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Continental Divide Trail 2011 close to 3000 miles through new mexico, colorado, wyoming and montana. May 1 start date.

21 days in the EVEREST region

NEPAL | Wednesday, 20 April 2011 | Views [393]

Tony and I are back in busy, hippie-infested, touristic Thamel in Kathmandu but we are enjoying such things as VEGETABLES and CAKE and cheap CURRY. We have spent the last few days eating and reading Harry Potter, feeling that we have earned the right to such laziness after our last trek.

Most trekkers #1 take a guide and porters (people who carry their stuff) #2 fly into the gateway city of Lukla and #3 take the low route to Everest Base Camp, returning in sometimes 10 days. Tony and I however #1 carried maps and guidebooks and our own stuff #2 began walking from Jiri, which is a good 5 days and 28,000 feet of elevation gain (going up and down and up and down) to Lukla and #3 completed the "3 passes" trek, each of which climbs close to or over 18,000 feet.

The trek was phenomenal and challenged us in ways we never could have quite anticipated. Hiking the entire PCT in one season is one thing but trekking and sleeping in elevations above 15,000 feet for 2 weeks is another. We felt strong and acclimated after our 5-day approach trek from Jiri. We ascended and descended ridiulous amounts of meters every day but since we were in lower elevations we were capable of walking at normal speeds. This section was pleasant since there were few other trekkers and we were able to go on adventuroud side trips to dirty little yak cheese factories. Once we hit the main Everest circuit we were shocked by the numbers of guided trekking groups, lines of porters, and dozens of yak trains. Our method of repreive was to begin walking in the early hours of the morning and find little-used side trails during the day to get away from the crowds. As much as the Himalaya cannot be compared to our mountain ranges in the US in scale, we couldn't help but miss our lonely wilderness experiences in the high sierra or montana and alaska. But being surrounded on a daily basis by peaks and mountains from 20 to 29 thousand feet high with glaciers spewing from the skies in ever direction was difficult to digest. I couldn't help but want everyone I love to be there with me to witness the unreal beauty.

Once we reached higher elevations, however, our bodies overruled our minds in strength in energy. In one day Tony came down with symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, a Flu AND Giardia. Luckily there was a clinic nearby where all of our assumptions were confirmed and we had already been carrying the proper medications to deal with these things. We stayed at lower elevations an extra day but continued with our itinerary anyway.

We crossed 3 passes close to 18,000 feet. The first being the highest and more of a sheer ridge wall than a pass. We also visited Everest Base camp and walked around as if in a living museum, witnessing the subculture of hundreds of tents and contendors for the climbing the tallest mountain in the world. We walked up 3 18,000 foot peaks for better views of Everest. I expereinced the most degrading hike of my life climbing up the peak Kala Pattar at 5 in the morning. I was numb in my hands, toes and face, and had close to no energy. What could have taken 20 minutes at lower elevations took me over 2 hours. So although the views were absolutely unlike anything I'd ever seen in my life, the elevation was severely draining and we were glad to reach lower elevations to breathe again.

Tomorrow we go bungy jumping and on a 2-day raft trip. A few more days to enjoy Kathmandu and then back home on the 26th for the CDT. I hope to post pictures either this week or when I return.

Tags: trekking

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