Click photo to see it larger; click page # on left to see other pages.
02 Oct 08 We're north of Ledar heading to Thorung Phedi. This view looks north off the trail.
02 Oct 08 View looking north off trail.
02 Oct 08 This view looks south from the trail north of Ledar.
02 Oct 08 Another view looking south from trail north of Ledar. How to choose what photos to use? Not easy. Today was a spectacular day--all day. Sunny, a bit breezy and great for hiking. I took over 2,000 photos today and saved 700 of them and then decided on about 150+ to keep and edit. It seemed every foot of the trail (ten miles or so, and thousands of feet gain and a few thousand down into and up from deep canyons) brought a new perspective of the mountains and deep valleys, and the colors were spectacular.
02 Oct 08 Another suspension bridge--this one nearly 300 feet across, perhaps one of the shorter ones we crossed. We were five or six hundred feet above a smaller canyon and river coming out of a glacier on Chuli West mountain.
02 Oct 08 This view looks north off the trail.
02 Oct 08 Here's Lori and Bishnu on a wood bridge crossing the Kone Khola river. We've just come down a very steep canyon wall and start up the other side as we continue on our final stretch to Thorung Phedi, where we'll stay tonight.
02 Oct 08 This view looks south after we've come up a good ways from the Kone Khola river. We're getting closer to Thorung Phedi!
02 Oct 08 There were yak all around us on the higher trails. Lori coaxed a baby yak over and petted it. They're pretty wild creatures and we found it amazing. The yak mom looked up occasionally from her grazing but seemed unconcerned.
02 Oct 08 We stopped for tea at a tiny hut along the trail. This Nepali woman and her husband live in the hut and serve tea during the hiking months. The hut is about 8 by 16 feet. Half of it was their living area. (It's a little larger than our Casita!)
02 Oct 08 This view looks south from a couple kilometers short of Thorung Phedi.
02 Oct 08 Again looking north to our goal for the day--around a few more curves in the mountain is Thorung Phedi. We'll sleep there at 14,600 feet-- higher than we've hiked before, and certainly higher than we've ever slept. The temperature is dropping fast now as the sun on our slope is fading away. When we finally arrive to Thorung Phedi it's pretty cold and we're in our jackets.
03 Oct 08 On the trail to Thorung La Pass, looking north from the trail.
03 Oct 08 Today, our 9th day of the trek, we hike to Thorung La Pass and down the west side to Muktinath-Ranipawa. Last night it quickly dropped to below freezing. We woke this morning and jumped out of bed at 0400 hours. (I didn't exactly "wake," as I never slept!) We met Bishnu at 0435 for a quick and light breakfast--hot black tea and bread, and quickly prepared our packs for the day's hike. We hit the trail at 0505 hours in darkness with Bishnu holding a flashlight. After hiking only the first 150 feet of the trail I felt nearly dead. My lungs and legs seared with pain. We stopped for a moment and started on and I felt great--I knew the rest of the hike to Thorung La Pass (17,768 feet) would go fine. This photo is from a lookout peak about 600 feet above High Camp (16,158 feet). When we got to High Camp, we saw lookout peak and saw what we thought was several people on it. I left Lori and Bishnu at High Camp, ran up the peak to watch the sun come up, and found the "people" were rock piles (cairns)--I was all alone! This photo is one of several I took as part of photos to make 360 degrees around the peak. It was indeed super cold and windy. I found Lori and Bishnu freezing at High Camp when I returned. We then continued on our hike.
03 Oct 08 On the trail to Thorung La looking back east into the rising sun.
03 Oct 08 Looking southeast from the trail to Thorung La.
03 Oct 08 On the trail to Thorung La looking southwest. The top right of the photo shows the trail up ahead.
03 Oct 08 Looking southeast from the trail to Thorung La. We're getting much closer to Thorung La. It's cold and breezy and the sky is unbelievably clear.
03 Oct 08 Looking southeast from the trail to Thorung La.
03 Oct 08 We're now at Thorung La Pass, 17,768 feet--the highest place we go on this trek. It's been a thrilling (and already long) day so far, but we're less than half way to our day's destination. I set the camera up and a man named "Peter" from the Russian Ural mountains took the photo.
03 Oct 08 From the trail to Thorung La looking southsoutheast. We're now very close to the Pass.
03 Oct 08 We spent a good hour-plus at the Pass. Finally, we start our descent, hiking to Muktinath-Ranipawa. This view looks southwest of the trail as we hike west. It's already noontime and we have a long way to go.
03 Oct 08 Here's looking south, down to the Pass and up to Thorung Peak from a hill on the north side of Thorung La Pass.
04 Oct 08 Today, our 10th day of the trek, we take two excursion trips, one to Muktinath and one to Jharkot, and finally, make our late-in-the-day hike to Kagbeni. This photo from the top of our lodge in Ranipawa, looks west to far-away mountains. Prayer flags, as seen in this photo, adorn nearly all the mountain village buildings. We started late today, needing some recovery from yesterday's long and arduous hike.
03 Oct 08 I took few photos of our hike from Thorung La Pass to Ranipawa. The first third was slippery ice and snow--the last part was very steep screed-covered switchback trail--all of it tricky and tiring. I slipped and fell the only time of the hike when I intentionally stepped on a dirty patch of ice I thought was a rock. After our climb of over 3,000 feet to the 17,768 foot Pass, we now descend to 12,139 feet (Ranipawa), with plenty of ups and downs on our way. Today alone, we had total ups and downs of about 5,000 up and 7,000 feet down, all at high altitude--enough to tire anyone. This photo shows one of hundreds of the little blue flowers we saw at about 13,500 feet. They look like the same small flowers we see in the Alpine altitudes in Colorado. Yes, they really are this vibrant blue color.
04 Oct 08 Our first excursion today takes us to Muktinath, a famous Hindu temple and pilgrimage site. This photo looks back to Ranipawa as we backtrack to Muktinath. Muktinath is a huge walled-in area with primarily Hindu and some Buddhist temples, and all apparently recognized and used by both Hindus and Buddhists. While we were here, there was a huge pilgrimage of Hindus visiting Muktinath from all over Nepal and India.
04 Oct 08 A view looking north on our excursion to Muktinath. In the Nepali mountain villages we see many walled-in gardens as shows in the lower part of this photo.
04 Oct 08 We're now nearly to the Muktinath gate in the wall. This view looks back west to Ranipawa showing in the right of the photo. The helicopter was here when we arrived and gone when we left Muktinath a couple hours later. The young man in uniform was down at the helicopter guarding it a moment earlier as we passed by it.
04 Oct 08 Nepal is about 65 percent Hindu and 30 percent Buddhist. Buddhist prayer wheels seem recognized by both. This large prayer wheel was just inside the gate of the predominantly Hindu walled-in Muktinath temple area. Prayers wheels are turned clockwise with the wheel on your right, and with large ones like this, Lori has just walked around it, turning it as she walked. The wheel blurs with motion.
04 Oct 08 This very small building in Muktinath is used by novice Buddhist monks.
04 Oct 08 Inside the Buddhist building, novice monks chanted from scripts. I took the photo from outside the doorway. We entered but didn't disrupt their chanting.