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Trekking

Video ' A journey through in Nepal ' (2012)

Traveling through Nepal and the Kangchenjunga trekking In between working as a HRM, having photography projects and keeping fit with sports I have been working on a short movie about the trip a did last November 2012 to Nepal. In the blog I already and will put even more images and stories up about the trekking I did with a few friends to Kangchenjunga area. Las few week I have been writing the stories day by day and put them on the blog with my good friend and artist Wilfried van den Boorn. Check out his website to see his amazing still life painting at "www.wilfriedvandenboorn.nl":http://www.wilfriedvandenboorn.nl . When we are finished there wil be a ebook published as an itinerary of the Kangchenjunga trek including advise on the route for future travelers. It is a great trek for those who like a basic and remote adventure in the himalayan mountains. Hope you enjoy the video, all comments welcome!

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A part of the story of the Kangchenjunga trekking

28-01-2013Day 12 of the Kangchenjunga trekking

11-11 From Kambachen to Ghunsa

During the night one of us woke up a few times because of rats on his sleeping bag. An early start can be hard but also brings the most beautiful morning light in the village for photography. Kambachen is surrounded by high Himalayan mountains that lead up to more than 7000 metres. The early morning and late afternoon views are quite spectacular. You can see smoke starting to come through the holes in the roofs and the shepherds leaving their houses to take their yaks to different places. Yaks are the main way to transport daily requirements like clothing and food from one village to another. Yaks also provide fuel for the stoves as people in the villages above the tree line have no fire wood to use for cooking. They gather the yak dung (shit), dry it and burn it in their stoves. To Kambachen or to return from Kambachen to Ghunsa you can choose to take the left trail or the right trail. Both lead over treacheous terrain and they both finish at Kambachen. Depending on erosion and the state of the trail you have to make your best choice. We were advised to take the same route back as we came up. Back in the lodge at Ghunsa, we found out it was the first day of the Diwali festival also known as 'Deepavali' or 'Tihar'. This Hindu festival takes up to five days of singing and dancing and is also called the festival of lights. Diwali involves the lighting of candles or small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lights are kept on during the night and one's house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival is called the Naraka Chaturdasi. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day of Diwali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes. Diwali marks the end of the harvest season. Farmers give thanks for the bounty of the year gone by, and pray for a good harvest for the year to come. In the evening dancing and singing took place in the courtyard of the lodge. Inside we enjoyed some Raksi and Tongba. You can find both drinks in some of the villages where the local people make them. Raksi is a sort of strong wine. Raksi is Nepalese drink made from different grains. First, grain is cooked, then cooled down, and mixed with yeast and kept in a basket maintaining a constant temparature for some days. Then it is kept in the pot, made from clay, and it is known as 'Jad beer'. Then the Jad is distilled in a process called paini. The distilled product is known as "Raksi". Tongba is a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the far eastern mountainous region of Nepal and the neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim. It is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. To Limbus Tongba is like what Sake is to Japanese, Vodka to Russians and Wine to French. Tongba is culturally and religiously important to the Limbu people of far eastern Nepal. It is consumed in a unique way: the fermented millet is put in a container, also traditionally called a Tongba, and boiled water is poured in it to the brim. It is then left undisturbed for about five minutes. Once the five minutes has passed it is ready to drink; a fine bamboo straw with a blind end, but perforated on the side to act as a filter, is inserted into the container to suck out the warm water and alcohol from the millet grains. More hot water is added as the tongba becomes dry, and the process is repeated until the alcohol is exhausted. In the Diwali festival everyone is invited to take part. This involves drinking, clapping your hands and dancing. At the end giving a small donation for the local community. During the night local groups come and go to celebrate even when all people in the village are asleep. Finaly they get some food and drink and a place to rest.

 

13-01-2013

Day 10 of the Kangchenjunga trekking

9-11 From Selele to Ghunsa

It was a hard cold night the four of us sleeping on wooden boards. Because of this waking up at 6.30 was no problem but getting out of the warm sleeping bag really was. While having the breakfast as usual we are all looking forward to descent to the Ghunsa Khola valley where we would find plenty of choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But still no Pringles for one of our team members who was looking for them all the way. Last days were tough so we needed to recover and regain strength again. We crossed some more passes, each of them about 4000 meters high. After the last pass we started descending through beautiful rhododendron forests. The last bit before the final descent was a bit tricky because a supply tube to the local water power plant was broken and the spill of water formed a massive layer of ice on the trail. We arrived at Ghunsa after a half day of pretty easy walking. Everyone arriving at Ghunsa will enjoy the luxury of choice for food and drinks. To enjoy the sun in Ghunsa you should be aware that at this time of the year the sun hides early behind the mountain range. In the afternoon we took a stroll to the Cho Gheling Gompa. The ceremonial prayer room of the Gompa was closed but we were able to take a look inside through the hatch at the top of the stairs. It was a beautiful and very colourful sight. Thankas were hanging on the walls, prayer books wrapped in silk cloth were stacked away in open cupboards and several bronze statues were displayed on a small altar. Back in the lodge we found out it was the first day of the Diwali festival also known as 'Deepavali' or as the Nepali people say 'Tihar'. This Hindu festival, also known as the festival of lights, consists of up to five days of singing and dancing. Diwali involves the lighting of candles or small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lights are kept on during the night and one's house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are lit because they are believed to drive away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival is called the Naraka Chaturdasi. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day of Diwali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes. Diwali marks the end of the harvest season. Farmers give thanks for the bounty of the year gone by, and pray for a good harvest for the year to come. In the evening dancing and singing took place in the courtyard of the lodge. Inside we enjoyed some Raksi and Tongba. Both drinks are made by local people in some villages. Raksi is a type of strong wine. Raksi is Nepalese drink made from different grains. First, the grain is cooked, then cooled down, and mixed with yeast and kept in a basket maintaining a constant temperature for some days. Then it is kept in a clay pot, and it is known as 'Jad beer'. Then the Jad is distilled in a process called paini. The distilled product is known as "Raksi". Tongba is a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the far eastern mountainous region of Nepal and neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim. It is the traditional, indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. To Limbus Tongba is what Sake is to Japanese, Vodka to Russians and Wine to French. Tongba is culturally and religiously important to the Limbu people of far eastern Nepal. It is consumed in a unique way: the fermented millet is put in a container, also traditionally called a Tongba, and boiled water is poured in it to the brim. It is then left undisturbed for about five minutes. Once the five minutes has passed it is ready to drink; a fine bamboo straw with a blind end, but perforated on the side to act as a filter, is inserted into the container to suck out the warm water and alcohol from the millet grains. More hot water is added as the tongba becomes dry, and the process is repeated until the alcohol is exhausted. In the Diwali festival everyone is invited to take part. This involves drinking, clapping your hands, dancing and at the end, giving a small donation for the local community. During the night local groups come and go to celebrate even when all people in the village are asleep. At the end of the evening they get some food and drink and a place to rest.

 

03-01-2013 Day 9 of the Kangchenjunga trekking:

8-11 From Tseram crossing Sinelapche La and Mirgin La to Selele

Same rituals passed in the morning before our tough day going up across the passes to Selele started. When starting out the temperature was comfortably low so we could set off at a good pace. But after a while the sun got strong, the temperature rose and the terrain became even more steep. Everybody took his or her own pace because we all knew we had a long day ahead of us. It took us 4 hours to get to the first pass, Sinelapche La at 4666 meters. We didn't take a long time to enjoy the first pass and went straight on to the next one. At the next one our guide told us to take a break and eat something. He brought us some boiled potatoes to give us some more energy for the upcoming hours. On the way we learned that even for Nepali people a track like this can be hard and confront you with the risks and dangers of altitude sickness. We met the guide of the Austrian people who were crossing the passes also, and he told us he had to send back his best porters because he got altitude sickness. We felt sorry for him but we were happy to continue to Selele. At 13:00 hrs. we crossed the second pass at 4627 meters. We continued to the next and last pass for the day at 4615 meters where there was a sign saying Mirgin La! So strange because our information said it should be Selele La. Best not to believe every sign as a fact. Sometimes we experienced forms of nature that are really impressive. Seeing a halo around your shadow while alone in the Himalayan mountains is pretty impressive. The descent was long but arriving at Selele was beautiful. There was a little lake before Selele and the surrounding scenery was amazing. Selele itself was a primitive settlement consisting of a small bhatti and a tiny hut with two bedrooms. One of us tried the toilet and saw that some westerners find it hard to use a Nepali toilet and just shit anywhere on the floor. In places like this you will find yourself with other trekkers and their team members while eating supper in the small smoky dining room. So nice!

 

03-01-2013 Day 8 of the Kangchenjunga trekking:

7-11 From Ramche to Oktam and back to Tseram

Waking up was difficult at this altitude. It was freezing cold during the night (minus 6 degrees) in the room so getting out of bed during the night wasn't the best adventure. Every night one of us had to go out to take a piss but every morning we shared stories of the beautiful sky filled with stars. Early in the morning before breakfast we were lucky to see some blue sheep high on the rock face alongside the lodge. We took some photos just before the blue sheep went up further along the mountain ridge. For breakfast we had Tibetan bread and omelettes for a change and took off for Oktam. We followed the Yalung glacier beside the moraine going to the highest point of our trek, Oktam. The way to Oktam went gradually up but because of the altitude we had to take it slow. Every minute the view got better and better.....

Kangchenjunga trekking

13-12-2012
Day 1 of the Kangchenjunga trekking: from Deorali to Porter Lodge in Simbu
31-10 Jeep ride and start of the first day of the trekking.

The next day we went on to Taplejung. Yesterday the driver frequently hung out of his window to check the rear tyre and today he decided to change it.

On the bus I met an interesting Nepali guy who was traveling to make a documentary about the role of the mother in the Nepali culture. He was also going in the same direction to Kangchenjunga. He started talking to me because of my Che Guevara cap and told me that he was a fan of Che. So we started talking about socialism and how social the people from Nepal are and the differences between Nepali and Western culture. He was very interested to know how the Western world works because next year he will start studying in London. His stories about Che and quotes of the movie 'Seven years in Tibet' kept me amused during the endless ride on the bus. Local transport can sometimes be rough but is the best way to learn about the people and culture and we all enjoyed it.

After 30 hours we finally arrived at Taplejung and we had a nice lunch. Here our guide decided we shold go the last bit to Deorali by jeep.

The jeep took us about 6 kilomiters from Taplejung, passing the airstrip from Suketar on the way. The jeep ride was as comfortable as always. The track was full of dry, hard mud so the jeep was shaking a lot. On some parts there was a lot of dust on the track so we had to close the window and it got pretty hot. But at least the view was really nice and a few times we could see the white peaks of the Kangchenjunga (8586m) and Jannu (7710m).
We finished our jeep ride in Deorali from where we could start the trek and walked up to Kesawa. It was a hot but great to walk through a green environment, we got some views and experienced some silence around us.
.............

Back from the Manaslu trek, in Pokara

08-11-2010
Back from the Manaslu trek, in Pokara

Yesterday the Manaslu trek was finished and we arrived in Boerboele. Today we went by jeep and mini bus to Pokhara.

 'One of the basic houses we visited during the trek'

The trek was magnificent, especially the part before we went over the "Larkya La pass" was a very pure part of Nepal. The valley where the Nepali people have a very basic life and in some occasions are very poor. High in the mountains the houses where not more then some walls from rocks and a wooden roof with some iron plates. In the lower valleys the people where in most occasions Hindu and beautiful and colorful dressed while high in the mountains Boudist people who came from the old Tibet, live poor and wear old, dirty closes.

The Manaslu area showed a diversity with old forests and barren maintain landscapes.

'High Himalayan mountain landscapes during the trek' On the climb up to Samdo I got sick, probably of some food or water. I was throwing up while walking above 3000 meter, felt awful but know I had to go on to Samdo where we had to do a rest day for acclimatizing. I managed but had to take some antibiotics to recover. I was lucky because I recovered quick and managed to do some side-trips to remote valleys on the border of the old Tibet. I met an Tibetan guy who brought a cripple yak back to Samdo. We had really nice conversations about the life up in the high Himalayan mountains and I was lucky he lived for 13 years in Kathmandu and spoke perfectly English. It was a great experience meeting the local pear everywhere. During the trek we where staying with local people and I sat by the fire while the dal bat dinner was prepared. Our from Asian Heritage told me about the Nepali culture and different religions in Nepal.

 'Indian jeep for the bumpy road'

We just arrived in Pokhara by jeep and have a view over the lake and the great Annapurna range.

 'Sunset on the lake at Pokhara'

Tomorrow we will have a rest day en Wednesday we will leave early to begin with the Annapurna sanctuary trek to the Annapurna base camp.

I made a lot of photos during the last two weeks and will go through them to sort them out. Usually I take a lot of double photos with different aperture of shutter-speed. Depending on the histogram I will delete photos that are bad exposed or with a composition I don't like. But fist relax, eat, drink a beer and, have a look at Pokhara.

 'The more quit center of Pokhara compared to the chaos of Kathmandu'

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Trip to Nepal planned!

01-04-2010
Trip to Nepal planned!
over, nepal, manasalu

Nepal, het land van het Himalaya gebergte, de inmense stad Kathmandu en de vele etnische groepen zoals de Newah of Newars, Bhote, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Thakali, Brahman. Op donderdag 21 oktober vliegen goede vriend Wilfried en ik via Zurich en Doha naar Kathmandu.

De reis Het volgende staat ongeveer op de planning;

Manasalu Trek This trek offers you a very unique opportunity to experience relatively "untouched" region of Nepal and provides spectacular beauty along the border of Nepal and China. Controlled trekking route, which allows organized trekking groups special permits to venture round its spectacular circuit opened for trekking only since 1991. Manaslu region located in west central Nepal is 336km. provides strong walkers the best that Nepal has to offer fantastic mountain scenery, spanning altitudes from 375m to 5300 m. a diverse range of ecosystems and ethnic cultures, and a trail that puts one physically closer to Tibet than any other trek in Nepal.Basic Information Accommodations- Camping Tented Ethnic People- Thakali/ Magar/ Gurung and Chhetri etc Geography - Mountains/Countryside/forests/villages and Glacier Highest Altitude- 5213 meter Level of Difficulty - Strenuous Maximum Climb - 1800 meter Maximum Descend - 1500 Religions - Hinduism and Buddhism Total of Days on Trek - 18 Days Transportation – private jeep Trek Distance - 185 km

Weather: There are two ideal "weather windows" for Nepal. From the latter half of March until the first part of May temperatures are relatively warm, 10 to 15 degrees warmer than in the fall. Mornings are bright and clear with the air slowly becoming hazier as the day progresses. The rhododendron forests in springtime are spectacular, with color displays that are "Himalayan" in beauty. June is warm, green and less crowded, but can also include rain showers, wet trail conditions and possible flight delays. The fallseason, the latter half of October to early December, is an ideal time for the best mountain views. Clear,crisp air greets the trekker each morning and evening. However, trekking to the high Camp region (at more than 17,000 feet) can include 0 degree temperatures at night and a 50% chance of some snow anytime above the 13,000 foot level. During the day, above 15,000 feet, do not anticipate temperatures above 35 degrees. Again, your body is taking in less than half its normal supply of oxygen, and 32 degrees will feel colder than we are accustomed to at home.