazing photos and video footage....

Trekking in NEPAL is a very cool deal. You can go as slow as you want and take as long as you want. You can go for a week - or go for a month - or whatever. The Annapurna Circuit would be a nice objective over about 2 weeks, give or take. If you want beta on the trekking from my guide - you can email him at .

Okay - wow - that seemed like a lot to write about that!

Peace -


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