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Showing posts from May, 2010

Rest and Recovery in Pokhara

After finally arriving in Pokhara last Friday I was a bit ready to stay in the same place for a few days and unwind.  With unrest in the near future seeming very likely at the time, it also made sense to sit around and see how everything fell out.  Would the country devolve into domestic violence and riots or would the Maoists come to an agreement with the government over the looming May 28th deadline? The first few days in town felt like a never-ending reunion as I kept running into people from the trek – whether eating at a streetside cafe or just walking around, the random connections seemed to never stop.  As time passed this started to change, as one by one the people I knew started to leave town.  First most of the Israeli girls left, then the cool Israeli guys left, then finally Guy and Mickey abandoned us.  A couple days ago the rest left, and it feels strange to have gone from having 8+ friends in the same hotel to only one - Katrin and I have managed to avoid sticking f

Annapurna Days 11-13: Group Dynamics and Automotives

After the highlight of the Thorong La Pass at nearly 18k feet and all the accompanying emotions, I figured things would change in my attitude towards the trip – and sure enough, they did.  I found myself no longer interested in trekking the slightly lower peaks of the Annapurna Sanctuary on my own in the likely case I had a repeat visit of AMS and I could feel the group dynamics of our 10-14 person “clique” slowly tearing itself apart.  Quite how spectacularly this would happen, however, I did not at all predict… Day 11: Jewish Holiday in Muktinath Today was another Jewish holiday, the reason the Israeli group was trying to get all the way to Jomsom as quickly as possible (Shabot or something that sounds similar).  Apparently on this day the rules included a proscription on handling money, which seriously complicates such things as trekking.  The way they typically handle this is by either pre paying at a location the day before or incurring a debt and paying the day after – perso

Annapurna Days 7-10: 17,000+ Feet and Acute Mountain Sickness

The last few days have really been the cliche “emotional roller coaster” in so many different ways – from the acute highs of parkour on scree slopes at 4500 meters and the euphoria of reaching the Thorong La Pass at 5400+ meters (nearly 18,000 feet) to the brutal lows of nearly crippling Acute Mountain Sickness and effectively running out of cash in a remote mountain valley with no way to obtain more…  In the end the instant trail friendships with other trekkers that share the same goal continues to be the ultimate story, an amazing experience like no other. Day 7: Acclimatization Hike to Milarepa Cave (15km, 6.5hrs, peak of 4500meters) Today was the Sabbath and the entire Israeli group was stuck fast for the day as a result of their religious (most are Orthodox) proscription against work (which apparently includes walking up mountains with backpacks on, go figure).  This worked out well because the recommendation is two nights in Manang to help acclimatize at altitude with day hi

Annapurna Days 4-6: Mountains and Snow

As time moves forward on the Annapurna Circuit, I find myself climbing higher into this mountain valley.  The lush green slopes of the mountains around me have slowly turned into white snow-capped peaks and brown rock, the air is becoming harder to breather, and Acute Mountain Sickness is now a topic of regular conversation and self inspection.  It only gets tougher in the days ahead… Day 4: Chame to Upper Pisang (14.5km, 6.5hrs, end at 3270m) In spite of some excitement at the idea of uploading my first blog post and photos in Chame, I was unable to do so because the “connection not available” the entire time I was there.  I was woken up earlier than I desired by the Israeli crowd from the night before tromping around and getting ready, packing my gear and heading down for breakfast just as they were finishing and about to leave.  One of their group was a German woman (Katherine) whose birthday was this day, so in the spirit of sharing I gifted her with one of my precious granol