Monday, March 14, 2011

Nepal: The Himalayas-Lantang

Sunburnt Racoons, Mordor and Yaks:

 I spent most of my time in the mountains. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the lung-clogging cities. 

Lantang was gorgeous and is the primary location for spotting the Yeti, but I had no such luck. After reaching the highest village at 3800 meters, I took several days to explore the further reaches of the valley with my tent. Rivers, mountains and blue skies. 
On my way back to the village to restock my food supply, a heavy fog rolled in from below. I had to cross a wide plain covered in ice and thorny bushes, and I could barely see 10 feet in front of me. The fog was ice cold and soon my windbreaker was covered in a thin sheet of ice. The whole landscape looked like something from LOTR, when Frodo and Sam had to cross the Dead Marshes to get to Mordor. 

I probably saw more yaks than people. They are everywhere and often refuse to get out of the way on the path, so you either have to wait until they decided it’s not beneath them to let you pass, or you must find a way around. Yak milk is sweet and pale-pink in color. 

Monkeys hang around in troops in trees around the villages. The local children throw rocks at them, when they get too close to the vegtable gardens. 

I was stupid and didn’t wear sunscreen one of the days that I went out onto a glacier. By the time I got back to the tent I could feel the heat radiating from my forehead and nose. I woke up the next morning with agonizingly-painful and itchy blisters on my face. I was smart enough to wear sunglasses, so during the two weeks it took for my face to heal, I resembled a dirty, sunburnt racoon with white eyeliner. Never again will I forget to wear sunscreen.

Slowly turning into a baked racoon

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