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The Long Road Up

October 1, 2011

Finally landed in Dolpo. Lower Dolpo is about what feels like 30 F cooler than Nepalgunj. I’m thankful to be out of that place.

Now comes the challenge of hard backpacking. I’m uneasy at first, legs a little shaky under my 25 kg pack until I get my gear settled right on my back about two rest breaks in. I’ve chosen to carry my own load instead of having my gear portered this time.

It is sunny out and I will burn if I don’t use some sunscreen. I’m trying trekking poles this time and they seem to help quite a bit with balance on the descents as well as inclines and seem to help take some stress off my knees.

We walk by fields of corn interspersed with cannabis that no one in our group seems to notice.

I have a ghorka knife with me this time for protection attached to my belt on my right hip. I carry it because the route to Dolpo can be dangerous as a westerner is a seemingly rich and easy target for a trailside robbery.

Lhakpa Dondrup Lama last year was carrying a traditional Tibetan style knife on the belt of his chuba on his way to Lake Phoksumdo to collect yarsa gumbu permits. On inspecting the knife I noticed it was as dull as a spoon. In response Lhakpa told me it doesn’t matter. When people see the knife in its scabbard, they don’t notice that it’s not sharp. Yet they will choose not to make trouble based on the presence of the weapon.

A tiger may be tame and kind but as he is still a tiger, no one provokes him as his teeth and claws are visible to all.

As we move on I think less and less about being uncomfortable with the weight and the heat of the day and fall into a rhythm.

I notice the sound of the water in the river that we will follow all the way to Tarap to my left and begin to feel the breeze wrap around and envelope me, taking my thoughts away with the wind.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Julie Scher Nebel permalink
    October 3, 2011 11:49 am

    Sending wishes for safe and easy passage on the way, Mark!

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