Posted in Travel

Kathmandu, Nepal

After 42 hours of travel including an overnight stay in Delhi, I arrived in Kathmandu. My travel so far has been easy and I am grateful. 

Just one of many street vendors in Kathmandu

After getting settled into my hotel I went and explored the streets of Thamel making my way to Durbar Square. I arrived during the Dashain festival, so streets and sites are packed. The only way to describe it is chaotic but in some way it is an organized chaos. I don’t feel unsafe or afraid of anything just in awe of the sights and sounds. 

Amazing architecture everywhere – this was in Durbar Square

Today I had a taxi take me to four different temples: Pashupatinath – a Hindu temple where I observed two people being cremated along the river (surreal), Baudhanath – a Buddhist temple that is still being rebuilt after being destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, Gokarna Mahadev – a small, unimpressive Hindu temple, and Swayambhunath (also known as the monkey temple) –  a 2500-year-old mixed Buddhist Hindu heritage site and temple located at the top of a hill near Thamel. 

Swayambhunath Stupa

The temples, albeit beautiful, are also where you get harassed the most. I was able to deter most but some stealthy Hindu holy men got me with the red & yellow string bracelet and a red tika mark upon my forehead before I was able to say no and then of course I had to pay them. 

Holy Men – I can be stealth too!

Overall I’d say the people of Nepal have been very kind and helpful. They are extremely poor and still rebuilding after the devastating 2015 earthquake, yet the vibe is very positive and welcoming. 

Earthquake damage – Pratap Malla statue

Kathmandu has been great, but I’m looking forward to heading out to the mountains tomorrow. See you in 21 days. 

I have far too many monkey pictures – but the babies are just too cute!
Advertisements
Posted in Travel

Where in the world is CC?

Many people have asked me what my itinerary looks like, so this seems as good a place as any to post that information. This way if you don’t hear from me in awhile, you’ll know why.

I fly out of Vancouver on October 11th – flying through Hong Kong and arriving in Delhi around midnight on October 13th. I’ll spend the night in Delhi and fly to Kathmandu in the morning.

Oct 13 – Dec 13: Nepal

October 13-15: Kathmandu

Oct 15-Nov 4: Trekking (Manaslu and Tsum Valley) – no cellphone access

Nov 5: Kathmandu (I’ll check in here if I have wifi)

Nov 5-Dec 13: Kopan Monastery  – no cellphone access

Dec 13-Jan 2: South India

Dec 13-20: Goa

Dec 20-24: Hampi

Dec 24: Guntakal  Dec 25: Overnight train

Dec 26-28: Fort Cochin

Dec 28-30: Alleppey

Dec 30-Jan 2: Varkala

Jan 2-Feb 6: Sri Lanka. Rough itinerary looks something like this:

Jan 2-4: Colombo – then train to:

Jan 4-6 Bentota – then train (Aluthgama lvs at 08:20) to:

Jan 6-9: Unawatuna (day trip to Galle Fort) then travel by bus or Tuk tuk (stop at Kogalla) to:

Jan 9-11: Mirissa

Jan 11-15: Tangalle

Jan 15-16: Uda Walawe NP

Jan 16-19 Ella – then train to:

Jan 19-20 Ohiya (Horton’s Plains & World’s End) – get there by 7AM!

Jan 20-21: Delhouse (Adam’s Peak) – Start early to be at top by sunrise

Jan 21-25: Kandy – then travel by car (with a stop in Matale) to:

Jan 25-28:  Dambulla and Sigiriya (stay maybe in Habarana?)

Jan 28-30: Polonnaruwa

Jan 30-Feb 2: Anuradhapura w/side trip to Mihintale – then travel by bus to:

Feb 2-Feb 5: Jaffna –  then travel by train back down to Colombo on Feb 5 (stay overnight in Negombo)

Feb 6-23: North India. No itinerary yet, but I plan to visit Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal), Jaipur, Varanasi, and Rishikesh.

Posted in Hiking

Crest Mountain and King’s Peak

Trip 5 – Crest Mountain (1584M ) and King’s Peak (2065M) – (Sep 10- 12)

This was our final alpine trip of the summer and I wanted to get in the max amount of training for Nepal. For this final trip I requested more than one peak and to not have to carry in our packs as I will have a porter in Nepal and so did not need that aspect of training. We left Victoria early on the Friday morning and went straight to Crest Mountain, starting our ascent around 11AM. This was a short, 5 hour hike but with a steep elevation gain. The day was a little overcast but mild and we had nice views of King’s Peak from the look out on the way up. The summit is reached after a traverse across the top, which had a lake and some friendly kingfishers (my new favorite bird). Over all this isn’t the most exciting hike, but it was definitely good training, which harshly reminded that my knees do not like steep declines. I will be bringing lots of Aleve and a knee brace to Nepal!

img_4868
A glimpse of King’s Peak from Crest Mountain

We knew we wanted an early start the next day, so we went to bed early and both being early risers, we planned to get up when the first person woke up. I made W take off his watch so that I could check the time in the morning. At some point, having to pee, I checked the watch and saw that it was 6AM, so it was time to get up. Being that it was fall, we knew it would be dark, but we were surprised that there were still stars in the sky. We didn’t really feel like being up, so we went back to bed for what we thought would be another hour. Thankfully W looked at his watch and discovered it was midnight, not 6AM. Whoops! Good thing we didn’t get up and ready.

img_4874
Not only did we find these chicken of the woods, we also found chanterelles right as we started our hike.

We were up and at the trailhead by 8:30. The lower part of the trail is well built and maintained which made the ascent to the North Bowl camping area quite pleasant. We passed some lovely waterfalls and streams, so we didn’t have to carry a ton of water. Most people do King’s Peak over 2 days, but I wanted to see what it felt like to hike over 8 hours in a day, so we carried on. When we first got site of the mountain, I was disappointed to learn that the one in the foreground was not ours, nope that was the Queens Face, ours was the big one behind it. There was a scramble-y gully to get up and then we were on the ridge. It took about another hour to get to the summit.

IMG_4890.JPG
I was so grateful to finally touch the summit

Wow, what a view. The weather was perfect and we were the only ones up there. It was about 5 hours up and we knew it would be about that long to get down, so we had a snack, signed the register, and went on our way. We had seen some chanterelles and chicken of the woods on the way up, so we grabbed those on the way down and had a gourmet dinner back at camp. Including breaks and mushroom picking, it was a 10-hour day. My knees were not happy, but thankfully I had brought some Aleve and Ibuprofin.

IMG_4898.JPG

The next day we were going to do Flower Ridge, but W said it would at least be an 8 hour day and we needed to get back to Victoria the same day too. We opted for some small walks to look for mushrooms instead.

IMG_4902.jpg
Bears Head!