Saturday, May 29, 2010

Get Up and Get Moving

We had a big day planned! Tania, JR, TN, Belief, Atit and I were headed up to the highest hot springs in the world. We got up early, rolled our bags together and headed for Tatopani which means (hot water) in the Langtang district of Nepal. (Tato = hot, Pani = water.)

Remember me suffering down the side of the mountain? Well, I was surprisingly not nearly as crippled as I thought that I would be the next day. Clinging to Aama's walking stick. I slowly hiked back up to the road with Tania, TN, JR, Belief and Atit. The men carried my belongings. Along the way we saw several hairy little calling cards from the leopards. It was the furriest poop I've every seen.

This image is from later in the trip.

The hillside was bustling by the time we left. People were carrying heavy loads up and down the mountainside. I had promised one of my customers in the USA that I would take a picture of a mule train on this trip. The mule trains are highly decorated with bells and pompadors. I was surprised that I didn't see any in this area of Nepal. TN told me that no one in this area used mule trains because the mules took jobs from the local people who can make money portering loads on their heads.

Our driver was waiting for us with the land rover to take us north toward the Tibetan border. The road we traveled was under construction. We saw hundreds of people in small groups of 6 or 10 working on various parts of the construction. Some of the people were chipping and assembling rocks to be bailed and used for reinforcement at the side of the road. You can see a bit of the wire at the bottom of the image above. I didn't know until this trip that the chicken wire used to bail these rocks was hand woven. In a few places, I saw great "looms" made of pegs in the ground and enormous spools of wire. A man or maybe a couple of men would be wrapping the wire around the pegs to make a net. The net was then used to make a rectangular cage for rocks which could be used as building blocks to support the road.

Four the next four hours we rattled up the side of the mountain over the gravel and pot holes. Rarely did we achieve more than 15 miles per hour. Our spines were constantly pounded up and down and side to side. TN said, "It's like getting a massage."

My eyes were fixed on the goal for most of the ride.

In many places the road it was so narrow that we had to back up quite a distance to let another bus or truck pass. We would be perched so precariously at the side of the road waiting for the vehicle to pass that we would have suffered a serious fall had we chosen to open our car door. At times we could neither see around the bend nor over the rise, making the horn an essential part of our equipment.

Landslides were a real potential hazard. The section of road that I have photographed here is usually closed about 4 months in the summer every year. When the rains come, it washes the rocks and mud over the road and it takes people months to dig it back out again. Even with modern technology, it is hard to imagine how human beings might ever overcome erosion on this massive scale.

Yes, this is the road that we drove on.

Beautiful, Dramatic, Soaring, I need better words...

The Land rover rattled so much, I'm amazed that it didn't rattle apart. Most of my pictures were very fuzzy. I hope you will click on these so that you can really grasp the vastness of the scenery.

Happy holiday everyone!


  1. I did click on those photos. What an epic adventure you had Jennifer. Leopards and roads in the sky? No wonder you were at a loss for words (although i think you did great).
    I'm so enjoying these posts...

  2. Wow. Your journey simply gets more and more amazing. You should try selling articles to travel magazines about this trip. It would help with putting a book together later. Plus, you've got photos. Can't wait for the next installment!

  3. I often find I need more words. More words for lovely, that's for sure. Your pictures tell your story very well nevertheless. I did click and was inspired. Awesome scenery everywhere. I don't fancy that road though.
    Blessings, Star

  4. You comments are always generous. Thank you for cheering me on! My summer schedule is just outrageous this year, but I will try to keep up the pace, at least once a week.

    We are now on the 5th day of my two week buying trip with so much more to come.


  5. Thanks so much for taking some precious moments of your time to share another portion of your adventure. This land seems almost from another world, it is so different from my home. AWESOME is overused but I think applies here. It is impossible to imagine how many hours of human muscle it took to create and man maintain the landscape of terraces and roads. Thanks again.

  6. I found your blog by happy chance and am delighted at what I found here. I'll be back often. My husband and I will be visiting Nepal in late September.I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  7. fabulous photos from an incredible trip! so generous of you to share with all of us!!!