following morning we headed to Kagbeni. This
was a sweet hike through a river bead that lasted
a few hours. Kagbeni was a completely
different world. I couldn't believe the
conditions these people live in, and all the
nicest people I have ever met. The shop
owners were extremely happy to see us just due to
the lack of tourists. Gary and I walked
through what seemed to be an ancient ruins, and
that is where the people lived.
was the day that we got some altitude and I was
feeling strong and ready. Boy did I bonk at
about 11,000 feet. We walked up to Mukinath,
which is a Holy place for the Nepal people.
Right after I bonked we ate this amazing meal
cooked for us by the Sherpas. Food coma.
We hung out there for over an hour; eating,
hydrating, lying about women, and what seems to be
the most popular topic of conversation: digestive
the meal I slowly, very slowly, moved up the
trail. I was breathing hard and put on too
many layers and ended up stripping on the trail to
cool off. Finally I schlepped my big butt up
to Mukinath. Once there I drank some water I
started to feel good, but we are hanging at 12,000
so I have a bit of a headache. Wondering
around a bit I finally saw the behemoth that my
expedition is going to try and climb. That
is a big damned mountain. The group is
re-energized after checking out Dhaulagiri.
Everyone is sitting down, drinking tea and eating
cookies; I gotta run. Dan
Today we walk to Marpha, a little later
than we had expected but all in the group are
excited about changing venues and new teahouses.
Marpha is only an hour walk from Jomsom, however,
for those suffering from the vile bug that has
been infesting everybody's gut, I anticipate a
little struggle for some of the group.
Walking from village to village and staying
in teahouses is standard fare in Nepal, a trait I
am beginning to enjoy after having already spent
74 nights in a tent this year.
travels are always on foot and usually only a few
miles in between villages.
Each village has a unique and old world
flavor somewhat like what you might expect to find
if you were to travel back in time to the days of
Alexander the Great.
Our group has made many discoveries and
purchases of artifacts, antiques, and architecture
that are dated as far back as the Fourteenth
in Nepal where we are surrounded by poverty
stricken children, farmers, and artisans of every
type each of us has to constantly remind ourselves
that it is the twenty-first century amongst the
chickens, cows, and horses that run the streets.
It is a different era in Nepal, one far
removed from the big business and instant
gratification of our American desires and
needs...except for the Yak Dance Pub.
What a gorgeous day.
This morning we pulled our groggy souls out
of slumber just to avoid having to listen to the
nocturnal Nepalese dogs that bark through the
night and were rewarded with the sight of high
winds buffeting the very ridge we would be
traversing this afternoon.
Not the greatest beginning, but as a
climber you learn to anticipate the unknown and
then just go with it.
The group had a fantastic day as our bad
weather burned off and the sunshine came out to
reveal hundreds of Himalayan Gems as we ascended
3,500' to our next camp, JaKarta, on an
The afternoon brought forth a long descent
back down into Marpha and we were greeted by the
sounds of a Nepalese Archery festival.
These people really know how to have a good
With tomorrows move to JaKarta on
everyone’s mind we prepare for an early wake up
and a long hard day.
signified the true beginning of our climb.
We have finally left the lowlands and
teahouses for the tent city we have now erected in
JaKarta at 12,500'.
After a long steep ascent we are all
excited to finally be at least one step closer to
the mountain, even if our step just happened to be
a 3,500' uphill slog.
The amazing part of today had less to do
with the landscape and more to do with the
the village of Marpha was an exciting and
At the teahouse we exited the safety of our
gate with the blessing of the owners wife and a
Kata, a scarf meaning respect and good luck.
Along the way we stopped at the temple in
Marpha for a Puja, a religious ceremony that
offered blessings and continued prayers throughout
our journey. Our
entire team of climbers came away fighting tears
of respect to Buddhist culture and the memory of
our individual blessings from the monk in the
temple and the friendships we have already forged
with the Sherpas accompanying our climb tucked
away into our hearts and minds forever.
We are finally on our way!