We flew from Kathmandu to Pokhara on Buddha Air, a quick 1.5 hour flight. We were met at our hotel by our Nepalese guide, Santa (short for Shantaman Garung). He briefed us on the next day's events which would include a 7 km hike to an overnight visit to Sanctuary Lodge. He left us with two backpacks, and a duffle bag, and instructions on what to pack for the hike.
The hike was beautiful and slightly difficult. Santa was a great guide, and we also had an official Sherpa, Nuri, who carried our duffel bag and some other provisions. Santa quickly understood that I was interested in photo opportunities, so he pointed out many along the way. One of these proved so interesting that I lost track of my footing as I stepped back onto the trail from taking a shot that had been up a few steps into a farmyard. I missed the step down, and I took a bad spill, landing on my side with my hip and elbow taking the brunt. I was more worried about the camera, which made contact with the ground when I landed, but it turned out to be OK. It wasn't until a few hours later that I realized that I'd broken the big toe on my left foot, and sprained my right ankle.
We passed a pleasant evening at our lodge, and with the help of four Advil and two hiking poles, I was able to walk back out the trail the next morning, about three hours to the road to meet our vehicle.
These are just a few photos from the hike but I will be adding more to the flickr album shortly.
Girl we met along the trail:
Machhapuchhre, or "The Fishtail." Has never been climbed.
One of three suspension foot bridges I crossed. This was our guide Santa running back to help me after he dropped our supplies on the other side. Turns out I didn't need help. By the time I was 1/3 of the way across, I was walking comfortably on my own.
Woman doing laundry along the trail . . .
This was the first suspension bridge we crossed. A few years ago, something like this would have paralyzed me. Now? No problem. Every time I take on a challenge like this, I tell myself "It'll make a great obituary story if it doesn't work out."
We stopped by this school along the way. Danced the Hokey Pokey with the kids there and got to spend some time looking into their classrooms. Oh, and we made a donation for their supplies, of course.
Dawn view of The Fishtail from Sanctuary Lodge where we spent the night.
These pictures are out of order . . . this is sunset the night we arrived at the lodge, with a prayer flag on the right side.
Beautiful girl we met on the trail shortly after we started out. She explained that she didn't have time to talk - she was in a hurry to get to school on time.
The Fishtail through the telephoto.
Rest stop at a tea house on our hike to the Lodge. This was about half way there, after four hours of intense and hilly hiking. It was undoubtedly the best cup of tea and the best tasting orange I have ever had in my entire life.
The final footbridge.
A lot happened at this waterfall. This shirt is worn in support of Tracie Orsi, owner of Ragin' Cajun. Tracie is battling cancer right now, and Nepal is on her bucket list, so I had this picture taken to send her some encouragement. We also scattered some ashes from a wonderful young man here. Our guide helped by performing a touching Buddhist ceremony. Rest in Peace, CJ.