Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Friday, April 14, 2006

partial trek summary; personal impressions

beautiful and cold. rated "easy" by the trekking guides, but certainly challenging enough for me! I'm a little stiff in my muscles, but certainly capable of the effort required to cover the distance [about 100 kms over the 8 days]

I was tired and each day my knees increasingly uncomfortable -- one of the cook's assistants carried my backpack and walked beside me for the last two days -- I was a little embarrassed, but it made more sense than me being totally unable to walk and having to need even MORE help. Poles kept me much safer, since my upper body could help going uphill and if I was slipping they often stopped me from a full-on fall. [well, not always... I fell the first day to smush my thumb and bruise a hip -- my thumb was regularly soaked in salt water in the evenings, and to look at it now you wouldn't know it was hurt, although sometimes I forget to be kind to it! The hip didn't impact walking at all, although some nights when I would roll over in the sleeping bag it would wake me up]

on day 6 we got up at 2:30 am and walked in the dark up to a view point [where the picture was taken] -- it was so cold that the tube of my platypus drinking system froze... but stunning scenery and worth the effort and stress [walking in the dark is hard, even though we walked part of the journey the afternoon before so that we were a bit familiar]

I continue to love the mountains and although the Himalayas are different than mountain ranges I've visited before, they are equally nourishing to me... far more interesting to me than a city!

the hardest part for me was that I am too cold at night -- we talked about me buying an expedition-weight down sleeping bag and a down coat -- the "Ice Dragon" works very well for water resistance and cooler temps, but I need more than that...... it was surprising to me how warm I would get while we were walking -- but as soon as we stopped I needed some layers.

We returned to Darjeeling yesterday, to news that the British Embassy has issued a travel advisory for Nepal -- which we were scheduled to enter tomorrow. Because VentureCo is a British company, we will not be able to continue unless the advsory is lifted. We spent parts of the morning looking for what our alternatives are. Since it seems like a situation that could sort itself out in the next few days, we are talking about waiting in this area for a bit before deciding precisely what we will do.

None of our alternatives are all that cool, and several involve some brutal travel sections -- for example, several days by crowded local bus. We could take another trek, but many of them are not to a destination, so walking for the sake of the walk doesn't seem to appeal to everyone... and if we take another trek and then can enter Nepal, some of us want to do the non-trekking itenerary rather than the Everest Base Camp... since we want to ride elephants and search for rhinos and white-water raft...

all very complicated and stressful. one of the many days that I'm glad I am not Andy, our trip leader!

I have a cold -- decided to forgo the evening's activities and go to bed; tomorrow we will wander about Darjeeling with our trekking guide Veevik [sp?], whom I enjoy very much -- he is a genuinely happy human being, smiles from the heart.

today I bought elastic supports for my knees -- and when we trek again I will need to hire a porter to carry the heaviest items for me; I would take my water and clothes needed during the day.. I told Andy I was not willing to put him and the guides under the risk of having to transport me, so if a porter wasn't possible I would need to do something else... he agreed and was actually quite supportive when I was being a "slow walker" -- so much easier to carry on when someone is being kind [he commented that I wasn't complaining much -- I asked him what good it would do for me to complain? he smiled and said "not much, and it would turn me against you!"]