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Arrival at Syrabrubesi

April 26, 2020

Wednesday 26th

Looking south down the Main Street of Syrabrubesi

Grapes…green and purple. Apples. Bananas. Pomegranates. Strange – it’s a bit late for pomegranates I would have thought. All loaded onto bicycles and being sold on every corner. It’s a cool morning with a stiff breeze, and overcast. We leave Sacred Valley Home at 0810 in a Nissan Patrol driven by Rajan, who is proudly wearing his Man City jacket. Through Golkar. The road (F21 route) is clear now as we move through the fringes of the city, winding past marble resellers, plumbing suppliers, any number of food outlets, stone masons, timber yards and hardware stores and out into the fields. Kids in smart school uniforms flock to school. Terraced farming. Mustard in yellow flower. First blossoms hinting at pear and apple and plum. Broadbeans. Barley. Peas in flower. Potatoes sprouting through their mounds. Pink plum blossom. Lots of it. 

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Tamang Heritage Trail Diary – Kathmandu

April 18, 2020

Tuesday 25 February 2020

The refurbished Sacred Valley Home is comfortable and warm and we sleep like teenagers until the myriads (murders) of crows break through with their raucous calls as they hunt down breakfast. Then the builders start up and down the street with various tools and we are shaken loose from our room by 8am when we climb to the roof and have breakfast. The refurbished kitchen comes with a chap who knows how to use it and we enjoy bacon and eggs and very good (very, very good) Nepalese coffee. 

Our trek requires us to have a pass for the Lantang National Park because a very small part of it encroaches onto it. And if you are trekking in Nepal you need a trekking permit. The TIMS card. The Lantang Pass is gained at the office of Tourism and costs us NRP3000 each. It is a quick process. You hand over your passport and a clerk fills in a ‘cheque book’ of passes. No photo required. Its cheap at half the price but is especially of value given the fee primarily goes to support conservation efforts in the park. 

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Tamang Heritage Trail – Kochi to Kathmandu

April 11, 2020

Monday 24th February 2020.

Kochi dawn

Much to our surprise we push back at 0720 under a smokey orange disc turning shimmering silver over our wing. We are due out at 0730 and in this land that redefines procrastination the fact that Air India Flight 466 is ahead of time is worthy of note. We are on the keys at 0929. A train with 20 passenger cars hurtles past on the other side of the fence. The fellow passengers are silent, mostly asleep, including all the toddlers thankfully. Early to the airport (there is no traffic at 0300 thankfully) we were checked in and through to Kathmandu and off to security by 0420, a routine that was particularly thorough but reasonably good humoured. Rotate at 0734.

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Tamang Heritage Trail Diary – Via Kochi

April 6, 2020

Friday 21 February 2020

Kochi Harbour – Dawn

Getting launched this morning was a factor of lasts nights preparation which might sound like I am organised but that would be misleading to imply The previous evening had been complicated by the need to drop Mak at the vet, then shop for last minute kit – mainly hand sanitiser. The COVID19 story is starting to ramp. We have a couple of half used little bottles we regularly use but the coronavirus panic has resulted in a dearth of this stuff in our Chinese centric community.  But there is plenty in the Miranda pharmacies . We actually were resigned to buying sanitiser in bulk then loading up a couple of smaller dispensing containers purchased at Paddy Palin. The idea is that we have this stuff hanging from our packs rather than hidden inside. That might prompt our use of it. Home from shopping to an online exam followed by packing at 10pm. Fortunately most of my kit is ready to go and bags are reclosed shortly thereafter. A slow start this morning on a temperate, humid and overcast day. Our first Uber ride (ever) to the airport is painless and far cheaper than the usual cab connection. Price is never really the metric of concern in this city (within reason) but whether or not Sydney’s traffic will conspire against your travel plans. This morning everyone is on our side and we arrive with plenty of time to spare and with few fellow travellers. The airport is relatively empty and we are through the barriers and into our bacon and eggs before we know it. SQ232 is delayed, not helped by a very non Singapore airlines crush at the boarding gate but it’s not a full flight and this 380 had plenty of vacant seats. We lift over Botany Bay at Magicians time – which is of course Gandalf’s ‘ precisely when he means to’.

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Barrington Tops

March 2, 2019

Australia Day Weekend 2019

We clear town while the dawn sky is being scrubbed with a small dose of bleach, taking the colour out of the horizon leaving the white sky to hint at the hot day to come. The air is cool for the moment and we are deceived into thinking the humidity is low but in truth the lightest effort raises a sweat. It’s Saturday morning and we have a three hour run up to Barrington Tops followed by a 19km walk and we want to beat the traffic which will bottleneck Sydney over the next hour or two – by the time that happens we want to have packs strapped, boots on and metres behind us. 

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Sunday Sunday

January 19, 2019

Sunday 15thJuly 2018

We sleep in, after a fashion. 7am is a sleep-in around here. Despite best efforts we are awake relatively early and that is perhaps a factor of light. Most of the crew are asleep when we walk up to the local community church where our number of ten ‘blows them up” – to borrow local phrase (A bus load of 42 visitors just blew up town (McCarthy)).” We get to choose favourite hymns so we grab some we haven’t touched in a while. The pastor walks us through a very good lesson on prayer and at the end of the service we are invited to lunch. Actually we were invited even as we had barely sat down. How could we refuse?

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Snow at Bonanza

December 15, 2018

Saturday 14thJuly

The perpetual daylight keeps things well illuminated but not so much that we can’t sleep. We have been advised to bring those devices the airlines hand out to shade your eyes but I have not had to use them.  This morning it’s not the light that wakes me but the pitter patter of light rain. I listen to it at 5am and let it lull me back to sleep. I wake an hour later and lie there enjoying the warmth of the tent, even to the point of opening up the sleeping bag to cool off. Read more

Fire on the Mountain

November 1, 2018

Friday 13thJuly 2018

There is ‘fire on the mountain” this morning. Cloud shifts swiftly in long ribbon strips along the hills, white against the green, following the contours as it were, and a light rain intermittently scatters itself, sometimes so light the first awareness is the sound of the drops in the Alder, a fine pitter patter that barely registers on the ground, but after some time leaves you quite damp. We are up fairly early getting gear ready but despite even the best preparation and most comprehensive warning some are still not ready by 8.30 when everyone rushes out of the Lodge and charges up to the footbridge. We arrive there at 0836 just as Hollis arrives in his van, though we had booked him for 0900. Other trekkers or visitors (likely the latter) are waiting and expect to be given a lift but are to be disappointed when Hollis calls out “Are you the party of 19?” Read more

Fireweed Mountain

September 28, 2018

Thursday 12 July 2018

 

Around here the locals tell us they use the Fireweed flower as a weather barometer of sorts. The plant pushes up a single flower stalk which is preloaded with hot pink buds. These open from the bottom and over a period of time the initial blooms drop off and are replaced by new blooms opening further up the stem. So on and so on will the buds at the very top finally open. At that point, when the flowers have expired and the last ones transformed into ‘smoke’ filaments the first snow is due to arrive. There is no prospect of snow right now  since these flowers are only blooming halfway up the stem. However there is another metric at play. Fireweed Mountain, which looms high above us to the northwest of our lodgings and which forms the western buttress through which the Kennicott Glacier attempts to squeeze, is also a winter canary. Read more

Kennecott Mine

September 7, 2018

Wednesday 11 July 2018

 

Once again we set ourselves the target of departing by 0900 and leave at 0940. Today we have a deadline and in fact I had a deadline of 1000 so I’m happy that we are moving by 0940. However, more to the point I am really pleased with the way everyone had breakfast and broke camp. Putting up and taking down tents in the rain is an art form. Last night, with the last of the rain falling I was able to coach some on the drill of getting a tent up without getting into a totally wet home despite the downpour. There is nothing quite like getting out here and doing this sort of thing to learn the tricks. We start the day by getting our food and other scented stuff out of the bear food container then returning to the rock scree to set up breakfast. The weather is slightly overcast but up here I can see south to the Churgach Mountains which have broken cloud over them so I’m hopeful the day will clear up – given the weather moves up from the south. That proves to be the case and the cloud moves off surprisingly quickly. There is no rain to speak of, and no wind. Read more

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