Friday, April 25, 2014

Back in Nepal

On the Annapurna circuit trek near Manang
Hi friends,

Since leaving California I spent forty days trekking in the Himalaya of Nepal. This year I took along my brother, Tom, for his first trek in Nepal. We did a 23 day curcuit of the Annapurna massif including the jaunt up into 'The Sanctuary' or base camp. Though it was physically challenging, he loved it.
After a couple days of rest in Kathmandu and seeing my brother off, a Dhamma friend, Sean, from California flew in to accompany me on a second trek. This time we did a 17 day trek up into the Tsum Valley. The Tsum Valley was only recently opened for trekking. It lies up near the Tibetan border and the religion/culture of the people is 'Tibetan like' as found in the Mustang and Khumbu regions of Nepal. The area is not so developed and comercialised as found on the Annapurna and Everest treks. You don't find pizza and apple pie in the lodges there yet. There are also some very remote and secluded monasteries found up above 10,000 ft.
Before starting the first trek around Annapurna, my brother  wanted to get a glimpse of Mt. Everest so we took the Everest Mountain flight that flies by the section of the Himalaya between Kathmandu and the world's highest mountain.

Here are some highlights 

View from the Mountain flight on Buddha Air

The great Stupa at Boudhnath

With my brother near Chame

 Annapurna 3

 We choose the old wooden bridge

 It snowed on several nights

 Typical large guest house

 Nicely arranged kitchens

 Approaching Manang

 Main street Manang

 Ice lake at the foot of the Gangapurna glacier with Manang at the bottom

 Heading up to the 5,417 meter high Thorung La (pass)

Icy narrow footpaths make walking tricky

 Thorung High Camp lodge at 4,700 meters

 Yaks returning after hauling weak trekkers up to the top of the pass

 While the stronger ones trudge up on foot

The steep decent in meter deep snow 

Views on the other side-Mt. Dhaulagiri at the left

Jhong Monastery 

 Sunrise on Dhaulagiri

 Two Oxen guard the toilets

 Back to forest covered trails

Left to Right-Annapurna 1, Rock Noir and Fang  (taken from Kalopani)

 Big lodges at Ghorepani

Annapurna South 

Dhaulagiri skyline-Tom with guide and porter 

 View from Tadapani- Annapurna South (left), Machapuchre (right)

Machapuchre-The Fishtail 

Ascending into 'The Sanctuary"

 Hot Springs at Jhinadanda

A trek done well ends well

Highlights from the trek to the Tsum Valley/Ganesh Himal

Mules begin their  multi day labor ferrying supplies from Arughat up the valleys

The trail along the 4x track from Arughat

 Extending the road to cut trekking days shorter

 Taking breaks near waterfall pools for tranquil meditation and refreshing dips

 Sleeping and meditating out under the stars one night

Porters carrying roofing sheets five days up valley for new lodge construction

Manaslu Circuit goes to the left while Tsum Valley goes right

 Mt. Sringimal-entrance to the Tsum Valley

The entrance to many homes in the Tsum Valley

 Kids on their half hour walk to school
 The Milarepa Cave

The footprint of Milarepa (an 11th century hermit/saint) impressed in the rock of the cave

 From Left: Guide Norbu, porter Urgyen and Sean


Mu Gompa (monastery) situated at 3,700 meters ele.

 The roof of Mu Gompa with the Ganesh Himal as backdrop

The tranquil river under the old bridge at Domje

The nuns school/training monastery at Domje
It was their first glimpse at a 'golden lama' (their term for a Theravada monk)

Gumba Lundang ( a monastery for nuns) situated at 3,200 meters

 Nuns eat their meals outside

Peering into the Ganesh Himal Sanctuary

A hike up to the foot of the Ganesh Glacier

A parting shot

The End

By the time you read this I'll be in Bucharest beginning a six week
tour In Romania, Switzerland, and Germany. See Travel and Teaching page.