Simikot: Day One (elevation 2910M / 9547FT)
July 4, 2010, 9:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Our first move toward the beginning of our trek started with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalganj, an incredibly hot and kind of terrible little town in the southwest corner of Nepal in which we stayed one night.  I don’t have any photos of this particular step, it wasn’t our favorite.  Just this shot of our Nepalganj-bound Buddha Air flight awaiting us on the KTM tarmac.  You have to appreciate the branding here:

Chloe and I did have a wonderful swim in our little hotel’s pool shortly after arrival that evening.  It felt great, although when we stopped moving we got the sensation that we were being bitten by the occasional teeny-tiny bug or a swimming pool’s equivalent of sea lice.  A pre-dinner swim made Nepalganj a bit more bearable nonetheless.   

We then woke before sunrise to catch our next plane ride to Simikot, the trek’s jumping off point.  I secretly dreaded this flight; something about an aging Nepali aircraft attempting to land on a stumpy airstrip carved into a steep mountainside made me feel doom a loomin’.  I had feared it for months.  Anyway, when we got to the airport they said our flight was delayed and possibly cancelled as stormy conditions were making it too dangerous to fly.  After hours of waiting and the passing of a huge rain and dust storm, the manager of our carrier told us that our pilot would not fly today as he deemed the conditions too risky.  That was that.  We were going to have to head back to our hotel for another 24 hours (or more) of Nepalganj heat and grime (and bites by Nepali sea lice) and try again tomorrow.  But then a rep from another airline came running over with the offer of flying immediately.  It seems that it was only our pilot that wasn’t willing to take the risk.  We didn’t know if our man had ulterior motives in not wanting to fly or if other carriers were just nuts in wanting to brave the weather.  So we had to make the judgement call and we took the flight!  As non-aviators, it was a horrible position to be put in. 

Here we are preparing for take off with two very cool, plain clothed Nepali guys in control of the cockpit.  I admit to having knuckles the color of snow until after touching down.  The actual landing on that tiny airstrip was a huge thrill though:

Our trekking crew set up our first night of camp on a terraced field above the airstrip.  We then went exploring the surrounding hillsides and met some of the beautiful local ladies of the Humla District of Nepal:

Okay, I’m going to pluck myself out of the hills of Humla for a little while and go play outside at sea level.  Time to explore Hong Kong… back soon for Day Two of the trek!

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow, take away the regional jewelry, and you could convince me these people lived in the Andes.

Comment by Joshua

Well hello there J-Dog. Yeah, that land bridge thing is for real!

Comment by wayuphigh

belated comment alert: the knitter in me is so jealous of all that fibery goodness!

Comment by Rose

Someone will be bringing you home your very own little lamby…

Comment by wayuphigh




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