Nepal in Pictures

7 12 2016

 

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Kathmandu.

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Kalabhairava, Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

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Hand held prayer wheels for sale in market.

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Relics, Patan Museum, Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

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Patan Museum, Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

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Sadhu, Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

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Stupa at Monkey Temple.

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Macaque monkey.

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Baby macaque.

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Prayer boulder & Stupa on Gokyo trek.

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Prayer wheel.

 

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Porters & their packs. Some of the hardest working people.

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Female herder & her cows on suspension bridge crossing the Dodh Kosi.

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Last suspension bridges crossing the beautiful Dudh Kosi before the climb to Namche Bazaar.

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Rachael climbing out of Dole.

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Yak herder, yaks, fellow trekkers. Gokyo valley.

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Prayer flags, Himalayas.

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Young herder & his burros.

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Entering Gokyo & the third lake.

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Gokyo.

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Fuel cakes. Yak dung, Gokyo.

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Abandoned Sherpa home.

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Yaks, Ama Dablam, & Phortse.

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Monastery in Khunde.

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Fall colors near Khunde.

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Namche Bazaar.

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Where the cows rule the streets. Lukla, Nepal.

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Cow. Pokhara, Nepal.

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World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara, Nepal.

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Paragliding, Pokhara.

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Paragliding, Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal.

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Paragliding over Pokhara.

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Me & my guide Deepak. So much fun!!!

One of the most amazing trips. Beautiful country, beautiful people.

 

 





Gokyo Trek, Nepal

23 11 2016

Nepal. Himalayas. Hell yes.

Despite all that is written about flying into Lukla (dubbed one of the most dangerous airports in the world-short runway, mountain on one side, cliff on the other, 11.7% gradient), we had a pretty uneventful, anticlimactic landing. Maybe I’m jaded from growing up in Alaska and riding in bush planes….That being said, everyone else on the airplane cheered when we landed  🙂

The trek took us 12 days, none of the days being very long-distance wise or a lot of elevation gain. However, it was the altitude that kicked our asses, backpacking at 9,000-15,500 feet.

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Living at sea level, landing in Lukla (9334 ft.) put me at almost the highest I’ve ever been. Rachael & I had quickly organized our gear and set off for Phakding.

Beautiful prayer wheels were abundant along the trek.

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On the way to Phakding. The first two days of the trek weather ranged from warm & sunny (60-65f) to cold & raging rains (40-45f). Everyone in the region commented that the monsoons were later this year than usual.

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Beautiful stupas and large boulders carved with prayers on them are commonplace along the trek.

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Much respect to the porters. They climb up and down the valley carrying crazy loads, no matter the weather. We repeatedly got passed along the trek by porters carrying 60-90 lbs wearing flip flops.

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One of many suspension bridges crossing the Dudh Kosi. Sharing the bridges with yaks, burros & cows felt like getting double bounced on a trampoline.

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The beautiful Dudh Kosi. A violent, raging, gorgeous river. This is the final suspension bridge crossing before the climb to Namche.

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Namche Bazaar! Just above 11,000 ft. We stayed in this beautiful village a couple days to acclimatize. It was mostly foggy (this view was rare), wet, and cold-about 40-45f. Pemba Sherpa & his staff at the Khumbu Lodge treated us like family.

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We spent one of our “rest” days climbing up to Kunde & Khumjung. Khumjung is the largest Sherpa village in the region, and where many people higher up on the trek live in the off season. Everyone was so welcoming! We got invited into an older woman’s house for tea, where she told us stories & shared her potatoes with us. Afterwards, she took us on a “short-cut” to the bakery, hoping over stone walls and almost running so fast where we could barely keep up with her!

Young boys making faces at us 🙂

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The monestary in Kunde.

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Fall colors.

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Much of the next few days were spent again in a fog & cold. This is actually good visibility. Mostly, we could only see about 10-15 feet in front of us.

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Rachael climbing out of Dole. Brief window of sun, before more clouds & rain. Weather typically was nicer in the morning, then clouds and rain would roll in by early afternoon.

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Young Sherpa girl.

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Yak dung drying. Yak dung is the fuel that heats every tea house in the region.

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Prayer tablets at Machermo. We escaped the rain and upper 20/lower 30f weather and went to a altitude sickness talk at the local clinic. Super informative & worth the time! Machermo is at 14,600 feet-it’s typically where altitude sickness starts affecting some people. Everyday on the trek, we heard helicopters buzzing up and down the valley, many carrying patients back to Kathmandu. The doctors in Machermo said that they would have 1-2 patients fly out per day. Gokyo had many more leaving by heli.

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After pouring rain all night, we woke up to blue skies, fresh snow on the peaks & sun!

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We finally had great visibility & sun! The views were stunning in every direction!

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Cho Oyo.

 

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Young herder.

 

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Rock cairns at the first lake. Cairns are viewed as makeshift stupas and everywhere in the Gokyo region. The five lakes in the Gokyo region are sacred places to the Nepalese. The Gokyo area reminded me of Alaska on steroids-stunningly beautiful, with 8,000 meter peaks, prayer flags, and yaks!

 

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Entering the third lake & Gokyo (15,500 ft). This area was so unbelievably gorgeous, it’s no wonder it’s considered sacred.

 

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Although, I got a touch of altitude sickness once we got to Gokyo (which I was able to solve with medicine), Rachael really suffered. On top of that, we both had acquired horrible sinus infections in Namche (which stayed with us for the rest of the trip) and the Khumbu cough (which lasted much longer than the trip 😦 ). We stayed at the Fitz Roy-They were amazing & so helpful, checking in on us, sending up pots of hot water & warm juice to help us get better. Can’t say enough great things about them!

Trail through the yak dung patties in Gokyo.

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Gokyo, from Gokyo Ri.

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We bagged our original plan of going over Renjo La pass to Thame, due to the altitude sickness & climbing another 2,000 didn’t seem like a good plan. We chose to descend the other side of the valley and stay in Phortse to get some different views instead. It is the path less traveled & definitely took longer, but well worth it.

Old abandoned Sherpa home.

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Good morning from Phortse!

 

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Yaks, Phortse, & Ama Dablam-by far the most beautiful mountain in the Himalayas!

 

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Everest & Ama Dablam.

 

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Definitely a trip & trek of a lifetime. Amazing from start to finish.

 





Elmo & Rachael do the Royal Basin

14 08 2015

 Andres was able to join Rachael and me for a quick overnighter to the Royal Basin. We did the 7 mile hike in, set up camp, then hiked a mile or so to the upper tarn to do some recon for future trips. The Olympics did not disappoint with more amazing views & stunning scenery.

This is what happens when you try and take a nice picture of your friends…..

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 Rachael hiking towards the upper tarn.

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Rae Royal Basin

 

Upper Tarn.

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Andres hiking above upper tarn

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Andres testing his rock climbing skills on chunky choss.

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Andres above upper tarn

Deer were pretty abundant in the area. Mom with twins.

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The High Divide with Rachael

13 08 2015

The High Divide is a gorgeous 18 mile loop in the Olympic National Park that starts (and ends) in a lush rainforest full of gigantic trees that seem large enough to build a tiny house in, then rises to high alpine tundra with spectacular views of the Seven Lakes Basin & Mt. Olympus. Although the loop can easily be hiked in a day, spending a few days backpacking there exploring the lakes & soaking in the amazing views is definitely the way to do it. I haven’t spent anytime backpacking in the Lower 48, so when Rachael invited me on this trip I jumped at the chance to see her & check out some new territory. With temperatures in the mid 80’s it was slightly warm for this Alaskan girl, but I managed 🙂

 Sol Duc Falls.

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 Our first camp was Deer Lake. Sunset, ginormous trees, & of course, the Mid.

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Another beautiful, sunny morning in the Olympics.

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We decided to take a long lunch break, siesta, & swim at the Seven Lakes Basin. The Basin is the premiere camping spot on the High Divide Loop, but fills up quickly. We planned this trip months ago & weren’t able to secure a site there. The lakes are pretty cold (as you would suspect any high alpine lake to be), but a perfect way to cool off from the heat 🙂

Rachael descending into the Seven Lakes Basin.

Rae above 7 lakes basin

View of Round Lake.

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Rachael soaking in another amazing view of the Basin.

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Wildlife was abundant! I felt like I was in the Disneyland of animals & gorgeous views! We saw black bears, mountain goats, & tons of deer.

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We took the very short side trip & climbed Mt. Bogachiel. Well worth the 360 degree spectacular views!

Descending back down to the trail we found these guys…..

mountain goats

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Rachael looking back to the Seven Lakes Basin.

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Rachael fulfilling her promise to pump water for me at Sol Duc Park 🙂

pumping water Sol Duc Park

Rachael & me.

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We finished the loop & headed over to Olympic Hot Springs for one last perfect night out, ending our amazing trip with a soak in the hot springs.

Morning sun shining through the trees at Olympic Hot Springs!

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