After blogging a little bit about the book Annapurna and the Tilicho Lake area, I realized I didn’t remember a lot of the details about our trek. I typed up the portion of my trip journal that covers our arrival in Pokhara (a tourist-filled town west of Kathmandu in the center of Nepal that is the jumping-off point for treks in the Annapurna region), our trek up the Kali Gandaki gorge to Jomsom, Kagbeni and Muktinath, and our return to Pokhara. That’s the west half of the Annapurna Circuit, which has to be the most popular trek in Nepal. We did it backwards though… for most people the west half is the return leg so it’s downhill. We went up-hill into the mountains and and at the very end reached toward the high desert plains of Lo (the Mustang District of Nepal) and China-occupied Tibet.
When the journal picks up, we had been in Nepal for almost a month. We had traveled around a little bit and had been in Pokhara with a two-week-mission-trip church group, but mostly had been in Kathmandu. Now we arrived by bus back in Pokhara from Kathmandu, just our small group.I don’t think I would ever trek or backpack again without studying the route beforehand, memorizing the position of the peaks we might see so I could identify them when the clouds cleared, and picking out the best day-trip hikes along the way. And constantly referring to a map while en route. But this was my first time in the mountains and I did none of that until I bought a map halfway through. I’ve identified the peaks now by looking at other pictures on the web.
The text has been censored somewhat to protect my teammates, to remove BS that I didn’t think anyone would want to read, and occasionally to make it seem less like you were reading my damn diary. I didn’t add to it though, except what is in brackets. I have included some pictures in the text, but to see all of the highlights from this trip visit the Flickr album.
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Part of our trip, an idea never much realized, was to involve anthropological research on an isolated group of people in Nepal’s Upper Mustang. I fancied myself a bit of a budding anthropologist after one class the previous semester and would return to school in the fall to make that my new major. We never made a serious attempt to get into Upper Mustang, so instead I spent a lot of my time in Nepal reading. I gathered a bunch of derivative notes that I eventually turned in as a research assignment senior year. That paper, since I went through the trouble of writing it, is posted here: “The Religion of the Lopa: Tibetan Culture as Preserved in the Kingdom of Lo.”