21 to 24 October 2014

21 Oct. We’ve begun the return journey. Some of it on different trails, but for sections we retrace our steps. however going the opposite direction changes the view so none of it feels old. Now the Himalaya range to our south seems to grow taller and bigger as we descend towards it. There is still an abnormally low snow line for this time of year. I’m not going to give you a daily report of our southern bound trek. I think I’ve said as much as needs saying about what this incredibly harsh but beautiful part of the world is like.

23 Oct. Just yesterday Tendi received a call from Binod with news that my neighbours Barry and Diane called him wondering if I was OK. At the same time we discovered that the storm of 14 Oct resulted in a much greater loss of human life throughout the region than we’d been aware of. Barry and Diane thanks for taking the time to track me down and check on my well being – that means a great deal to me.

Sorry for any worries any of you may have had. Once blogs start coming from me again you will read of my wet experiences during that storm. We were close to the disaster zone but happily not caught up in the blizzards. Tendi is a wise mountain man – he’d not have had us out in that kind of weather. It started at night so unless people were camping, we are puzzled as to why so many were trying to cross any of those passes in blizzard conditions. We witnessed some of the body recovery the following day and the Nepali news had coverage but we thought it was a local tragedy and had no idea the thing involved so much of the Annapurna region would make international news. You probably know more about what happened than we do.

24 Oct. We are now back in Kagbeni. The Upper Mustang portion of this trek is over. It was a tough one for sure but I’m very glad to have gone there to see and experience the place. After washing my filthy laundry – while showering – I took Tendi and my new porter, Furi, for a Cappuccino. Furi liked it but Tendi was hilarious! To say he likes Cappuccinos as much as I like Sherpa Yak Butter tea would not be an understatement! However he drank it and I’ve thus been challenged to drink Sherpa tea with him in his village when Karin and I go there later this month. The reason I have a new porter is because Tsheri has returned to school in Kathmandu, the festival holiday season now being over.

Tomorrow I should have internet so hopefully I’ll be able to send you all news that I’m well, happy and enjoying myself!

14 thoughts on “21 to 24 October 2014

  1. WOW!!! Kim, you are amazing. I was with you in spirit every step of the way. I can so relate to your joy in having power and hot water. Also, knowing that you were in Marpha and not headed at all for the pass, I was very positive that you were okay when we heard that the storm, blizzards and avalanches centred in the Thorung La. I am having a birthday lunch with Karin and Brenda on Tuesday, Oct. 28 and we will vicariously share your amazing trek. I have used that word again but all of it is truly amazing!
    Hugs,
    Marianne

    • Hi Marianne, I sure hope that birthday lunch was delicious. I’ll confess to getting a bit tired of veggie noodle soup or momos. The soup when we’re on the trail becasue its quick and light, the momos when we’re in for the day. The next challenge is Annapurna Sacntuary but the weather has been precipitating a very heavily for the past two afternoons so it may not be possible. We’ll go as far as we can and see what the conditions are. I don’t want to get snowed in for the winter!!!

  2. Dear Kim,
    We’re now happily reading your stories after the relief of hearing all is well with you. Karin was good enough to reassure us a couple of days ago and now we’ve heard it firsthand. Your stories make for fascinating reading (and imaging) as we succumb to fall rains here. Nothing like the weather you’ve experienced though! Sounds like you’re in good hands with Tendi.
    Thanks for your vivid accounts which carry us along with you!
    Leslie and Bruce

    • Hi Leslie and Bruce, glad to know Karin kept you in the picture. This has been a tough trek but a good one. More challenges to come over the next few days as the weather is being very capricious. We may not be able to get to Annapurna Sanctuary because of exessive amounts of snow. We are continuing as far as possible and will make decisions based on trail conditions once we get to the snow line or the avalanche areas whichever come first. It’s all part of the great Himalayan adventure! While I write this, there are numerous other people in the dinning room, from Italy, Germany, Korea and I think Russia – everyone taking about the weather and how low the snow line is and how damn cold it is right here right now!!

  3. Like everyone else, I’m so relieved to hear you are ok and having an amazing time! We too were pouring over the map and pinpointing where you were and trying to tell ourselves all was well. We are heading out tomorrow for the drive to Arizona so news of your safety couldn’t have come at a better time. I can leave now with a much lighter heart and after the last few days here I’m definitely looking forward to the sun and warmth for a month. Keep the wonderful blogs coming!
    Anne

    • Well Anne for sure Arizona is warmer than here right now!!! Please let Fred know I’ve had the distinct experience of treading for several days in “poo-dust”. He talked about the Afganistan “poo-dust” and seriously, I think until one experiences the stuff, one can’t really appreciate its properties. The poo-dust of the Upper Mustang is a mix of the talcum powder fine dust, mixed with good quntities of mule, horse, goat and cow dung. I’m not sure if Fred’s dust didnt also include camel dung. Whatever – I’m glad to have left that aspect of the trek behind! Have fun in the sun. See you in December – we’ll have to blitz the Christmas decorating to get it all done!

  4. Great to hear from you again, Kim. some splendid writing which will really enhance the book. What adventures you’ve had! And how tough you have been through it all.
    We were all worried about you, not so much because of the avalanches, but because the news reports spoke of bitterly cold weather (so cold that some trekkers perished for that reason alone) in both the Annapurna and Mustang areas. The initial accounts were horrendous, and of course, the fact you were in “radio silence” didn’t help I doubt a map would have done either as Philip got down to a really small scale on the satellite map of the area but that didn’t relate where you were to the bad weather.
    Anyway, you have got through it all and come out smiling which is great. We look forward to further episodes.
    Judith and Philip

    • Good morning Judith and Philip – I am so sorry for all the worry caused. Next time I travel I will for sure carry a cell phone. One call would have been helpful. You are right about the cold though. It has been quite chilly. I’m really glad I have good equipment – down sleeping bag etc. I’ve used it all to keep warm! As hard as the trekking is sometimes, it is actually easier than sitting through the cold evenings! It’s all part of the adventure though. I really enjoy the challenges and the rewards are so much greater than the hardships it is all worthwhile!

  5. Greetings Kim! and as others have commented, relieved to know your whereabouts.
    Just finished reading and absorbing your blog. Great descriptions… chuckled at your morning ritual of getting yourself ready for the day as you emerge from bed.
    To get some visuals of the area I also checked out some you tube videos of other trekkers. As you described – wind, vastness, rocky, remote…
    Safe journey on the next leg of your adventure Kim
    hugs,
    K

  6. Oh Kim, I am thanking whomever is in charge of our destiny, that your little party is unharmed. We have all been concerned not knowing exactly where you were relative to the recent disaster and loss of life. You were closer than we thought.
    I think I must sacrifice a chicken and do a dance under a full moon in gratitude that you are all ok!
    As always your writing is superb…because you include the sights, sounds and smells of your experience we feel we are walking with you …we have a partial experience w/o all the the hard slogging! You are amazing dear friend!
    Keep’em coming..
    Brenda and Rick

  7. Oh Kim, you have no idea how many of our thoughts were going out to you during the time of the storm until we finally knew you were safe! I kept trying to tell myself that you were trekking happily in an area out of touch with the rest of the world and therefore had no idea why some of us were frantic with worry about your safety. News reports described some pretty horrendous conditions! There had been no warning of the impending storm, so many people were completely unprepared. We were trying to pinpoint where you were in terms of proximity to the worst area. With Erin’s computer we had you located between two bad situations…not too comforting, but better than the worst case scenario! What a relief to finally know you were safe!!!!! Be prepared for the biggest hug when I see you!
    Just got back from NL last night so have only skimmed your blogs….it sound as though you had a fantastic adventure. Wonderful!
    Hugs, Karin

    • Good morning Karin – you pin-pointed me pretty accurately. We were however at lower altitude so just had to contend with the worst rain storm I’ve ever encountered. That was sort of scary in itself. The conditions higher up – well the survivors can tell that tale. I met a couple of intrepid Scots – they said it was fairly aweful. They also reported people up there without necessary clothing. This may be the subject of my next crusade! Someway of getting people to carry coats, hats and gloves! Seriously! The loss of life is tragic. Going to high altitude in this area without proper outerwear is extraordinarily foolish.

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