Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
As a last wave to the chaos in Kathmandu the plane left an hour late which gave me all of twenty minutes to run from one side of Bangkok airport to the other to make my connection but I got there, and when I arrived in Auckland to my even greater supprise my luggage had made it to. My backpack was the first piece of luggage on the belt.
I was less amused when I had to wait five hours for my connecting flight North but thems the breaks.
Great to see my parents again at the end of a long journey.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I reckon they should start a franchise.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Good to be back.
All in all rather eventful.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Tomorrow I will try to post some further updates on my Everest hike but today I am looking for souvenirs as I will be flying back home next Tuesday.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Helen one of the doctors at the Machermo health post came in today she is doing the rounds of the lodges to spread the word on what's new for the season at the clinic and to hand out information packs that trekkers can read on the dangers of altitude sickness. You would have thought that after all these years of publication in guide books and general awareness amongst trekkers this wouldn't be necessary anymore but there isn't a single day that the rescue helicopter doesn't have to fly to pick up someone dying from going up to fast.
For exercise I walked up to the fourth lake but the weather has changed yet again and continuing rain and sleet eventually drove me back to the lodge. The outside temperature is just above freezing and that's around midday.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
We all get up early and Michael, Werner and I are walking before seven in the morning. There are glorious views everywhere and I stop every few minutes to take photos.
It takes about three hours to walk up to Gokyo and we find rooms in the Gokyo Resort, the first lodge that was built here and probably the best of the bunch.
After returning to Kathmandu I have spend most of my time hanging around the Kathmandu Garden House, eating curry, and drinking beer. Any weight I lost during my walking has probably been regained by now. Never mind I promise to do better from now on, or at least for today. So expect me to post the missing Everest Trek blog entries over the next few days and generally be a little more active.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
What a difference a day makes. The weather has cleared and we got our first glimpses of the mountains. The walking was pleasant and we reached Machermo in under three hours including a stop for tea and plenty of stops for photos.
In the afternoon we all went over to get the altitude and AMS lecture and have our SATo2 measured, while far from definitive this gives a measure of how well you are acclimatised. I outscored everybody with 91%! Not that I was really surprised by this I have always done well at altitude but nice to know anyway.
The trek itself was short, only two hours, and with the low clouds not much reason to stop and look at the scenery. So now I am in a lodge again chatting with all and sundry and entertaining the owners young son who is busy playing with the paper airplane I folded for him.
In the morning after a not so good night's sleep I set out for Phortse Thenga and as everywhere in Nepal you start with climbing up. First to the top of Namche then to a small pass at Monjo just under 4000 meters in altitude. It was midday when I finally got there and had my usual lunch of vegetable noodle soup and a pot of tea. While I was having lunch the Danes came by, turned out they were suffering from knee problems as well and had decided to turn around from Dole and go back down probably all the way back to Kathmandu. They also wanted to get back to Namche to ring home and let their family know they were OK.
I dropped down the pass after lunch and an hour later was at my destination. Walking days are getting shorter now because of the altitude and tomorrow I expect to walk no more then three hours.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Tomorrow I will start trekking again up the valley to Gokyo and if I feel up to it crossing the Renjo La to Thame before returning Namche for a few rest days. We'll see how it works out but I expect to be out of contact for between ten days and a fortnight.
The trail now heads for Phakding and a second surprise, there is quite a bit of damage from land slides, non of the lodges has been taken out as far as I can see but some of the larges land slides have come uncomfortably close. I decide that I'll pick a lodge away from the canyon wall and settle on one across the river and away from the land slide area.
I start climbing from the river towards the village of Chaurikharka and after an hour or so see a trail leading of in the fields, I am pretty sure that this is a shortcut around the next ridge so I start following it.
Six hours later having descended back to the river, crossed tracks no wider then my boots and at one stage having slid on my bum down a set of rocks with no footholds at all before climbing almost a kilometer back up I arrive in Bupsa, not much of a shortcut but I am back on correct trail.
When I got to the top of the Trakshindo pass the sky cleared for me though and while here were no spectacular views at least I got to see the spectacle of a yak owner chasing his unwilling animal across the pass into the forest, back over the pass and finally down the trail. Not much you can do when half a tonne of angry animal doesn't want to listen to you. At hat moment the clouds rolled back in again and I spend the next few hours going down almost eight hundred meter to Nuntala. When I got there I was only fifteen minutes behind the Danes which pleased me greatly as they are less then half my age.
The way down is like a rocky river with boulders everywhere and different streams splitting of and then rejoining the main flow. The forest adds abit of gloom to the whole affair but apart from sliding around on the wet stones I don't come to any major harm. Just when the trail levels out and I exit the forest a real heavy downpour begins funnily enough of in the distance I can see the valley Junbesi is in ahead in bright sun shine. I keep on walking and a few minutes later the rain abates, another thirty minutes and I put my raincoat away, another thirty minutes after that I am in Jubesi having a cup of tea. All in all I have walked for six hours non stop and my knees feel a bit iffy from the steep down hill hopefully they are OK again tomorrow.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The only way is up!
I still have sore calf muscles but today is one of those days where there are no downhill stretches at all, It's cloudy but that makes for good walking weather and I set off with the intention of getting as close to the pass as I can. it takes me 4 hours of uphill scrambling and ever more frequent rest posts before I reach Sete.
This is a small vilage with a number of lodges and teashops. I spend almost an hour and a half here drinking tea, having lunch and resting up. Then I move on to Dagchu a series of lodges spread along the hillside around 2900 meters high. I have another cup of tea, look at all the clouds and decide to stay here. Good call its starts raining five minutes later.
Had a great view of the mountains beyond the green valley that Kinja is in and a great reluctance to walk uphill again today so I called it a rest day and stayed put.
When I woke up it was dry and a beautifully clear sky with my first sight of a snow covvered peak in the distance. Time to get walking!
As expected the trail from the pass down to Bhandar was steep ans slippery but I got there without a hitch then after traversing the farms around this area and frequently asking for directions the trail dropped doen again crossed a river and stated contouring around the hills.
There are some really nice views here and the hillsides are dottedd with small villages. After a while the trail decends again and when I reach the valley floor I have come down over a kilometer from the top of the pass. From here on the trail is mostly level and five hours after leaving Deorali I enter Kinja.
Got stopped while leaving Shivalaya this morning by a lovely young lady who wanted 2000 rupees for a new permit the government has instigated to celebrate Visit Nepal Year. I told her flat out I wouldn't be paying and would rather be going back to Jiri then being ambushed with extra charges during my trek. I think she quickly understood that I wasn't going to budge on this one and let me go. I am still pissed off about it while I am writing this.
The trek itself went largely as planned with a steep upward path right from the start, I wasn't going fast but was reasonably satisfied with my progress until ten minutes before I got to the pass at Deorali it started to rain and by the time I found shelter in one of the tea houses it absolutely poured down.
It never stopped raining and as I know the downhill section on the otherside is pretty steep I wasn't keen on trekking on in the rain so it was an easy decision to call it a day, grab a room and roll out my sleeping bag.
A goodnight's sleep the first really cool nights in over three months. The two Danish guys that were in the lodge last night were feeling a bit under the weather and decided to stay for another day in Jiri. Not an auspicious way to start their trek.
Just after eight I put my pack on and headed out of the gate it felt pretty good to be on the trail again. The route is quite indistinct in places but there are plenty of locals to ask and I make my way steadily upwards. After another hour I am still making my way upwards but less steadily and after three hours I am starting to really slow down and taking lots of rest breaks. Eventually I crest the ridge though and stride into Mali a village of five houses or so but most importantly a teashop!
After tea and a rest I get back on the trail it plunges down the side of the ridge on a jumble of rocks and slippery clay. I have never been a very comfortable downhill walker so I take it very easy indeed and after an hour and a half I reach the valley bottom and Shivalaya my destination for today. It has taken me almost 50% longer then the guidebook's recommended "slow" time. Never mind I am here and I made it in one piece and without any drama. Tomorrow I should be just that little bit fitter.