Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nepal Trek Part II - Pass

Thorong La Pass was a beast. At 17,769 feet or 5416 meters, carrying what seemed to be a light pack on straight-aways quickly became a weight that prevented you from lifting your legs over an inch off the ground. But that's how we made it up this treacherous pass - one heavy inch and one long breathe at a time. How glorious the top felt, and what a way to welcome us with plenty of prayer flags blowing in the fierce and taunting wind. New heights - highest I've ever been. Not only did the prayer flags welcome us, but we sat at the top for a light picnic, looked up to the left and noticed the clouds were clearing. Once cleared, those long breathes that were previously hard to take were now gone at the sight of the towering glaciers that made their appearance. We were awe-struck.Only smiles at this point - oh ya, and a sore body, the whole body. This is Sofie; we kept each other company on the way up and down. This is also Sofie. We were walking through clouds on the way down, and again, words simply cannot describe the views and feelings and thoughts rolling in and out of my mind, just like one cannot describe the clouds rolling in and out of the mountain pass. What was one of the toughest days on the trek also became one of the most rewarding days. Same day, and the day kept granting us views with exploding mountain peaks. This peak is Dhaulagiri at 26,794 feet, the seventh largest peak on this crazy and wondrous planet. Bizarro Boulder. I sat and stared at these "flatirons" having strange thought of stepping into this odd land either millions of years earlier in Boulder, or perhaps millions of years in the future in Boulder. Then I woke up - who knows! The next town is just below known as Mukhtninath, a religious place for Hindus, but I haven't found a place which isn't holy for the holy Hindu's.This is the next day after reaching the pass. This is Tony, and from Mukhtinath, we decided not to take the beaten trail. Instead to hiked down to the river bed and had a nice stroll along the river. The river was once a place long long ago (60 - 400 million years ago) which was blanketed by oceans and inhabited by ocean creatures, and these creatures remained in fossils for us to see. They have been untouched ever since. This is Kagbeni. We stayed here two nights and the full day there, we went on a 3 hour hike up a "gentle" hill. We could see the whole town, and also the meeting place of the two rivers - one from Mukhtinath and the pass, and the other from Upper Mustang and Tibet.This is Upper Mustang and the horizon is a Tibet. This is the closest we were able to get to Tibet as it is very costly to travel to due to the Chinese occupation.
The next day, we went to Marpha. Marpha of my dreams!

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