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

7/13/99 – Tuesday – 16:00

I’ve never loved a town so much! We’re in Marpha. It’s famous for its apple brandy, and we walked through orchards and breweries on our way to the our guesthouse.

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The guesthouse is really nice – garden, American sit-your-freakin’-ass-down toilet, and a warm shower. There aren’t mosquitoes here, it’s too dry and high. We kinda got out of the gorge, or at least the deep part. It looked like Arizona after that – brown hills spotted with green shrubbery and occasional pine trees. Sunny too, the clouds are lower, but not hot, cuz it’s a high desert. It was a pretty flat walk, and I woulda gone on to Jomsom, but this is cool. We’re here at the same time as a couple of Londoners, with great accents and all – 2 guys. Got a little burned today, but not bad at all.

Kinda random thoughts in my journals lately. Oh well. I’m looking forward to a regular routine at school, although this is fun. People pay lots of $ to do this. Of course, I’m flat broke – actually, in debt – also, but who cares? Might go walk around this town and take some pictures. It’s a cool place. Saw another peak (actually 2) [two peaks of Nilgiri] right after lunch.

Nepal_0012-1200_small[1]So beautiful, white, pure, high. This place is beautiful too, but it’s brown, dirty, and low. This is actually the cleanest town I’ve seen, however. Must be cuz it’s dry.  Nepal_0007-1200_small[1]


7/13/99 – Tuesday – Lunch

In Tukche, on the way to Marpha or, hopefully, Jomsom. Crossed a couple rivers, tributaries. Tracy fell in 3 times and lost a hiking boot.

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It’s been pretty flat, especially since the river is low so we can walk along it. Flora has changed, pine trees and shrubs now. It’s been kinda sunny, but not too hot. 

___ talks incessantly. Been in the middle of the pack most of the time, usually right behind Garrett. Saw a huge mountain [Tukche Peak] right in front of us when we left this morning.
Nepal_0008-1200_small[1]Played cards all night yesterday, never got a backrub =(

7/12/99 – Monday – 16:00

In Kalopani. Worked our asses off to get here, but the hardest part was in the morning before Ghasa. That friggin’ sucked. 45 minutes or more of stairs. Stayed behind Garrett most of the day. Jimmy was up with Dan. Sometimes Jeremy was behind me, sometimes he hung back with Heather. Tracy and Danielle usually brought up the rear with Khogan. It was a wet, cold, windy, miserable day for the most part. A little warmth after lunch in Ghasa, but it started drizzling soon. No super-bad parts of the trail. The one place Dan remembered as being really dangerous had been worked around and wasn’t bad any more. On the whole, I expected the day to be harder than it was. The big climb was bad, and so were some other parts, but afternoon was a lot easier and shorter than I expected. Dan pushed us though, and – to my great surprise – all of our team turned out to be in better shape, or at least have more balls, than I expected. We’re all hurting, but we all kept going w/o complaining. I think a danger we need to watch for is in thinking that the way down will be so easy and it discourages us if it’s harder. If that sentence doesn’t make sense it’s cuz I kept getting interrupted. I’ve got backrubs to give and receive.

7/12/99 – Monday – Morning

After I wrote we went to take pictures by the river.

Jimmy%20in%20the%20mud_small[1]Dan, Jimmy and I wandered off by the Kali Gandaki. We played around for awhile, then decided to push a boulder into the river. It took like 3 hours, but it was fun, and we have pix to prove it. Felt good to be clean yesterday. I just put on my wet and disgusting trekking shirt. Feels like crap. Got a backrub after supper. Felt so good – might have to be a nightly ritual. Hard climb today. Going up like 1100 or 1200 meters. Going to be a suck. But we can handle it. Had plenty of rest. Jimmy still woke me up while it was still dark though.

7/11/99 – Sunday – 13:30

In Dana now. We’re going to take the afternoon off and start fresh tomorrow. It’s about an hour past Tatopani, our scheduled stop the night. Tomorrow will still be a long day, but today was hard enough. On the way to Tatopani I was second, right behind Dan. Garrett was a ways behind us, but he caught up. Slept like shit last night. Maybe 8-11, then I was awake until like 3. Then at 4:30 Jimmy got up, and he’s so freaking loud that I can’t sleep when he’s up. I’m with him again tonight, and I wish I wasn’t. The hot springs in Tatopani were flooded because a huge landslide shifted the river on top of them. Oh yeah, yesterday we had to cross one of the tributaries of the Kali Gandaki and the bridge was out. There was a cable car thing and a bamboo bridge. We took the bridge, and I have a picture of it. Today sucked after Tatopani, cuz it was all 5 guys in a group – at least we were going at the right pace – maybe a little fast, at least for me – but it was still frustrating. I liked it so much when I was 30 feet behind Dan with no one behind me for like 200 feet. It was easy mentally to be on top. But when people are crowded in front and behind me, I really struggle.

Need to take more pictures. Gonna carry my camera in my pocket or something. Some stupid canine followed us for the last hour, and Garrett keeps chasing it out of our guest house.

We stay in small villages, but it’s still in the middle of nowhere. Might go walk around a little. Could feel good without a bag on my back. We had mosquito netting last night. It worked pretty well, a little cage tucked in around the mattress, hanging from the ceiling. No such luck for tonight, but we’re leaving our windows closed to keep the mosquitoes out. Cost Rs. 40 [forty Nepali Rupees] per bed to stay here tonite. We ate a good lunch today in Tatopani – mushroom pizza again :). It was pretty bad imitation of pizza, but on the whole it didn’t taste bad. The sauce was tomato soup, and there wasn’t a whole lot of cheese or mushroom on it. The best is still the Billy Bunter restaurant in Pokhara. I think the mushrooms there combined with Northfield’s crust, sauce and cheese would be the absolute best. Maybe I should rate the pizzas. Nah, don’t think I could remember every place I’ve had it. 14:20

7/10/99 – Saturday – Evening

Went to Everest Steak House last night for dinner. Umm… IDK [I don’t know] what else last night. Not much.Trekking%20permit%20small_small[1]

Today, got up at 5:30, annoyed because Jimmy had been up since 4:30 and kept waking me up too. Went to the bus station at 6:00 and took that almost to Baglung (I think). Ate lunch there, then took a Jeep to Beni. It was 12:30 when we got to Beni, so we decided to walk further. At 4:45 we got to Tiplyang, and we have a nice guest house. The trek was hard, but it was easier mentally when I was in the front. Otherwise it’s fun walking with the middle of the pack as long as we can see the leaders in front of us. One time we got slowed way down in the middle. After that I just stuck to the front.