mate photos and tea gardens

??????????

pocket computer update

Been finding my way east through the himalya — carrying my bike a bit more than l would like.  There has been plenty of snow and tough trails, but no internet — so l’ve a backlog of tales to share. l’m down in the flat-land tea-estate region now, about a days ride from Darjeeling (India). Have found internet and plan to spend the day tomorrow blogging up a storm.  So stay tuned.

But in the mean time, Moy sent me photos from tso moriri, so revisit the tomando mate post if you like — its been updated.

walking with the giants

litup

There’s something about it. Mt Everest; that fascinates. Captures the imagination: The tallest mountain in the world… But so what? Why is it so compelling that, to date 250-some people have died trying to climb it, and over 40,000 people a year trek in the mountain’s shadow? What is it about “the tallest” that commands such interest? Not that I’m immune: after out abortive Annapurna circuit attempt, Matt and l agreed that there was but one thing to do with the rest of his time in Nepal.

So, head to Everest we did. Or at least the general vicinity. Thanks to our new friend Mads of Himalayan Trails, who has 15 years of exploratory mountain biking and adventure travel guiding experience, this time we were much better informed. We left most of our gear in Kathmandu (it turns out we should have left more — anything we left with our bikes while walking was thoroughly ransacked — fortunately nothing too irreplaceable or important was taken) as the solukumbu area is liberally populated with ‘tea houses. Combination lodge/restaurants which range from the decidedly rustic to 5 star. There is actually a 5 star hotel with a private airstrip and view of Everest, or so l’m told. After one last falafel we rode out of town. Strangely our trip toward the tallest mountain in the world started on smooth(ish) pavement which ran gently downhill! Along the Sunkoshi river.
Most of the roads on our route were under construction. Three or four different road projects, each with slightly different equipment and methodology. All engaged in transforming a muddy rutted jeep track into paved road. Mostly by hand — breaking rocks with sledge-hammers: turning boulders into gravel, and cobbles into building blocks for retaining walls; sweeping the road clear of pebbles with bundles of sticks; and boiling tar in 55-gallon drums over open fires. Forcing a single lane highway through improbably steep terrain. All this construction motivated at least in part, because this route is the supply-line to the everest region, and accordingly all the propane, keroscene, toilet paper beer and coffee, not to mention food, and building materials for lodges under construction pass this way. Continue reading…

hubris

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Tso Moriri to Spiti Valley via Parangla

It takes a special kind of stupidity to venture out by yourself into the wilds of the Himalaya without a map, headed for trails you’re not entirely sure exist, over a mountain pass you know nothing about, and dragging a bike to boot. Now mine is a special, and quite capable, steed, but horse trails are, well, for (and by) horses, and sometimes (in the Himalaya, often, it turns out) they do things l just can’t do on the bike –which means pushing and or carrying.   So l set out once again from Korzog fully aware that what l was attempting would be difficult, but without any real idea what l was getting myself into, and lulled perhaps into a false sense of security by the lovely and rideable circuit of Tso Moriri l had just completed. Continue reading…

¿¡ goat has a blog !?

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¿who would have thought?

 

People keep telling me l should write a book.  Which doesn’t seem too likely — at least at this juncture – but l’m good at being interviewed – so if anyone wants to write one…  Blogging is in many ways a poor simulacrum of book writing, but seems at least to require less effort/commitment (and people keep asking if l have one).

Building (beautiful) house type things has been occupying all my time lately so l haven’t felt like my doings were of much interest to the world at large.  But here l am in India doing things with my bike which perhaps have never been done before (generally for good reason), remembering the Riding The Spine mish, and how nice it was/is to have photos and stories collected about one’s travels.  Alas, Jacob isn’t here to do all that work for me, happily ensconced as he is in the world of light and motion, Sebastopol and Tahoe.  Soooo l’m going to give it a try. Taking pictures too! (a Yost family first)  To that end here l am in the tourist center of Pokhara, Nepal staring at a screen in the best internet cafe in town listening to some delightful doom metal (Bloody Panda) trying to take the proverbial ‘hardest first step’:  hope it’s worth it.