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028T 04 Oct 08 Here's Bishnu and Lori standing at the side of the primary Hindu temple in walled-in Muktinath.
04 Oct 08 Bells are everywhere in Hindu and Buddhist culture. These bells and candle holders surround the primary Hindu temple in Muktinath.
04 Oct 08 This Hindu was on the primary Hindu temple ground at Muktinath. We saw many such as he, apparently living off the donations they receive from having their photos taken!
04 Oct 08 These small Buddhist chedis were along one of the many trails in the large Muktinath grounds.
04 Oct 08 It's afternoon and we're almost back in Ranipawa and shortly to start another excursion (to Jharkot) on our eventual, late-in-the-day trek to Kagbeni. Here's Lori with a Nepali (Tibetan blood) woman showing a yak wool scarf she weaved and we bought. The woman wears a traditional Tibetan bead necklace with a center piece of turquoise and two pieces of red coral.
04 Oct 08 Almost back to Ranipawa from our Muktinath excursion, this view looks east to Muktinath up on the hill.
04 Oct 08 In Ranipawa this young Nepali (Tibetan blood) woman weaves a scarf she will sell.
04 Oct 08 From near Ranipawa village, this view looks southsouthwest into the walled-terraced hills and homes.
04 Oct 08 Again that perfect sky and vibrant colors looking northnortheast off the trail from Ranipawa to Jharkot.
04 Oct 08 It's already late afternoon and we're finally leaving Ranipawa for Jharkot and then later to Kagbeni. Seldom do we see these creamy skies and sun at just the right angle to give you the colors we had. This photo looks north off the trail between the villages of Ranipawa and Jharkot.
04 Oct 08 Inside ancient Jharkot. This view of the homes of Jharkot is typical of dozens of such scenes in this village.
04 Oct 08 From the trail looking down on the ancient village of Jharkot, founded 500 years ago.
04 Oct 08 A painting on the wall of the porch of the temple.
04 Oct 08 We couldn't get a lot of information on this Buddhist temple in Jharkot. We think it was first built when ancient Jharkot was founded (500 years ago). This looks at the front porch. The temple was locked but Bishnu found a man in the village who had two young children unlock and open it up for us. We had the temple to explore by ourselves.
04 Oct 08 Main Buddha inside the old temple.
04 Oct 08 Painting of the Buddhist "cycle of life" on a wall of the temple porch.
04 Oct 08 A super-old painting on the east wall inside the temple--likely a first painting in the old temple. Again a very long exposure.
04 Oct 08 This is a very old wood-carved Buddha behind a curtain in the temple. It was so dark I took this photo with a (hand-held) one-second exposure--it brought out colors and detail we couldn't see in the darkness.
04 Oct 08 Finally, in late afternoon we've left Jharkot and are heading west to Kagbeni, still a long ways off. Looking back east, this view shows Jharkot.
04 Oct 08 This woman in Jharkot asked us for medication for her very sick son--it was a Saturday and the village doctor wouldn't be there until Monday. We gave her the medications we carried.
05 Oct 08 Today, our 11th day of the trek, we hike to Marpha. This crystal-clear, early-morning view looks north from the roof of our lodge in Kagbeni. At mid-morning, high, sustained winds started out of the south as we hiked directly into them all day. The day was easy on elevation changes, but the strong, direct head-wind and our hiking through several miles of glacial sand-gravel-rock river bed made the hiking difficult and tiring. We ate lunch in Jomsom and also bought Lori a pair of tennis shoes she could wear when rigid boots weren't essential--her boots were killing her.
04 Oct 08 Here's a small village north of the trail between Jharkot and Kagbeni. It was a long day and we finally arrived to Kagbeni in cold winds after the sun had set below the mountains to the west.
05 Oct 08 We're on the trail between Jomosom and Marpha. Some of the many apple trees in the Marpha area show in the foreground of this photo, looking east off the trail. Marpha is known for its crunchy, great tasting little apples, and the apple brandy made from those apples. (Tonight we drink a bottle of the apple brandy for desert--and how well we sleep!)
05 Oct 08 This view looks south from our lodge roof in Kagbeni, taken just before we start our hike to Marpha. You can see the deceptive, small-looking mile-wide sand-gravel-rock glacial river bed meandering and disappearing into the south foothills.
06 Oct 08 Today, our 12th day of the trek, we hike 20 kilometers to Lete. We continue hiking south, along and partially through, the Kali Gandaki River. Kali Gandaki means "witch," for the many people who've been swept away and drowned in it's swift and unpredictable water. What seems contradictory is it's also a very holy river in Nepal. Piles of rocks along the river cover bodies of those buried and it's recommended not to dig in those piles of rocks! Every mile or so a new tributary adds to it's fast moving water. At one point in our hike today, we crossed the river as it broke into a half dozen separate rivers across its mile-wide sand, graval and rock field. All had bridges but one--we crossed that one by piling rocks in it and stepping on the partially-underwater rocks. Fun!
05 Oct 08 We're just arriving to Marpha--here's one of the many little alleys leading up through the homes and grain-apple storage sheds in the village.
06 Oct 08 A donkey train crosses a small Kali Gandaki tributary bridge.
06 Oct 08 Here's Lori with three Nepali children we ran into along the bed of the Kali Gandaki River.
07 Oct 08 Children in a village between Lete and Dana. The children are very sweet and often put their hands together and give us the Nepali "Namaste" greeting.
06 Oct 08 We're on the same bridge the donkeys crossed. In the upper left of the photo you see a glimpse of the mile-wide Kali Gandaki glacial sand-gravel-rock river bed.
07 Oct 08 It's the 13th day of our trek. Today we hike from Lete to Dana. This photo shows a village home on the trail. Note the ladder, half a length-wise cut log with steps hewn with an adze. Today we continue hiking along the ever-growing Kali Gandaki river, crossing many long suspension bridges high above the river, and also crossing major landslide areas along the steep slopes. For a major portion of today's trek, we hike on the "old trail" on the east side of the roughly north-south Kali Gandaki river, giving us the pleasure of an additional 1,500' of climbing and descending.