With no new snow in the mountains we headed out for a quick trip to Canyonlands earlier this week to enjoy the freakishly spring-like February weather. We spent a few days camping up on the Island in the Sky and doing hikes around there.
The shot above is a stitched long-exposure panorama of False Kiva, illuminated by a single headlamp placed in the kiva. This kiva is of unknown origin; it’s not clear whether it’s an authentic native site or of later construction.
Claudia and I are mountain lovers through and through; but after two treks in the Himalaya, the thought of relaxing on some Thai beaches sounded pretty appealing. With two travel weeks to spare in December, and just a 3-hour flight from Kathmandu, we quickly planned a getaway to Thailand!
Needless to say, once we were laying in the sand under the warm sun, we felt like that was a pretty damn good decision. We started in Railay and Ao Nang, near the city of Krabi; then worked our way south towards the Trang province, including stays on the islands of Ko Lanta, Ko Kradan, and Ko Muk.
In November after our 20-day trek in the Khumbu/Everest region, we headed to the town of Pokhara to embark on yet another trek in the Himalaya — this time a short but strenuous 7-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp, also referred to as the ABC Trek or Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. At 8091m / 26545 ft., Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. The trek to its south base camp ascends the long and jungly Modi Khola gorge, finally reaching a high basin ringed by soaring peaks including, of course, Annapurna itself.
In October and November of this last year, Claudia and I fulfilled lifelong dreams to trek in the mighty Himalaya of Nepal – the world’s biggest mountains. We spent 20 days trekking the so-called “Three Pass Trek” over three high passes and through the four major valleys of the Khumbu/Everest region. Of course everybody knows about Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, but often overlooked is the fact that Everest is just one of many other enormous, spectacular mountains in this range. It’s a dream destination for mountaineers and trekkers alike.
During our recent travels to Nepal, we spent some time in the capitol city of Kathmandu. Here are a few photos from this crazy and amazing city.
The most immediate observation any first-time visitor in Kathmandu notices is likely the chaotic traffic. With a complete absence of traffic lights or stop signs, cars and motorcycles and people jam the streets inches from each other in a harrowing flow of machinery. Car horns are used more frequently than blinkers. Though it seems like utter chaos at first, one soon detects a certain harmony and efficiency to the madness, like a river with thousands of chaotic particles flowing together seemingly without effort. In any case, it’s traffic on another level.
We originally planned to spend two whole months in Nepal doing two long back-to-back treks in the Himalaya. Good plan in theory. Well, after our first 20-day trek through the Everest region, despite how awesome it was we realized that doing another equally long trek was clearly not in the cards. That left us (after our shorter Annapurna trek) with roughly three weeks to spare, and we certainly weren’t going to spend three weeks dodging traffic in Kathmandu. Hmmm… what to do.
How about something completely different? After a day of googling and researching, we had our tickets to Thailand booked!
What a fantastic change of pace it’s been; and so surreal going from mountains and glaciers to beaches and warm waters. We spent a week in the Krabi area, famous for its unique limestone pinnacles towering over white sand beaches and jade bays. We’ve boated south now to the Trang region where the islands are surrounded by calm turquoise water. We have a few more days to melt in the heat here, then the Asian part of our trip is just about over and we head back to Germany to visit family and friends over the holidays.
Stay tuned for a big batch of tropical paradise photos coming in January.
After a grueling 36-hour series of flights, we have finally made it to the impressively chaotic city of Kathmandu, Nepal!
During our approach into Kathmandu we were treated with a fantastic view of Mt. Everest and the Himalaya range smothered in what looked like a fresh coating of snow. We soon discovered that it was fresh snow indeed — and lots of it. On Tuesday a cyclone from India hit the mountains and dumped several meters of snow. Tragically, at least 27 lives of trekkers and climbers were lost during the blizzard, mainly in the Annapurna area. [News story here].
This stunning and saddening news has us wondering about our upcoming trekking plans; we will speak with those in the know to see how all this snow will affect the possibilities. But I just wanted to let you all know that we are safe, and will play it safe while we are in the mountains. Our hearts go out to those who were lost in the mountains, and their friends and families.