Friday, November 12, 2010

Hey Toto! . . . We're Not In Kansas Anymore!! - Trekking in Nepal

Toto trekking the Annapurna Circuit

(I took photo of "Toto" strutting down the trail in Manang)

I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, with Mick Bromley, our trek leader, playing the Wizard. As we trekked the Yellow Brick Road, the Wizard would open up a magic door, suddenly revealing some incredible view. We would refer to these events as a Shangri-La Moment.

The 18-day trek to the Himalayas, the Annapurnas to be exact, has been one of the most extraordinary journeys of my life. And that is no exaggeration.

Initially, my motivation for visiting Nepal was to see the biggest mountains in the world, one of my life-long dreams. I saw them and I was not disappointed. They are as grand and stunning as I imagined. Any of the oft-used superlatives do not do these mountains justice.

What was an unexpected surprise were the other natural and cultural wonders of Nepal. Places that receive little or no play in the media.

From the low-land valleys, I saw beautiful terraced fields, and as we gained elevation, lush forests, plunging waterfalls, raging rivers, deep gorges and grand canyons with striking geology.

Crossing the tumultuous streams and rivers on foot bridges were exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Walking the tight-rope trails carved into the mountain sides with certain death if you plunged over the edge was another white knuckle experience. Facing these nail-biting challenges made me feel like a teenager again. It was so much fun!

Viewing the ancient stone villages of Phu and Nar, opened to trekkers just 3 years ago, was a special treat. We were lucky and privileged to see village life as they lived for nearly a thousand years. In a year or two, this will all change with the villagers building accomodations for outsiders and gaining modern amenities like electricity.

My blog for the Nepal trip is extensive. If you have the patience and interest to see it all, you can plow through the 13 entries. If you want to just see the trek blogs, scroll through the first section which is organized by trek days.

The entries are as follows:

1. Trekking the Annapurnas
2. Porters and Sherpas
3. Trek Meals
4. Trail-side Attractions, Revelations and Other Funky Stuff
5. Post Trek Days in Pokhara and Kathmandu
6. Krazy Kathmandu
7. Umbrella Foundation Orphanage
8. Boudanath (Buddhist Monastery)
9. Pashupati (Hindu Temple)
10. Monkey Temple (Buddhist)
11. Scattering Patti's Spirit in the Himalayas
12. Bangkok
13. Flying Biz and First Class

Scroll down or click on "Older Post" below and begin the journey

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