7/17/99 – Saturday – 12:15

In Jomsom again, we’re staying here tonight, not sure why. Garrett said we’re staying here and resting, then leaving at 6 AM and going all day. What the hell is the point of that? Everyone got kinda irritable today. Descending%20to%20Jomsom_small[1]

We burned down the hill for awhile, but then we got to a river that had swollen since we came up to Kagbeni. Jimmy and Danielle went across with shoes on, and they were wet after that. I kinda fell in once and got all dirty. That kinda slowed us down. But we still got here in 4 hours.

The govt. abolished trekking permits 5 days ago, so we could have gone through Thorung La and into Upper Mustang. Sux. [Thorung La, yes; Mustang, no. That area remains closed, though it’s easier to get a permit now.]

7/17/99 – Saturday – 6:30

Well we’re in Muktinath and it’s cloudy. We saw 3 peaks for just a minute this morning, but it’s foggy and raining. Keep getting interrupted, cuz the porter for the 3 Brits wants to chat. It was an ok trip up, Jeremy leading. Went up to the temple here, then climbed a hill, ate dinner, talked, played cards, and went to bed. Gotta eat breakfast now, so I’ll write later.

7:35
So we started from Kagbeni going uphill for quite a while. Towards%20Muktinath2_small[1]Towards%20Muktinath1_small[1]

That was tough, but then it leveled out near Khingar and Jarkot. Stopped in Karkot for awhile. I just sat there, the rest got drinks. I’ve kinda sworn off pop for awhile. We were expecting another 2 hours to Muktinath, but it turned out to be 30-45 mins. I think we made good time. Chortens%20near%20Muktinath_small[1]We checked into the Hotel North Pole, which actually had 24-hour electricity. We got a double for Danielle and a triple for the rest of us. Before we checked in we went to the checkpoint, and some British guys came up right behind us. They ended up at the North Pole too, so we talked to them a bit. Another 2 Brits came after them. They had all gone over the Thorung La yesterday. We ate lunch, then walked to the monastery, where fire, earth and water come together. It’s a Hindu and Buddhist Mecca. But it actually wasn’t very nice.

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We couldn’t find the fire, which was supposed to be a natural gas vent that continuously burned. Then we figured out that the candles behind a window were the eternal flame [as I wrote in the margin a couple days later, this is not true. There really is a small natural gas vent that burns constantly – we just never found it].

Danielle went back to the hotel, then we walked toward the Thorung La. The police checkpoint is no big deal, and I think we could have done the pass with our permits. We checked in, but our permits let us go past that point cuz it’s in the middle of Muktinath. Muktinath%20gate_small[1]There’s no other checkpoint until the other side of the pass. Jimmy and I climbed a hill, just so we could say we hit 4000 m. (the temple was at 3800 m.) We got back at 16:00 and ordered dinner for 18:30 and breakfast for 7:00. Then we sat here for 2 hours waiting for dinner.Above%20Muktinath_small[1]

We walked around a little after dark, then talked in Danielle’s room for a while. She was a little nervous so she, Jeremy and I went downstairs and played Spades. Went to bed about 9:30. We all slept ok. Got up at 6, talked to the porter for a while, ate breakfast, Jeremy witnessed to the porter, and now I’m journaling. That’s pretty much all. Feel pretty good about today’s walk down. I like having only 4 people. Wish we were gone longer from the group. I don’t think I’m going to like the trip down, cuz we’ve already been over that ground. Wish we could fly from Jomsom; much rather do that than Pokhara-KTM. 8:02

7/16/99 – Friday – Morning

Going to Muktinath today, just Jimmy, Jeremy, Danielle and I. Garrett’s hurting, and Dan doesn’t want to go either. They’re going to Jomsom, and we’re meeting them there tomorrow.

It’s drizzling here. I thought it didn’t rain up this high, but it’s been cloudy and wet all night. Hope it clears up for the day. It’ll be more comfortable, and we’ll have a better view.

7/15/99 – Thursday – 15:00

In Kagbeni, and now we’re not doing any pass. We’re going straight to Muktinath tomorrow, staying a night and heading straight back to Beni. Kinda depressed and angry/irritable in general. Not sure why yet.

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I’m back. Took a shower. Part of it is $. Another part, I’m sure, is that we’re not going to climb any higher than Muktinath. That really disappoints me, even though it just came up a couple days ago.

 Another part is that we have 3 weeks left, with basically nothing to do. Basically from the day after tomorrow we’re on our way home. We trek down, bus to Pokhara, hang our for a week, fly to KTM, hang out, and fly home.

 Yesterday I forgot to write about our afternoon trek. I wanted to walk to Kaisang, SE of Jomsom, on the way to the Mesokanto Pass. Jeremy wanted to come with, so we took off. We only had 2 hours, though, cuz lunch came late. So we just decided to walk for an hour and turn around. We walked for 45 mins, got on the wrong trail, and it was dangerous. Shale path on the side of the hill with high winds. Then Jeremy wanted to climb a hill, so we started up. I’ve never been scared so badly in my life. I honestly thought several times I was gonna die there. It was not steep, but it was all shale, and it broke off easily. We climbed up and down in a half hour, then walked back.

I bought a book of 100 O Henry stories yesterday. It’s got some good stuff.

Staying at the Annapurna Guest House, and it’s pretty nice. Hot showers cost $, but there are attached baths with each room. Lunch took 2 hours, cuz only one girl was working. The rest are in the fields.

Some people want to get horses (Rs. 500) or porters (200) for tomorrow’s trek. I think that would be stupid.

7/15/99 – Thursday – 6:10

Mountains [Tilicho Peak to the left and Nilgiri North in the foreground] came out this morning, so we’re all up to take pictures.

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Everyone at home is gonna be like, “So, you’re in Nepal. Of course there are mountains.” But its so cloudy that it’s a treat to see any of them. We’re splitting up today, not too happy about that. Khogen, Tracy and Danielle are going to Kagbeni, then Muktinath tomorrow. The rest of us (6) are going straight to Muktinath. That gives us an extra day to acclimatize there before we go for the Thorung La. Last night none of us could sleep cuz dogs kept barking, and when I woke up at 12 or 1 I thought I shouldn’t be going to Thorung La, and I was trying to decide. But now I’m not so sure; I was kinda delirious at the time. Really, really wish Danielle and Tracy were coming with us today. I can get bored and irritated really quickly w/o them. I dunno about our intelligence in trying the Thorung La. We’re going in groups of 2, so if someone gets AMS that group goes back. It’s Jimmy and Dan, Jeremy and Heather, and Garrett and I. It’s going to be a hard day. So is today, so we’ll see how we do today.Nepal_0009-1200_small[1]

8:00
Not going to Thorung La now. Our trekking permits don’t allow us to go past Muktinath. So our new plan is Kagbeni today, then Muktinath, then Jomsom, then a day trek to the Mesokanto Pass, SE of Jomsom. It’s only 101 meters lower, and there’s a lake there, so it will be cool. Probably a greater danger of AMS, because it goes up from Jomsom’s 2713 m instead of Muktinath’s 3802 m. Kinda sucks. Oh well, we’ll still have fun.
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7/14/99 – Wednesday – 11:00?

In Jomsom, at the Mona Lisa guesthouse. Nice place. Really windy trek this morning but short.Trekking%20near%20Jomsom_small[1]Planning on leaving tomorrow for Kagbeni. I hope to trek to Kaisang and back this afternoon, maybe 5 hours. We’re trying to decide whether to go for the Thorung La or not. It’s not much further than Muktinath, but we’re worried about altitude sickness. The med kit we have says you can get sick over 2500 meters, and we’re at 2713 right now. Thorung La is 5416. We want to hit one pass though, whether it’s Thorung La or not, and they’re all pretty close. Mesokanto is a day from here, at 5315. And Thupa would be a day trek from Tukche, at 5250. We’ll see what happens.

7/14/99 – Wednesday – 7:04

Starting later today, cuz it’s gonna be an easy, short day. Maybe 2 hours to Jomsom. Roomed with Jeremy this time, and slept past 5 AM for once. Woke up then, but actually went back to sleep. Had a good team meeting last night after dinner. Bought a “Round Annapurna” map for Rs. 50.nepal%20backpacking%20map_small[1]

Another clear day today – it’s so beautiful here. Just have to watch out for sunburn. After the meeting we played Spades, with 4 teams of 2, using 3 decks. I left after one hand and came back here and read a little.

8:16
Went for a walk around, maybe a half-hour or so. Took some pictures and walked up to the Buddhist monastery in the middle of town. It was about 200 stairs straight up, and when I started up a kid at the top got up and ran inside. I didn’t know what to make of that. About halfway up I got scared and almost went down. I didn’t really go in too far, but almost no one was around. I saw a couple of people in one of the buildings. I took a picture and walked back.

Here are my current thoughts on everyone: [I’ll spare you, the reader, and my teammates.]Lopa%20brickwork_small[1]

[Then I listed a bunch of altitudes I think I had converted to feet from the meters on the map. Some of them are a little off, according to Wikipedia.]

Thorung La [“La” = pass]       17,770 ft.
Muktinath                               12,474
Kagbeni                                   9,515
Kaisang                                   11,155
Dhawalagiri                             26,796
Annapurna I                            26,546