Trekking the Himalayas, part 1

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November 11th 2008
Published: November 11th 2008
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We are back in civilization! It's hard to sum up the experience in words, but two hyphenated ones come to mind: life-changing and life-affirming.

We endured a week with no cars in sight, a tent for a home, and a bucket of water for a shower. But then again, 8 guys took very good care of us: our guide, Prithvi, who grew up in the region; a shepard and two assistants who led 6 donkeys carrying all our supplies; two cooks, who prepared hot breakfast and dinner each day, not to mention packed lunches and soup and other snacks; and for good measure, two other assistants to set up tents and bring us chai in the morning.

Our Czech friends were a great addition, always in good spirits. We couldn't have asked for better travel companions. Lucas kept Itay company as they documented the whole trip, while Mirka shared her expertise in botany. Did we mention they just started a year-long journey around the world? That's our kind of people.

The day before starting the hike, we stopped over in Haridwar, one of India's holiest hindu cities, primarily because of the Ganges river running through it. We hiked
Pit stop at DevprayagPit stop at DevprayagPit stop at Devprayag

Day 1 of the trek: plenty of scenery, if you can stomach looking out the window
to a temple high above the city, and after that took off for Rishikesh, another holy city with a decidedly more hippy vibe. Jaspreet's family recommended us to Paddy, who runs an outdoors adventure company there. He hosted us for dinner the night before our trip started.

On Day 1, we bumped along for 9 hours in a Jeep, through steep and often unpaved roads, until we reached the outpost city of Joshimath. It felt like the end of the world and we hadn't even started hiking.

Day 2 marked the start of our walk after taking the second highest cable car in the world to a height of 2,800 meters (9,000 feet). The landscaped turned from forest to clear meadow and we glimpsed the first of many Himalayan sightings.

On Day 3, Jaspreet's altitude sickness lingered, just in time for our passage through the highest point of the trek over the Kuari Pass, at 3,500 meters. Luckily, the storm clouds passed by without harm. On this day, we hiked almost completely above the tree line before descending to camp at a high altitude meadow.

Half the trip done, but plenty more to share. Stay
Prayers accepted Prayers accepted Prayers accepted

stop at ~3,500 meters to catch our breath and admire the panoramic view

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Prayer flowersPrayer flowers
Prayer flowers

Mansa Devi temple, Haridwar.
Achar standAchar stand
Achar stand

Pickled veggies, anyone?
Itay, Paddy and PrithviItay, Paddy and Prithvi
Itay, Paddy and Prithvi

Itay with the two brothers who treated us like royalty: Paddy the rafting guru and Pritvi the outdoorsman.
Traffic JamTraffic Jam
Traffic Jam

Day 1, on the road to Joshimath
Jaspreet the trooperJaspreet the trooper
Jaspreet the trooper

Day 2, morning in Joshimath. How will Jaspreet survive in a tent when she can barely take a guest house with no heat?
Cable car to AuliCable car to Auli
Cable car to Auli

below is the city of Joshimath
Out of the woodsOut of the woods
Out of the woods

First views of the Himalayas with the crew (plus a dutch couple on the left)
Cow remainsCow remains
Cow remains

We passed by plenty of these and shepard dwellings too. Cows, sheep, goats, donkeys all graze through the Kuari Pass.
Nap timeNap time
Nap time

A dily ritual after lunch.
Fighting the fatigueFighting the fatigue
Fighting the fatigue

Jogging to stay warm on a cloudy Day 3
Wild snacksWild snacks
Wild snacks

For once, something not prepared by our 2 expert chefs
Heavy loadHeavy load
Heavy load

Brian and Claire: your porters are hard at work.
The boysThe boys
The boys

Prithvi, Lucas and Itay

Our primary source of water for the week -- fresh spring water.

11th November 2008

Hey guys, Exhilerating pictures. Looks like a really marvelous trip that you're taking and makes me wanna visit India some time. Thanks for sharing your adventures.
11th November 2008

Looking forward...
Awesome! Loving every page of your travel diary. Can't wait to see you both and hear more tales in person.
11th November 2008

What up!!!
Sweet pics, great adventure! How about a Naan and some Delerium! take care and enjoy your Holiday
12th November 2008

WOW.. you guys must be having the time of your life!!! You look so happy and radiant... must be the love! :) Proud of the home state this month!
28th November 2008

the picture are really good.. i really enjoyed these pics.. good keep it up....

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