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24 Sep 08 Along the main street in Besi Sahar, this man played magic tricks for children.
24 Sep 08 Here's Lori with a woman working in one of the stores in Besi Sahar.
24 Sep 08 Nepali people along a Besi Sahar street.
24 Sep 08 These women along the street in Besi Sahar happily had their photo taken. When I showed them the photo they were delighted and wanted to see it several times.
25 Sep 08 Finally, we start our trek--1st Day! Here's Lori and Bishnu in the lowlands of the Himalaya foothills just a couple miles outside Besi Sahar. Our 20-day trek, with 17 days of hiking and three days of recouping (rehabilitating!?) along the way, will take us 140 miles (with additional side trips), climbing and descending some 28,000 feet and attaining a highest elevation of 17,768 feet.
25 Sep 08 We're on our first suspension bridge. During this trek we'll cross about 90 suspension and wood bridges. The bridges range from a single log just feet above small creeks, to very long suspension bridges hundreds of feet above raging, huge rivers.
25 Sep 08 We crossed paths with dozens of donkey trains on our trek. For most of the mountain villages, donkey trains and porters are the only means of moving goods in and out.
25 Sep 08 We love the terrace fields, with rice in the lower hills, and barley and buckwheat in the higher hills. These are rice fields.
25 Sep 08 Here's the view from our lodge room in Bahundanda our first night of the trek. Shortly after we took this photo the sky opened up and it rained cats and dogs all night long. It rained during a couple other nights during our trek, but we were caught in daytime rain only once (half a day) during our trek. This was the most rustic of our lodges--outside toilet and shower (cold water only), see-through walls (lots of cracks in the boards), no-screen shutter-only windows, and a very small loft room complete with a wasp nest (full of wasps) in our open window. We did have electricity part of the night!
26 Sep 08 We're on our 2nd day of the trek on our way to Chyamche. For the first four days of our trek we crossed paths with another trekker, Yan Parent of Quebec, Canada and his Nepali guide Ratna (also of Abbey Treks). They were a delight to share meals and the trail with. We hope to see Yan in the future, in Canada and in the US. From left to right--Yan, Lori, Bishnu and Ratna.
26 Sep 08 We saw several grain mills along our trek. This one, as many do, uses a wood turbine to turn the grinding stone. While Yan and I hiked down and off the trail to photograph it, a man showed up to reload grain and pick up ground flour.
26 Sep 08 We found this five-inch across spider (indeed quite large) on the trail. He pulled up his legs and played dead after I touched him.
26 Sep 08 We also shared the trail with this cool guy!
27 Sep 08 We're on our 3rd day of the trek on our way to Dharapani. Here's Lori, Yan, Ratna and Bishnu on the trail in a small village.
27 Sep 08 A mountain village school. The Nepali children hiked each day on the trails to and from their schools. They asked us for pencils and pens--we can't think of any children in the US who might ask for pencils and pens. Ipods and other such junk, yes.
27 Sep 08 Here's Lori and Bishnu on a short suspension bridge. We loved crossing these bridges.
27 Sep 08 This view looks across a canyon to the trail (lower right to upper right) where we'll be in a couple minutes.
28 Sep 08 We're on our 4th day of the trek on our way to Chame. This woman sold apples on a bench in a small village along the trail.
28 Sep 08 Always, everywhere, along the mountain villages and trails we found prayer flags. This view looks east in the mid-morning sun. We've already covered a lot of distance and climbing and descending, but we're still in the foothills.
28 Sep 08 These little girls also sold apples along the trail. Lori always smiled, often grinning and bearing the pain she had due to one of her boots.
28 Sep 08 Here's Lori with the checkpoint police. About a dozen times throughout our trek we checked in with police, who kept logbooks of our whereabouts. Our "normal" day included lots of hiking with each day having rigorous activity covering distance and altitude changes, two shorts stops for tea, a stop for an enormous lunch, and finally our stop for a huge dinner and sleep in a lodge. Except for our food we carried all of our bath items, clothing for warm and cold climate, photography and safety needs for the 20-day trek. We also carried water bottles and a filter system and iodine tablets for treating the water. As if we weren't carrying enough, we bought a Tibetan blanket and several other heavy items along the trail. At the end of our hike, my pack weighed about 55 pounds.
28 Sep 08 Down the trail through this mountain village we see Lori and Bishnu. I often trailed behind them and caught up, again and again, up as I took photos throughout each day.
29 Sep 08 Here's another donkey train on the trail past Chame. Some of these donkeys aren't loaded. We rarely saw donkeys not loaded.
28 Sep 08 Here's the kitchen in the lodge we stayed at in Chame. In all the lower mountain areas where wood was plentiful, wood-burning stoves are used, as in this kitchen. Every one of the mountain lodge cooks made great food.
29 Sep 08 Even Bishnu, who was so very knowledgeable about the Nepalese, and the the hill tribes and traditions of the peoples of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India, didn't know what these donkeys were dressed up for.
29 Sep 08 We're on our 5th day of the trek on our way to Pisang. Here we are on the trail past Chame. So, was the trail ever crowded? No. For the most part, we saw few people on most of the trail.
29 Sep 08 Stones with prayers carved into them, on the trail at a village entrance. We found prayer stone carvings (sometimes hundreds at a time) at dozens upon dozens of villages in the high mountains.
29 Sep 08 Here’s a home (somewhere between Chame and Pisang) with upstairs crop storage. No part of any crop is wasted. The grain, chaff, stalks and sometimes roots (when pulled up) are always used for either human or animal food, for fuel (i.e., corn cobs and husks), or for returning to the soil for compost.
29 Sep 08 Most villages had many prayer wheels at their entrances. These, at Pisang, covered about 100 feet long! It's tradition to pass to the left of the prayer wheels and use your right hand to turn them as you pass by.
29 Sep 08 Here's Lori & Bishnu in Lower Pisang. This night we stayed in the lodge in the upper right of the photo (the highest lodge showing in the photo).
29 Sep 08 Here's a typical home in lower Pisang, with upper Pisang showing in the higher ground behind.